Senate Democrats’ Shutdown Can End Today
‘The Democratic Leader can end this today. We can get past this manufactured crisis and get onto the host of serious issues before us that require thoughtful, bipartisan negotiations. This shut down is going to get a lot worse tomorrow. A lot worse. Today would be a good day to end it. All we have to do is pass the commonsense legislation the Senate is currently considering.'
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Senate Democrats’ vote to shut down the government:
“Today is day two of the Senate Democrats’ government shutdown. Day two since the Democratic Leader made the political calculation to do something that, according to a recent survey, even most Democrats don’t support: he shut down the government to appease a portion of his party’s left-wing base. It makes you shake your head. Who comes up with ideas like this?
“On Friday, a bipartisan group of Senators voted to advance a bill that would have kept the federal government open, provided six years of certainty for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program – at least seven Democratic governors have written they’re in dire straits – and allowed ongoing talks to continue on a variety of important issues that we’ve been discussing here for a couple of months. Together, Democrats and Republicans had enough votes to pass it. Five Democrats crossed over and voted against shutting down the government, to keep the government open while we attend to our work. The House had already passed it. The president was ready to sign it. We were poised to send him this compromise solution and erase the threat of a shutdown.
“But unfortunately, my friend the Democratic Leader had other ideas. Now we all know in the Senate, the minority has the power to filibuster. I support that right from an institutional point of view, but the question is when do you use it? And on Friday, the Democratic Leader made the extraordinary and destructive choice to filibuster our bipartisan bill and guarantee the American people a shutdown of their federal government. Now it is the second day of this Senate Democrat filibuster and the Senate Democrat shutdown of the federal government.
“Because the president wouldn’t resolve months of ongoing negotiations over massive issues in one brief meeting and give the Democratic Leader everything he wants, my friend across the aisle has shut down the government for hundreds of millions of Americans. Because he didn’t get everything he wanted in one meeting with the president. So, who pays the price for that?
“Health care for needy children. Training and resources for our men and women in uniform. Care for our veterans who came home, and survivor benefits for the families of heroes who did not. Full funding for the CDC, for the NIH, and for routine safety inspections of food and medicine. To most Americans, those sound like our fundamental responsibilities.
“To the Democratic Leader, apparently, they sound like hostages ripe for the taking. All this was totally unnecessary. There is broad consensus, on both sides of the aisle, that DACA and other issues related to illegal immigration require a compromise solution. Almost everybody here –Democrat and Republican – believe he need to get to a solution on the DACA issue and related immigration matters. Bipartisan, bicameral negotiations have been underway for months. But they can go nowhere until Senate Democrats realize that the extreme path their Leader has charted leads them nowhere.
“A filibuster of health care for nine million children. A filibuster of the tools and training that our warfighters need to keep us safe. A filibuster of funding for the federal government itself, for hundreds of millions of Americans. All over a tangential issue related to illegal immigration that does not even ripen until March. All of these other things are an emergency. The one non-emergency issue – that our friends on the other side are trying to shoehorn into this discussion –doesn’t reach emergency status until March.
“This is pure folly. The American people know so. That’s why, in a recent survey, a majority said keeping the government open is a higher priority than shutting down the government over the issue of illegal immigration. That’s why headlines all across America are laying the blame for this government shutdown right at the feet of Senate Democrats and their filibuster.
“The Democratic Leader can end this today. We can get past this manufactured crisis and get onto the host of serious issues before us that require thoughtful, bipartisan negotiations. This shut down is going to get a lot worse tomorrow. A lot worse. Today would be a good day to end it. All we have to do is pass the commonsense legislation the Senate is currently considering. Ending a government shutdown and ensuring health care continues for vulnerable children – there is nothing in this measure that my Democratic friends cannot support.
“So, here is the situation. If nothing changes, the cloture vote will be no sooner than 1:00 a.m tonight. We could resolve this much earlier, if the Democratic Leader withdraws his procedural objection and allows the Senate to proceed to a vote. Our constituents want us to end this. Secretary Mattis, our military leaders, and our governors want us to end this. And we can. Today is the right day to do it.
“Senate Democrats only need to withdraw their filibuster and allow a bipartisan majority to move America forward. If they really care about the big issues – increased defense funding, disaster relief, DACA and border security, and other important matters that we’ve been negotiating – and that I would like to bring to the floor – then they will stop their filibuster, end this shutdown, and let the negotiators get back to work.
“Everyone has figured this out. This shutdown was a political miscalculation of gargantuan proportions. But it doesn’t need to go on any longer. It could stop today. Let’s step back from the brink. Let’s stop victimizing the American people and get back to work on their behalf.”
Related Issues: Health Care, Appropriations, America's Military, Senate Democrats