McConnell on Important Legislative Priorities before the Senate
‘My Republican colleagues and I have stated over and over that we still want to pass more coronavirus relief for the American people… For nearly two years now, we’ve avoided the drama that had become a Washington routine and funded our government on a bipartisan basis… I hope we can replicate that successful pattern this year. Congress should also reach a bipartisan, bicameral compromise on the National Defense Authorization Act and pass a conference report before the end of the year.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding legislative business:
“There is significant outstanding business that Congress needs to complete before the end of the year.
“My Republican colleagues and I have stated over and over that we still want to pass more coronavirus relief for the American people. Senate Republicans have voted multiple times to send hundreds of billions of dollars for schools, small businesses, healthcare, and laid-off workers. If Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer had not made the calculation to block it, that money could have been out the door many weeks ago.
“Instead, our Democratic colleagues have spent months holding all of that urgent help hostage over unrelated left-wing wish-list items.
“Their so-called ‘HEROES’ proposal is so unrealistic and poorly-targeted that Speaker Pelosi’s own moderate Democrats ridiculed the bill the instant she put it out and said it would never become law.
“It includes things like a massive tax cut for wealthy people in blue states and huge sums of money for state and city governments with no linkage to demonstrated COVID needs.
“Some blue states including New York and California have actually seen higher state income tax revenues this autumn than they saw during the same months in 2019, in part because they are taxing a chunk out of vulnerable people’s unemployment benefits. They’re receiving more tax revenue now than they did in 2019!
“But Democrats still want coronavirus relief for the entire country held hostage over a massive slush fund for their own use.
“Well, even if our Democratic colleagues continue to block any bipartisan pandemic relief from becoming law, there are other responsibilities we still need to tackle together.
“The federal government is currently funded through December 11th. The next few days will tell us a lot about whether Congress can pull off the bipartisan, bicameral appropriations process that I believe both sides want to deliver.
“Last week our colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee released all 12 bills for fiscal year 2021. The bills would fully fund all kinds of crucial priorities — from securing our border, to caring for our veterans, to supporting public health at this critical time.
“What needs to happen now is simple:
“Our colleagues on the Committee and their counterparts in the House need to continue their bicameral discussions and settle on top-line dollar amounts for each bill.
“I hope they’ll be able to reach this broad agreement by the end of this week. That would keep us on course to deliver full-year funding legislation, which helps our Armed Forces and all federal agencies plan and get ahead of the curve, by the December deadline.
“For nearly two years now, we’ve avoided the drama that had become a Washington routine and funded our government on a bipartisan basis. Last August, we passed a two-year bipartisan funding agreement that let our committees do their work even amid divided government.
“When both sides have honored the agreement and kept bills clean of poison pills, Chairman Shelby has been able to deliver full-year bills without drama.
“I hope we can replicate that successful pattern this year.
“Congress should also reach a bipartisan, bicameral compromise on the National Defense Authorization Act and pass a conference report before the end of the year.
“Our men and women in uniform need every tool and resource to confront the great-power competitors, rogue states, and terrorists who wish us harm. Congress should be an asset to our own servicemembers, not a liability.
“This year would make the 60th consecutive year Congress will have passed an NDAA. This is no time to break that streak and leave our forces in the lurch. Let’s get this done and pass a conference report through both chambers this year.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, COVID-19, Health Care, NDAA, Small Business