Senate Set to Continue Accomplishments Under the New Majority
‘Senators can endlessly debate an issue where the parties don’t agree, or they can keep working together in the areas where we do. I say we should continue doing our work, and the American people should continue making their voices heard.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today prior to the vote on the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and regarding the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy:
“Later this morning the Senate will have an opportunity to take decisive action to address our nation’s devastating prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.
“The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is good legislation that will help tackle this crisis by expanding education and prevention initiatives, improving treatment programs, and bolstering law enforcement efforts.
“This authorization bill, in conjunction with the $400 million appropriated for opioid-specific programs just a few months ago, can make important strides in combating the growing addiction and overdose problem we’ve seen in all 50 states.
“States like Kentucky, which have seen some of the highest drug overdose rates in the country, know all too well the work that must be done to overcome this crisis. Kentuckians also know the positive impact this legislation can have.
“Let me remind you of what a top anti-drug official from Northern Kentucky said about CARA. She said this bill ‘will address the growing needs of our communities in getting appropriate treatment to those who are suffering… [and] allow individuals, families, and communities to heal from this scourge.’
“So we’ll keep working hard to build on these efforts so that fewer Americans ever have to know the heartache of drug addiction and overdose.
“I appreciate the work of Senators on both sides of the aisle to advance this bill.
“On the Democratic side, that includes the Junior Senator from Rhode Island and the Senior Senator from Minnesota.
“On the Republican side, that includes the Junior Senator from New Hampshire. She cares deeply about this issue and has studied the problem carefully. She’s seen the effect it’s had in her home state, and she’s worked hard to do something about it.
“Now of course today’s vote on CARA would not have been possible without the leadership and work of other colleagues too, especially the Junior Senator from Ohio.
“He’s worked diligently over the past few years as the lead Republican sponsor of this much-needed bill. He’s held many meetings and expert conferences to get an even greater understanding of the issue. We appreciate the long hours he’s devoted to addressing this national crisis through the legislation we’ll pass today.
“And of course, I want to thank the Senior Senator from Iowa, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, for everything he’s done to make this moment possible. He understands the urgency of addressing this epidemic. We all appreciate the very important role he played in guiding this legislation to passage too.
“This critical legislation to address America’s national drug epidemic languished in a previous Senate Judiciary Committee, but then Chairman Grassley came along. Under a new Chairman and a new Republican majority, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act became a real priority. It passed committee swiftly — and it will pass the Senate today.
“Important legislation to help the victims of modern slavery languished in a previous Senate Judiciary Committee, but then Chairman Grassley came along. Under a new Chairman and a new Republican majority, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act became a real priority. It passed committee swiftly — and then it passed the Senate.
“The list goes on. Here’s a Chairman who’s worked to give voices to the voiceless. He’s also got a passion for letting Iowans and the American people be heard. No wonder he’s working so hard now to give the people a voice in the direction of the Supreme Court.
“The next Supreme Court justice could dramatically change the direction of the court, and our country for a generation. It’s a change in direction that could have significant implications for the rights we hold dear; that includes our Second Amendment rights and our First Amendment rights, things like Americans’ ability to speak up politically and practice their religion freely.
“The American people obviously deserve to have a voice in this matter. It’s the fairest and most reasonable approach today. During our current national conversation, Americans can make their voices heard on the kind of judicial philosophy they favor.
“One view says that judges should be committed to an even-handed interpretation of the law and the Constitution so that every American gets a fair shake. Another view – the so-called ‘empathy standard’ that President Obama favors – says that judges should, on critical questions, rely on their personal ideology to resolve a case.
“I know which view Justice Scalia took. He said that setting aside one’s personal views is one of the primary qualifications for a judge. ‘If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge,’ he said, ‘you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach.’
“The American people will have the chance to make their voices heard in the matter — and that’s thanks to a dedicated Senator from Iowa who continues to stand strong for Americans’ right to have a say.
“Chairman Grassley’s gotten a lot done under the new majority, just as the Senate’s gotten a lot done under the new majority.
“We’ll mark another important accomplishment for the American people this morning with the passage of CARA.
“Now Senators have a choice. Senators can endlessly debate an issue where the parties don’t agree, or they can keep working together in the areas where we do.
“I say we should continue doing our work, and the American people should continue making their voices heard.
“That’s good for our country. That’s the best way forward now.”
Related Issues: Back to Work, Combating Sex Trafficking, Opioid Abuse, Restoring the Senate, Supreme Court