Senate Notches More Accomplishments Under Republican Leadership

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding Senate action on the bipartisan FAA reauthorization and energy bills:

“Under a new Republican majority, the Senate is getting back to work and progress is being made on behalf of the American people.

“We saw another example of that yesterday, when we passed the most pro-passenger, pro-security FAA reauthorization in years.

“It’s the product of dedicated work from Senator Thune, Senator Ayotte and their Ranking Member counterparts, Senators Nelson and Cantwell. These Senators ensured Republicans and Democrats both had a say on this bill, and we ultimately arrived at balanced legislation that passed by a strong bipartisan majority.

“It takes important strides to bolster national security against the threat of terrorism. It contains provisions to help frustrated passengers. And it won’t levy a nickel in new taxes or fees on passengers or impose the kind over-regulation that can take away their choice or threaten service.

“As The Washington Post reminded us, this is ‘the second major transportation bill approved by the Senate within five months.’

“Whether it’s providing long-term solutions for highway funding, or permanent tax relief for families and small businesses, or common-sense reforms for airline passengers and airport security, this much is clear: the Republican-led Senate is working to address issues that affect our constituents on a daily basis.

“Passing the FAA Reauthorization bill isn’t the only legislative milestone we’ll mark this week.

“Today we’ll pass, as The New York Times put it, ‘the first major energy bill to come to the Senate floor since the Bush administration’ — the passage of which, as the paper has also noted, would represent ‘a significant step forward for the nation’s energy policy.’

“It has been nearly a decade since the Senate last debated major energy legislation and much has changed in that time. That’s why Senator Murkowski, the Energy Committee Chair, and Senator Cantwell, the Ranking Member, worked for the past year to move broad, bipartisan energy legislation: the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

“Like the FAA Reauthorization bill I mentioned earlier, this bill won’t raise taxes on American families — but it can help them. By making energy more affordable and more abundant. By building on technological advances and bolstering national security. By growing the economy and furthering innovation.

“In short, the bill before us takes a comprehensive approach to bring America’s energy policies in line with the kind of challenges and opportunities we now face.

‘The bill managers worked ceaselessly to see this bill through to final passage. And now, following yesterday’s passage of the most pro-passenger, pro-security FAA reauthorization in years, the Republican-led Senate will today pass the first major energy bill in nearly a decade. It’s broad, it’s bipartisan, it’s just the kind of legislation we’re seeing a lot of in a Republican-led Senate that continues to show what’s possible with good ideas and good old hard work.

“And finally, on the topic of hard work…the reason the Republican-led Senate has been able to pass so much good legislation over the past year is because we resolved to put this chamber back to work. That started with the committees.

“We’ve seen what’s possible in the Commerce Committee — just look at the FAA bill. We’ve seen what’s possible in the Energy Committee — just look at the energy bill. But we’re also seeing what’s possible in many other committees — like Appropriations.

“Last year, the Committee passed all 12 of the bills that fund the government. Passing all of those bills through committee used to be fairly routine, yet it hadn’t happened in years by the time the new majority took over. We changed that last year. We’re resolved to do even more this year.

“The Committee has again gotten the appropriations process off to a strong start, and we’d now like to pass as many of the funding bills as possible on the Senate floor.

“Getting this done will require cooperation from across the aisle. Well, our Democratic friends recently wrote a letter pledging cooperation in the appropriations process. ‘This is a win-win opportunity,’ they said, and ‘we should seize it together.’

“With the appropriate cooperation, we will — and we are. The Appropriations Committee has already conducted more than 40 hearings since January. Tomorrow they’ll mark up two more funding bills, which follows their action last week to pass two others on a bipartisan, and unanimous, basis. We’re about to consider one of those funding bills here on the floor.

“The Energy and Water appropriations bill is thoughtful, bipartisan legislation that will ensure a fiscally responsible approach to a variety of issues: things like national security, energy innovation, waterways, and economic development. I look forward to talking more about it tomorrow.

“I’d like to thank Senators Alexander and Feinstein for their many hours of hard work on that bill. I’d also like to recognize Chairman Cochran for everything he’s done with Ranking Member Mikulski to get the appropriations process moving forward.”

Related Issues: FAA, Appropriations, Energy, Restoring the Senate