McConnell: Funding Bill Would Fund Government and Protect Women’s Health

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government while protecting women’s health:

“It’s no surprise that members of the Senate have differences on issues. That’s normal. Healthy even.

“But even if our Democratic colleagues may not agree with us on every issue, let us agree that the scandal surrounding Planned Parenthood is deeply unsettling. Let us agree that it makes sense to at least place a scandal-plagued political organization on ‘leave without pay’ — and then use that money to fund women’s health care — as Congress investigates serious allegations. 

“Let us also agree that it’s time for Democratic colleagues to finally allow the Senate to fund the government, just as we’ve worked hard to do all year.

“Here’s the view the new Senate took from the beginning: The best way to fund the government is to pass a budget, and then fund it.  That may be a different approach from previous years, but it’s the approach we chose to pursue when we came to office.

“We didn’t think it was right that the Senate hadn’t passed a budget in six years — or that the Senate’s Appropriations Committee hadn’t passed the 12 bills necessary to fund the government in six years —so we changed that. 

“The appropriations process got off to a great start; there was often a spirit of bipartisanship in the Appropriations Committee. Consider that:

“Nearly all of the 12 funding bills passed with bipartisan support.

“More than half attracted the support of over 70% of Democrats.

“We saw our Democratic colleagues use phrases like ‘win-win-win’ or declare that appropriations legislation would ‘do right by’ their state as they issued press releases praising the bills.

“It was great to see all that bipartisan action. I was hopeful that our Democratic colleagues would join with us on the Senate floor to debate and pass the legislation they’d praised.

I regret that they chose a different path.

“I regret that Democratic leadership determined a crisis would be necessary to advance a policy aim of growing government, and that our colleagues decided accordingly to block every funding bill.

“I regret that we’ve been forced to pursue a CR as a result.

“It would be much better to simply finish the appropriations process we worked so hard to advance. But if our colleagues continue to block the Senate from doing so, the Senate is left with few options.

“It may be regrettable, but it’s the reality we now face.

“The bill before us would help get things back on track.

“It would ensure the government remains funded and open.

“It would adhere to the bipartisan spending level already agreed to by both parties.

“It would also allow our Democratic colleagues to join us in standing up for women’s health instead of a political organization mired in scandal. For one year, the legislation would redirect $235 million in Planned Parenthood funding to women’s health instead, strengthening health centers that provide critically needed community care.

“I wish our colleagues hadn’t pursued a strategy of blocking government funding. That strategy may have succeeded in bringing the country to this point, but there’s no reason to continue blocking every attempt to fund the government or to protect political allies mired in scandal.

“I’m calling on colleagues across the aisle to join us in standing against a shutdown instead. I’m calling on them to join us in standing up for women’s health instead.”

Related Issues: Restoring the Senate, Appropriations, Senate Democrats, Defending Life