A Bipartisan Process Would Let Senate Finalize China-Focused Legislation
‘Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Crapo of the Finance Committee have a bipartisan provision that’s ready to go. They’ve already done the hard work. They reached a solution. But thus far the Democratic Leader has refused to include it in his substitute and has not allowed the Senate to vote on it separately.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding China:
“Last week, the Senate took up sweeping legislation. It touches on big issues that span many committees—from economic policy to national security to scientific research and beyond.
“86 Senators voted to proceed to this debate. Me included.
“That wasn’t because the legislation was ready to go. It happened because there’s broad bipartisan agreement that America needs to upgrade our competitiveness with China. Broad agreement that this subject deserved a robust debate and amendment process.
“Since then, we’ve voted on some amendments. But as of this moment, the Senate’s bipartisan work is simply not finished.
“The Democratic Leader indicated that if Chairmen and Ranking Members worked together, if committees put their heads together, their work would get consideration here on the floor.
“Well, Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Crapo of the Finance Committee have a bipartisan provision that’s ready to go.
“They’ve already done the hard work. They reached a solution. But thus far the Democratic Leader has refused to include it in his substitute and has not allowed the Senate to vote on it separately.
“These are long-term issues we’re considering. We need to get this right. And during the time this legislation has been on the floor, we’ve had entire days come and go without any votes on the bill.
“In several instances, the Democratic Leader chose to pivot away from this legislation and devote floor time to nominations.
“So there’s no excuse for shutting off debate prematurely before the Senate’s been able to have its say.
“So we’ll have to see how today unfolds. What additional amendments the Democratic Leader lets the Senate consider. How open a process he permits.
“Republicans don’t want some big fight. We want an outcome. A bipartisan outcome. Even now, discussions are continuing behind the scenes.
“But the Democratic Leader should not try to force a cloture vote prematurely, to stifle the Senate before members are satisfied that our work is finished.
“There’s nothing unusual about a minority party denying cloture to secure more amendment votes.
“Six years ago, even after about two dozen amendment votes, Democrats blocked cloture on a Keystone pipeline bill until the Senate took a dozen more amendment votes on top of that.
“Just last year, even as the economy was tanking around us, the Democratic Leader blocked cloture multiple times on the CARES Act, emergency legislation, because he wanted more changes.
“But I hope it doesn’t come to that today. I hope the Democratic Leader lets the Senate be the Senate so we can finish this legislation.”
Related Issues: China