McConnell: We Should Pass the Fair and Clean CR
'We know it's important to help the victims of recent severe flooding. Democrats are now suggesting, however, that we not provide that relief unless they get an unrelated rider in this Clean CR/Zika package. Is their solution now to remove help for flood victims? If their solution is to remove help for flood victims, they should say so.'
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding completing work on Zika/veterans funding, continuing government operations:
"The 10-week Clean CR the Senate will vote on tomorrow is pretty simple.
"It keeps the government funded at the same agreed-upon, bipartisan spending levels as today.
"It contains zero controversial riders.
"It funds the fight against Zika.
"And it ensures that veterans and the victims of severe flooding and the heroin and prescription opioid crisis are not left behind.
"It’s clean. It’s fair. We should pass it.
"Now it’s true that some in Democratic leadership would like to turn this simple, 10-week funding bill into some unnecessary partisan food fight. They think it’s good election-year politics. But they’ve struggled to explain how they might even justify a vote against it.
"Can’t do it on spending levels — they agreed to those.
"Can’t do it on controversial riders — there are none.
"Can’t do it on Zika — we have a bipartisan compromise there.
"And both Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to help vets, flood victims, and those suffering from the heroin and prescription opioid crisis.
"So, if both parties support what’s actually in this Clean CR/Zika package, then just what in this bill are Democratic leaders opposed to?
"Turns out, they’re trying to take our country to the brink not based on something that’s in this bill, but something that isn’t — and it’s something the Senate already just addressed in the appropriate vehicle to do so.
"On September 15, the Senate voted to pass the Water Resources Development Act, which includes assistance for the families affected by lead poisoning in Flint. As Chairman Inhofe has pointed out, WRDA is not only the proper vehicle to address the situation facing Flint now, it’s also the proper vehicle to help prevent water infrastructure crises in the future. The House is now preparing this week to pass WRDA too — and Chairman Inhofe has pledged that he’ll continue to pursue resources for Flint once the bill goes to conference.
"We know it's important to help the victims of recent severe flooding.
"Democrats are now suggesting, however, that we not provide that relief unless they get an unrelated rider in this Clean CR/Zika package.
"Is their solution now to remove help for flood victims?
"If their solution is to remove help for flood victims, they should say so.
"So let’s be clear.
"It would be cruel for any Senator who just voted to help Flint to now turn around and filibuster help for the victims of floods, the heroin and prescription opioid crisis, and Zika as part of some partisan game.
"Senators in both parties know this.
"I know our Democratic friends understand this.
"Especially when you consider their calls to do more to address the heroin and prescription opioid crisis…
"Especially when you consider the letter they just wrote on Zika this month…
"Let me read you some of what they had to say:
"“Zika is now well established in the United States with cases of local transmission by mosquitoes being reported in multiple areas of Florida, as well as the U.S. territories,” Democratic senators wrote. It’s causing, quote, “babies [to] die, pregnant women and communities [to] suffer, [and] adults [to] worry about future long-term neurological risks from Zika…”
"These Senate Democrats called for immediate passage of a bipartisan Zika package because, quote, “[t]he longer we delay, the greater the…irreparable human harm from Zika.”
"“The time for partisan games is over,” they said.
"That’s a letter Senate Democrats wrote just this month.
"The bill before us contains a compromise Zika package that both parties support.
"Senator Nelson, a Democrat from Florida, understands the urgency of addressing Zika. That’s why he supports this bill, which as he noted represents a “…clean $1.1 billion to help stop the spread of Zika virus with no political riders.”
"Senator Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, has also voiced his support for the anti-Zika compromise in this bill. Just last week, he said it’s good for his state, and urged that we “move forward with providing the CDC with the resources it needs.”
"Senator Nelson and Senator Schatz are just two Democratic Senators out of nearly 30 who penned that letter earlier this month calling for quick congressional action on Zika.
"I ask all of them to join us in acting now.
"Just as we joined together to help Flint earlier this month in the appropriate vehicle, now it’s time for Democrats to join with Republicans to ensure veterans and those impacted by Zika, flooding, and the heroin and prescription opioid crisis do not fall victim to a partisan filibuster."
Related Issues: Veterans, America's Military, Appropriations, Zika Virus