McConnell: “Our Bosses Are The American People and They Are Counting on Us to Keep Serving”
‘The Senate is back in session because we have important work to do for the nation… Let’s work together, across the aisle, and get some more work done for the American people.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the week’s business and nominations:
“The Senate is back in session. In this unusual period for our nation, it has been more than five weeks since the full Senate last convened.
“Now, as I explained on March 25th, right before we passed the CARES Act 96 to nothing, the Senate has kept right on working this whole time.
“We’ve monitored the implementation of that bill — the largest rescue package in American history — and strengthened it where necessary.
“We passed further legislation to provide even more economic assistance, even more support for testing, and even more relief for hospitals and healthcare providers.
“This deadly coronavirus does not take days off and so the United States Senate has not either. For more than a month, we were among the many Americans who have found creative ways to telework and continue doing their jobs remotely.
“But now, the time has come for us to continue conducting our nation’s business in ways that are only possible with Senators here in the Capitol.
“And so, for this work period, the Senate will shift out of the ranks of those Americans who are working remotely... and into the ranks of the Americans working in essential sectors who are listening to expert guidance and modifying their routines, but ultimately continuing to man their posts to keep this country running.
“If it is essential that brave healthcare workers, grocery-store workers, truck drivers, and many other Americans continue to carefully show up for work, then it is essential that their U.S. Senators carefully show up ourselves and support them.
“I want to thank the dedicated men and women who have worked hard to develop solutions so the Senate can take these careful steps back towards in-person operations.
“Dr. Brian Monahan and the entire Office of the Attending Physician, well done. Everyone in the offices of the Architect of the Capitol, the Sergeant at Arms, and the Secretary of the Senate. And our colleagues on the Rules Committee and their staff.
“Of course, the teams that support our networks and telecommunications were working hard day and night during these weeks of remote work.
“Even more broadly, I want to recognize and thank all the essential Senate staff who are here with us in person today so the Senate can function.
“Whether they be staff members in our own member and committee offices. All the nonpartisan professionals who serve the institution itself. In particular, our facilities employees, custodians, food service staff, and of course the men and women of the Capitol Police.
“We are grateful for your service, and more importantly, your country is grateful for your service. You are literally helping our government function in the midst of a crisis.
“The Senate is back in session because we have important work to do for the nation.
“Critical posts throughout the federal government -- from public health to national security and beyond -- remain vacant.
“Qualified nominees who have been held up for too long already have become even more necessary in these uncertain times.
“On the floor and in committee, the Senate will be acting on key nominations that relate directly to the safety of the American people, oversight over our coronavirus legislation, and more.
“We need to continue to maintain and safeguard our domestic nuclear resources. That is our first nominee, Mr. Feitel.
“We need to keep protecting our nation against foreign intelligence services. That is another nominee we’ll be moving soon, Mr. Evanina.
“Those around the world who wish harm on Americans are not going to give us a free pass until this pandemic is over. So the Senate needs to overcome obstruction and continue to act.
“I don’t think anybody could seriously argue that filling critical national security posts is not essential Senate business. But to any of my colleagues who may wish that we did not have to devote floor time and roll call votes to these kinds of nominations, I would simply say: I agree with you!
“Unfortunately, for more than three years now, my colleagues in Democratic leadership have used across-the-board obstruction to force floor time and even cloture votes for the kinds of sub-cabinet-level nominations that used to travel easily by voice vote.
“So if any of my colleagues on the other side wish that we could recover the Senate’s tradition and spend less floor time on these sorts of confirmations, I would invite them to share that view with the distinguished Democratic leadership and invite them to change their tactics.
“But as long as floor time and roll call votes remain the only way for the Senate to fill important posts, that is what we will do. We cannot let nuclear watchdogs or counterintelligence leaders stay on the sidelines.
“So, the Senate is going to be as smart and safe as we possibly can, and we are going to show up for work like the essential workers that we are. Our bosses are the American people and they are counting on us to keep serving.
“It is good to see the chair, and all our colleagues, again. I am grateful that all 100 of us have come through the last several weeks safely and in good health. Now let’s work together, across the aisle, and get some more work done for the American people.”
Related Issues: Back to Work, COVID-19, Economy, Nominations, Health Care