Senate Democrats Filibuster Bipartisan Coast Guard Bill
‘Today, Senate Democrats have filibustered legislation to reauthorize funding for our Coast Guard. In a dangerous world, the brave men and women of the Coast Guard are ‘always ready’ for the call -- whether it be to interdict drugs, secure our ports, or conduct daring maritime rescues. They deserve our support. They don’t deserve a filibuster for the sake of political posturing.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Coast Guard Authorization Act and obstruction from Senate Democrats:
“Today, Senate Democrats have filibustered legislation to reauthorize funding for our Coast Guard. In a dangerous world, the brave men and women of the Coast Guard are ‘always ready’ for the call -- whether it be to interdict drugs, secure our ports, or conduct daring maritime rescues. They deserve our support. They don’t deserve a filibuster for the sake of political posturing. So let’s talk about why this bill failed.
“Democrats filibustered this legislation because it contains an eminently sensible, bipartisan provision to streamline regulations for the mariners and vessel operators who drive America’s maritime economy. It would cut back on duplicative rules and overlapping enforcement, and provide a uniform standard that protects the environment and commerce alike. Now, if this sounds like a commonsense, bipartisan measure, that’s because it is.
“This legislation has been favorably reported by the Commerce Committee six times during the last three Congresses. Six times. Including when Democrats controlled it. You might think that’d be enough to get a bill passed. But earlier today, a number of the very same Democrats who co-sponsored this very legislation, in this very Congress, flip-flopped under partisan pressure and voted against it.
“In fact, if all of the Senate Democrats who are currently co-sponsors of this provision had voted for the bill, the cloture motion would have passed. Let me repeat that. If only those Senate Democrats who have put their name on this provision would have actually followed through and voted for it, this filibuster would be over.
“Look -- our constituents send us here to stand up for their interests. In land-locked states like Kentucky and Missouri, thousands and thousands of jobs depend on our inland waterways. In coastal states like Delaware, Washington, and Florida, major ports enable hundreds of billions of dollars of U.S. commerce. And of course, the people of Hawaii rely on shipping for everything from groceries to gasoline.
“In all these states, and elsewhere, I know workers and job creators were excited about the prospect of reform in this area. How do I know that? Because, in several cases, they successfully persuaded their own Democratic Senators to support it. Or so it had seemed. You know, Americans might be forgiven for thinking that persuading their Senator to go out of their way and co-sponsor a bill would be the same thing as persuading them to actually vote for it.
“Apparently, where several of my Democratic colleagues are concerned, that is simply not the case. Because when party leaders came calling, and asked my colleagues to put party-line obstruction politics ahead of their constituents’ best interests -- they folded.
“This is what people don’t like about this town. Well, my Democratic friends’ political priorities may have shifted -- away from the people they’re elected to fight for, and toward left-wing pressure groups. But the merits of this issue have not. So the Senate will consider this issue further, and will vote on this legislation again.”
Related Issues: America's Military, Senate Democrats