McConnell: Shutdowns Have Consequences
‘So I want to assure the American people we will be right back at this tomorrow, and for as long as it takes. We will keep at this until Democrats end their extraordinary filibuster of government funding and children’s healthcare, and allow a bipartisan majority of Senators to reopen the federal government for all Americans and get Congress back on track.'
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Senate Democrats’ vote to shut down the government:
“The United States is one day into a government shutdown that Senate Democrats have forced upon our country. Let’s take a look at where we are. Last night, a bipartisan majority of Senators – Republicans and Democrats – voted to avoid this. A bipartisan majority voted to advance a noncontroversial bill that has already passed the House and which the president has already said he will sign. Of course, like any compromise, this funding bill cannot be all things to all people.
“But this bipartisan bill does what we need to do right now: it ends this pointless, irresponsible shutdown, funds the government for our troops, our veterans, and millions of vulnerable Americans, and extends health coverage for millions of children in low-income families.
“None of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can point to a single thing in it that they oppose. That is why a bipartisan majority voted for it last night. It would have passed smoothly and been sent on for the president’s signature. Except that the Democratic Leader took the extraordinary step of filibustering this bipartisan bill and initiating his very own government shutdown.
“Why? Because, he explains, the president would not give him everything he wants on the issue of illegal immigration in one afternoon in the Oval Office. That’s it? Leaders from both parties have spent months negotiating long-term fixes for immigration policy, government spending, and other important priorities. Senators on both sides want a bipartisan solution to DACA and other immigration issues. Senators on both sides want long-term funding for our troops. Bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on these matters have been underway for months.
“Here’s the difference between the Democratic Leader and the rest of us tonight: he wants to keep the government shut down for hundreds of millions of Americans until we finish negotiating on illegal immigration. We believe that we can continue these discussions – without shutting down funding for our veterans, military families, opioid centers or anyone else who relies on the federal government over the issue of illegal immigration.
“Well, the American people know what’s going on here. A survey this week shows that a majority of Americans say funding the government is more important than passing legislation on DACA – legislation, by the way, that does not exist and which the Democratic Leader cannot present to us. Fewer than half of Democrats say that dealing with DACA is more urgent than keeping the government open.
“And these numbers came in before Americans picked up their newspapers this morning. When they did, they read from the Associated Press exactly who is responsible for this chaos. From the AP, ‘Democrats blocked a four-week stopgap extension in a late-night vote, causing the fourth government shutdown in a quarter-century.’ You might say they pinned the tail on the donkey. The New York Times, not exactly a right-wing institution, likewise put the blame where it belongs. Quote, ‘Senate Democrats blocked passage of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open.’
“Senate Republicans remain ready and eager to end this manufactured crisis. This is not a crisis – it’s a manufactured crisis. We voted to avoid it entirely in our bipartisan vote last night. We are ready to vote again. All the country needs is for the Democratic Leader to withdraw his filibuster and let a bipartisan majority pass this bill and reopen the United States government.
“Earlier today, I asked for consent to move up a vote on this bipartisan solution and end this craziness today. The Democrats objected. That won’t work forever. If they continue to object, we cannot proceed to a cloture vote until 1:00am on Monday. But I assure you we will have the vote at 1:00am on Monday, unless there is a desire to have it sooner.
“In the meantime, shutdowns have consequences. The Democratic Leader may be playing for political points. But the rest of us understand that the readiness of our armed forces, health coverage for poor children, and survivor benefits for the families of fallen servicemembers are the farthest thing from a game. Playing with all of those lives over the issue of illegal immigration.
“Congress has a lot of work to do. We need to provide for our warfighters, secure the border, resolve the DACA issue, continue work on healthcare, and attend to many other key priorities. I want to move forward on all of these issues, and we can when the Democrat Leader’s filibuster comes to an end. Because these talks are only being delayed – not advanced, but delayed – by the Democrats’ filibuster and the Democratic shutdown it has created.
“So I want to assure the American people we will be right back at this tomorrow, and for as long as it takes. We will keep at this until Democrats end their extraordinary filibuster of government funding and children’s healthcare, and allow a bipartisan majority of Senators to reopen the federal government for all Americans and get Congress back on track. The Democratic Leader may put his personal political priorities ahead of everything else, no matter the cost. But Republicans stand with the American people.”
Related Issues: Senate Democrats, America's Military, Health Care, Immigration, Appropriations