Passage of Education Reform Another Example of Congress Back to Work Under Republican Leadership
‘The new Senate has seen real progress made for our country, often on a bipartisan basis. And we’re proud of that.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding bipartisan accomplishments in the 114th Congress:
“What a difference a new Senate can make.
“Some may have thought Washington would never agree on a replacement for No Child Left Behind. Years of inaction on the Senate floor gave ample cause for doubt. Some may have been skeptical when a new Senate with a new approach resolved to finally solve the problem too.
“But no longer.
“Yesterday, the new Senate voted overwhelmingly to deliver the most significant K-12 education reform in well over a decade. The President will sign the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act later this morning.
“Here’s what this bipartisan law will do: Replace a broken law with conservative reform that will help students succeed instead of helping Washington grow.
“That means swapping one-size-fits-all federal mandates for greater state and local flexibility.
“That means bringing an end to the ability of faraway bureaucrats to impose Common Core.
“That means strengthening charter schools.
“That means putting education back in the hands of those who know students’ needs best: parents, teachers, states, and school boards.
“The Every Student Succeeds Act is conservative reform passed on a bipartisan basis. The Wall Street Journal calls it ‘the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.’ And it’s an important achievement for our kids and for our country.
“Let me again thank the Senators who worked together to make this possible.
“Senator Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee.
“Senator Murray, a Democrat from Washington.
“They took advantage of the opportunities a new and more open Senate provided. They put good legislation together and then placed personal stakes in its success. They worked hard. They labored over many months. And they didn’t lose sight of what a legislative exercise like this one should really be about.
“Good policy. Better outcomes for our country. And with the bill we passed yesterday — the bill the President will sign today — greater opportunities for every student to succeed.
“Senator Alexander was right when he said ‘this bill is just one more example that Congress is back to work.’ It’s worth noting a point he made the other day too.
“‘This has been one of the most productive Senate years in a long time,’ he said. ‘The Republican Senate majority is making a real difference, particularly [for] 100,000 public schools, [for] 3 ½ million teachers, and [for] 50 million children.’
“But perhaps the American people are wondering why.
“Perhaps they’re wondering why the Senate is suddenly back to work this year.
“Perhaps they’re wondering why some issues are suddenly passing now when they weren’t passing previously.
“Let me turn back to the rest of what Senator Alexander said, because I think the answer for a bill like ESSA is actually quite simple.
“‘We're doing it,’ he said, ‘by working in a bipartisan way with our colleagues which is, I think, the way the American people want us to govern.’
“Here’s the idea.
“Give Senators of both parties more of a say in the process, and Senators of both parties are likely to take more of a stake in the outcome.
“That’s why on this bill you saw a more open process that started way back in the committee stage.
“Senators Alexander and Murray, the top Republican and top Democrat on the education committee, understood that No Child Left Behind had to be fixed after years of inaction. So they worked together on a bipartisan basis — and the Senate passed the most significant K-12 education reform in years.
“Take another example.
“Senators Inhofe and Boxer, the top Republican and top Democrat on the public works committee, understood that crumbling roads and bridges had to be fixed after years of inaction. So they worked together on a bipartisan basis — and the Senate passed the first long-term transportation bill in a decade.
“Or how about this one.
“Senators Burr and Feinstein, the top Republican and top Democrat on the intelligence committee, understood that Americans’ online privacy and financial transactions deserved some protection after years of inaction. So they worked together on a bipartisan basis — and the Senate passed an important cybersecurity bill.
“Across the new Congress, you saw several other ‘stuck’ issues come unstuck too.
“A decisive end to Washington’s annual ‘Doc Fix’ drama.
“Action to help knock down foreign trade barriers.
“Extending a hand of compassion to victims of modern slavery.
“All of it passed in the new Congress, and all of it passed on a bipartisan basis.
“Now let me be clear.
“No one is saying that all of the Senate’s challenges have been ironed out. Of course we know that our work is ongoing. Of course we know that there will always be bumps along the way.
“But here’s what we can say for sure.
“The new Senate has taken serious steps to foster a more open atmosphere on many issues.
“The new Senate has seen real progress made for our country, often on a bipartisan basis.
“And we’re proud of that.
“Whether we’re Republicans or Democrats, I think that’s something we can all take pride in as Americans.”
Related Issues: Back to Work, Education, Cybersecurity, Infrastructure, Combating Sex Trafficking, Highway Bill, Restoring the Senate, Health Care, Free Trade