McConnell Statement on House-Passed Government Funding, S-Chip Bill
The House has sent us a bill that should be an easy ‘yes’ vote for every Senator in this chamber - an easy ‘yes’ vote This bill continues government funding, prevents a needless shutdown, and extends a key health insurance program for vulnerable children for six years. Its content is bipartisan. There are no provisions that any of my Democratic friends oppose. It is a simple step that will let us continue bipartisan talks without throwing the government into disarray for no reason. Americans are
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the need to prevent a government shutdown:
“The House has sent us a bill that should be an easy ‘yes’ vote for every Senator in this chamber – an easy ‘yes’ vote. This bill continues government funding, prevents a needless shutdown, and extends a key health insurance program for vulnerable children for six years. Its content is bipartisan. There are no provisions that any of my Democratic friends oppose. It is a simple step that will let us continue bipartisan talks without throwing the government into disarray for no reason. Americans are surprised this is even a debate. I don’t blame them.
“I share their surprise that some Democratic Senators see the prospect of a government shutdown for more than 300 million Americans. See a possible lapse in health coverage for 9 million vulnerable American kids. And are tempted to hold all that hostage until we resolve a non-imminent problem related to illegal immigration.
“The surprise is compounded for anyone who listens to the public statements of my Democratic colleagues and takes them at their word.
“Less than a week ago, the senior Senator from Colorado was asked whether it was prudent to shut the government down over the issue of illegal immigration. He insisted it was not.
“Last month, my friend the senior Senator from West Virginia said, quote, ‘I’m not going to make 300 million people suffer because I can’t get the process working the way it should.’
“The junior Senator from Virginia put it even more clearly: ‘I will exercise every bit of leverage I can…but if there is a vote that would lead to a shutdown, that is where I draw the line.’
“And not more than two days ago, the senior Senator from Missouri said she wasn’t ‘interested in drawing a line in the sand’ – because, quote, ‘that’s how negotiations get blown up.’
“I hope their votes this evening reflect those statements.
“Some of my colleagues say they are reluctant to support this measure not because of illegal immigration, but simply because they are tired of continuing resolutions. They point out that this is a suboptimal way to fund our government, especially our warfighters. That is precisely why Republicans worked hard all last month, and all this month, to try and negotiate a long-term spending caps agreement that would bring stability back to government funding.
“But the Democratic leadership made it clear that they would not be serious about these spending talks until this unrelated immigration issue was solved. So now, unfortunately, a continuing resolution is the only option our armed forces have this evening. Let’s not pretend for a moment that our men and women in uniform – and their families – benefit from a government shutdown.
“This is how we got here. My Democratic colleagues’ demands on illegal immigration, at the behest of their far-left base, have crowded out all other important business. Crowded it all out over the issue of illegal immigration. And now they are threatening to crowd out the needs of veterans, military families, opioid treatment centers, and every other American who relies on the federal government. All over illegal immigration.
“There is no imminent deadline facing the DACA program. Congress has at least until March to arrive at a bipartisan solution that is acceptable to Republicans, Democrats, and – the person who needs to sign the bill – the President of the United States. Do veterans, opioid treatment centers, and the families of fallen soldiers need to suffer until a compromise is reached? Democratic Senators’ fixation on illegal immigration has already blocked us from making progress on long-term spending talks. Now, that same fixation has them threatening to filibuster funding for the whole government. Over illegal immigration.
“Years ago, my friend the Democratic leader described how irresponsible it would be to shut down the government over the issue of immigration. He said it would result in ‘governmental chaos.’ That was my friend the Democratic leader a while back. But earlier today, on the floor, he insisted that we put every other American priority on hold until we resolve immigration. Only then, he said, can we work on defense spending, or domestic spending, or CHIP, or disaster relief. All of that on hold over the issue of illegal immigration with no imminent deadline. Only needs to be addressed by March.
“Well that’s apparently how our Democratic colleagues rank their priorities. It is not how I rank mine. I don’t think it is how many of our colleagues – on either side – would rank theirs either. We’ll have the chance to find out in the coming days. It is certainly not how the American people expect us to act. The bill before us is an opportunity to correct course. It is a chance for my colleagues to remember that we represent millions and millions of American citizens.
“The American people want the federal government open for veterans, military families, and the vulnerable. They want food and drug inspections to continue without interruption. They want death benefits to continue to go out to the families of servicemembers killed in action. They want children in low-income families to continue receiving health coverage through S-CHIP. They want a sensible compromise on immigration – but they cannot, for the life of them, understand why some Senators would hold the entire country hostage until we arrive at a solution to a problem that doesn’t fully materialize until March.
“Military families, veterans, and children benefiting from the S-CHIP program don’t need to be shoved aside while we continue good faith negotiations. We ought to pass this resolution and we ought to get back to work.”
Related Issues: Appropriations, Immigration, Health Care, America's Military