Bipartisan Accomplishments Continue in Senate

‘Yesterday, the Senate passed broad, bipartisan legislation to maintain our nation’s waterways and drinking water systems. Now, we’re turning back to the personnel business and confirming more of the president’s qualified nominees to important executive branch positions.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding bipartisan passage of America’s Water Infrastructure Act and the Senate’s continued work on the confirmation of nominees:

“Yesterday, the Senate passed broad, bipartisan legislation to maintain our nation’s waterways and drinking water systems. Now, we’re turning back to the personnel business and confirming more of the president’s qualified nominees to important executive branch positions. We voted yesterday to advance the nomination of Jeffrey Clark to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. Mr. Clark’s qualifications include several years of prior service as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the same division. He’s also built a strong reputation in the private sector as a leading litigator with subject-matter expertise in administrative law.

“Mr. Clark’s legal colleagues describe him as ‘one of the most capable lawyers with whom [they] have ever worked.’ And no fewer than seven former Assistant Attorneys General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division tell the Senate that his ‘well-rounded background and prior experience in the Division’ make him an excellent choice for this position. After we confirm Mr. Clark, we’ll consider another Assistant Attorney General nominee -- Mr. Eric Dreiband, for the Civil Rights Division.

“Mr. Dreiband is also well prepared to serve. His resume includes several stints of public service, including as general counsel of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in addition to private-sector experience. Others have praised his service at the EEOC as -- quote -- ‘widely respected,’ ‘in the highest rung of the Agency’s general counsels,’ and a ‘record of superlative performance.’ Those who have worked with Mr. Dreiband emphasize his strong commitment to protecting all Americans’ civil rights. In the words of one leader who has known and worked with the nominee for 15 years, quote,his ‘commitment to fairly enforcing the law is without question.’

“After Mr. Dreiband will come James Stewart, the president’s choice to serve as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Mr. Stewart’s experience managing military manpower runs deep through a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, from which he retired as a Major General. He has most recently served on the North Carolina Military Affairs Commission and on the Secretary of Defense’s Reserve Forces Policy Board. Each of these nominees deserves confirmation. I urge all my colleagues to vote to approve them.

“Now on one final matter, it’s been more than nine months since Republicans passed the most sweeping tax reform in a generation. Here are just a few of the economic headlines we’ve seen since it took effect: Consumer confidence at an 18-year high. Faster year-on-year wage growth than at any point since 2009. The lowest national unemployment since 1969. Behind all these numbers are middle-class families whose lives are changing for the better. And the effects are reaching all kinds of communities -- even the places most neglected for nearly a decade by the Obama administration’s so-called ‘recovery.’

“After years of investment and job creation being disproportionately concentrated in the biggest metropolitan areas, 2018 has been a different story. So far this year, it’s been smaller and rural communities that have led the nation in relative job growth. Across the heartland, empty storefronts and stagnant local economies are giving way to vibrant transformation and new opportunities.

“So when we hear that states like Missouri are thriving again on the watch of Republicans’ pro-growth, pro-opportunity agenda, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. It shouldn’t surprise us that Missouri’s statewide unemployment rate has reached its lowest level since the year 2000. The lowest unemployment in 18 years. And news like this won’t surprise anyone who’s been listening to the accounts of Missourians. Like Mary Beth Hartman, who runs a small construction company in Springfield. She says the new tax law has given her the flexibility to expand vacations and bonuses for her employees and invest half a million dollars in new equipment. Or Brandon Pister. He used his tax reform bonus to help his family cover medical expenses and put money into savings.

“The junior senator from Missouri can be proud that he voted for the historic policies that helped unleash all this good news. It’s a shame that his colleague, the senior senator from Missouri, chose to vote in lock-step with Senate Democrats and tried to block tax reform from taking effect. Republicans will keep sharing success stories like these from Missouri, and keep helping the American people write more.”

Related Issues: Economy, Jobs, Nominations, Small Business, Taxes