McConnell: The State of Our Union is Strong and Growing Stronger
‘I'm delighted to have one of those local champions as my guest for tonight. Lisa Minton is leading on the front lines of Kentucky’s battle against opioid abuse. She runs the Chrysalis House, a treatment facility for pregnant and new mothers fighting addiction in Lexington. In 2017, I worked with Lisa to secure a $2.6 million grant to expand their services for low-income women and their children. I’m glad she will be in the House chamber this evening and I’m proud to highlight her amazing work.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding this week’s legislative agenda and President Trump’s State of the Union address tonight:
“Yesterday the Senate took another step toward delivering an important package of legislation. We passed my amendment to the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act and voted to advance the bill, both by wide bipartisan margins. S.1 represents the broad consensus of this body about our nation’s responsibilities as an ally and partner. It reaffirms our promise to uphold Israel’s security, to help Jordan face complex security challenges, and to hold Bashar Assad’s murderous henchmen accountable.
“I look forward to the Senate voting on final passage soon and sending this bipartisan legislation on to consideration in the House. After we complete that work, the Senate will turn to the Natural Resources Management Act, a high-priority bill containing more than 100 proposals concerning economic development, public lands, water resources, and conservation.
“Now, on another matter, tonight, the Congress will host President Trump for his second State of the Union address. I’m looking forward to attending and hearing the president reflect on the great strides our nation has made over the past two years and his vision for the challenges still before us. From historic tax reform and regulatory reform, to huge progress in the fight against ISIS, to landmark progress in the nationwide fight against opioid addiction, the story of the last two years has been one of immense policy progress for our nation.
“The American people are less interested in Beltway melodrama and more interested in that classic question -- Am I better off than I was two years ago? And on this front -- thanks to a few key Republican victories and a number of major bipartisan accomplishments -- the State of our Union is strong and growing stronger. It’s now been more than two years, since the American people hired President Trump and a Republican Congress to get Washington’s foot off the brake of our economy. Since we got to work rebuilding the middle-class prosperity that had hollowed out in communities across America under the Obama economy.
“After eight years watching left-wing policies disproportionately benefit coastal cities and our nation’s largest metro areas while mostly leaving small cities, small towns, suburbs, and rural America behind, the American people wanted a change. And that’s exactly what the last two years’ policies have delivered. Historic tax reform delivered higher take-home pay and helped breathe new life into the engine of American job creation and innovation. Landmark regulatory reform cut burdensome compliance costs for small businesses, reigned in federal overreach on education policy, and defended Americans’ rights of conscience.
“So what are these policies doing for the American people? The answer is clear. All those Americans who’d been struggling to find work? Well, today, a higher percentage of Americans are working than were ever working at any point under President Obama. For the first time in our modern recorded history, we have reached and stayed at a level where there are more job openings nationwide than Americans looking for jobs. Listen to these headlines. ‘Employers’ Hiring Push Brings Workers Off the Bench.’ ‘Disability Applications Plunge as the Economy Strengthens.’
“Listen to this, from one news article: ‘The tighter labor market is delivering opportunities to a broad swath of workers who were disproportionately affected by the last recession. Unemployment has fallen sharply for blacks, Latinos, younger workers and those without a college education… [and] the deeper jobs pool has been particularly crucial for improving the economic outlook [of] disabled Americans.’ These and many more Americans have finally been able to find work. But what about the Americans who already had jobs, but felt like their families were treading water and needed to get ahead?
“Last year, the amount of money employers spent compensating American workers grew at is fastest pace in more than 10 years. And thanks to tax reform, when many working families and small businesses file under the new tax code, they’ll see less of their money has been sent off to the IRS. So there are more jobs to choose from; more wage growth; and higher take-home pay following tax cuts. But it’s also worth looking at where this new prosperity is going. The last administration’s left-wing policies disproportionately benefited the nation’s largest metro areas. It turns out that policies dreamt up in places like New York and San Francisco work pretty well in places like New York and San Francisco. But the rest of the country decided we could do better.
“Today, businesses on Main Street and family farms are dusting off their ‘Help Wanted’ signs. Smaller cities in states like Indiana, Nebraska, and Ohio have so many job openings that some of these local communities are offering sizeable cash bonuses just for moving there. Smaller communities and rural America recently outpaced the rest of the country in relative job creation. So it’s an all-American comeback. And the kinds of places liberal policies left behind are now at the front of the pack.
“I’ve focused this morning on our robust economy. It’s helping American families lift themselves higher. But it’s just one part of the success story the president will be able to tell this evening. The last two years have seen the White House and the Congress work together to identify pressing national challenges and develop big, bipartisan, compromise solutions to attack them head-on.
“Working together, both parties collaborated on more than a dozen targeted measures to improve access to quality care for our nation’s veterans, and passed landmark legislation to help local communities heal the wounds created by opioid addiction. I am delighted to have one of those local champions as my guest for tonight. Lisa Minton is leading on the front lines of Kentucky’s battle against opioid abuse. She runs the Chrysalis House, a treatment facility for pregnant and new mothers fighting addiction in Lexington. In 2017, I worked with Lisa to secure a $2.6 million grant to expand their services for low-income women and their children. I’m glad she will be in the House chamber this evening and I’m proud to highlight her amazing work.
“Working together, a bipartisan majority ended the harmful spending caps that hampered military readiness and made major progress restoring regular-order appropriations on behalf of the American taxpayer. A bipartisan majority delivered commonsense relief for local lenders on Main Street from the burden of regulations designed for Wall Street.
“These are just a few examples. And it’s a good thing we know we can tap into that bipartisan spirit, because the American people did not hire us to spend the next two years in total gridlock. That’s not what they did. When American people elect a divided government, they’re saying we know you disagree on a lot of things, but look for the things you agree on and do those. If the past weeks have shown anything, it’s that we will need to work together across the aisle in order to do our work. And make no mistake -- there are significant challenges ahead.
“Like addressing the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border, lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and taking further steps to rebuild American infrastructure. Tonight, I expect that the president will offer a serious vision to deal with challenges like these. I look forward to hearing from him. And then, throughout the coming year, I look forward to the Senate working closely with him -- and working closely with each other, across the aisle -- to do just that.”
Related Issues: Tax Reform, National Security, Economy, Syria, War on Terror