Congress Needs to Keep the Government Running, Fund Children’s Health
‘Bipartisan negotiations over the DACA issue and other issues in immigration policy are important, and they are ongoing. Our responsibility is to continue those discussions - not to jeopardize them by ginning up a manufactured crisis over an artificial deadline. We have until March - at least - to complete our ongoing negotiations on immigration. We have until Friday to fund the government. I urge my Democratic friends to honor their stated commitments and join in a bipartisan effort to keep the
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need for a government funding agreement:
“As we all know, Congress has until Friday to reach an agreement that ensures continued funding for the federal government. By now, it is clear that we are not yet ready to move ahead with a major agreement on long-term funding for our armed forces, nor on immigration policy. Serious, bipartisan talks are underway on these issues and other key priorities. Compromise solutions are not out of reach. But for now, Congress needs to keep the government running.
“There is no cause whatsoever for manufacturing a crisis and holding up funding for the vital services of the federal government. What’s more, the near-term solution that Congress must pass this week will not only provide uninterrupted government funding. It will also contain a six-year reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“This is a federal program that covers nearly 9 million children in low-income families. It ensures that economic hardship will not stand between struggling American families and medical coverage for their children. S-CHIP enjoys widespread bipartisan support, with dedicated champions on both sides of the aisle.
“The funding bill that we will take up in the Senate will reauthorize the program for six years -- even longer than the bipartisan compromise that the Senate Finance Committee reached last year. Senators face a lot of hard decisions. This is not one of them. A bill that prevents a government shutdown and funds S-CHIP for six years should be a simple choice for every Senator in this chamber. Until recently, my Democratic colleagues agreed. ‘No-brainer’ was the exact phrase my colleague the senior Senator from California recently used on the Senate floor, when discussing S-CHIP renewal.
“The newest member of this body, the junior Senator from Alabama, campaigned on this very issue. As Senator-elect, he insisted that his future colleagues should, quote, ‘stop playing political football with the health care of our children.’ He called it, quote, ‘absolutely unacceptable for partisan fighting to delay renewing funding for CHIP.’
“I hope my friends the Democratic leaders are listening to their own members. Because recently, some have intimated that Democrats will filibuster any funding bill whatsoever over the issue of illegal immigration. I find it difficult to believe that my Democratic colleagues would want to shut down the government for American citizens and vote down a six-year reauthorization of health insurance for American children, all over illegal immigration.
“Bipartisan negotiations over the DACA issue and other issues in immigration policy are important, and they are ongoing. Our responsibility is to continue those discussions – not to jeopardize them by ginning up a manufactured crisis over an artificial deadline. We have until March – at least – to complete our ongoing negotiations on immigration. We have until Friday to fund the government. I urge my Democratic friends to honor their stated commitments and join in a bipartisan effort to keep the government funded and reauthorize S-CHIP for struggling families across America.”
Related Issues: Health Care, Immigration, Budget