Under Republican Leadership, Senate Does It’s Job for the American People
‘We got a lot done for the American people in 2015. We’re continuing to get a lot done for the American people in 2016… the Republican-led Senate has passed legislation providing real solutions on a range of issues…I thank the Senators from both sides who’ve worked with us to restore this chamber to a place of higher purpose. I know there’s more we can accomplish together. Let’s keep working to ensure we do.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding Senate accomplishments in the Republican Majority:
“So much has changed since the American people elected a new Republican majority to get the Senate back to work. Americans told us to break through the gridlock and get the Senate focused on real solutions again. We have, and we are.
“This doesn’t mean our colleagues across the aisle will always cooperate — we’ve certainly seen an unfortunate example of that this week — but what’s clear is how the underlying fundamentals have changed. Committees are now functioning. Legislative processes are now working.
“We now continue to get important things done for the people who sent us here. It all started with a simple philosophy: Give Senators and the people they represent more of a say in the legislative process, and they’ll take more of a stake in the legislative outcome — regardless of party. So we did, and the results have been encouraging.
“This is how we’ve been able to transform gridlock into progress and dysfunction into solutions. To give you an example of what I mean, we recently took as many amendment roll-call votes on one bill — the Energy Policy Modernization Act — as the Senate took in all of 2014 under the previous majority.
“It’s remarkable how far we’ve come in such a short time. Consider what we were able to achieve for our constituents in 2015 alone.
“Some said Congress could never break old traditions of short-term fixes and patches and punts, but we repeatedly proved them wrong with meaningful and substantial reforms instead.
“That’s certainly true of the new education reform law we passed. It replaced No Child Left Behind with ‘the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.' It’s a hugely important reform that empowers parents and prevents Washington from imposing Common Core. That’s a notable conservative achievement.
“The same could be said of the decisive action we took to enact permanent tax relief for families and small businesses. Or to bring an end to a job-killing energy embargo from the 1970s. Or to place on President Obama’s desk a bill that would finally end Obamacare’s cycle of broken promises and pain for the Middle Class.
“We secured pay raises for our troops, help for our veterans, and hope for the victims of human trafficking. We passed a landmark cybersecurity law that will help safeguard Americans’ personal information. We achieved the most significant transportation solution in years, one that will finally allow us to rebuild roads, bridges, and crumbling infrastructure — without raising taxes by a penny.
“We got a lot done for the American people in 2015. We’re continuing to get a lot done for the American people in 2016.
“In just a few months, the Republican-led Senate has passed legislation providing real solutions on a range of issues:
- Addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic that’s ravaging our country with critical, comprehensive legislation;
- Modernizing American energy with the first broad energy bill since the Bush Administration;
- Improving airport security and consumer protections with the most pro-passenger, pro-security FAA reauthorization in years;
- Deterring North Korea’s growing aggression with comprehensive sanctions;
- Keeping the Internet open and accessible by permanently banning government from taxing your access to the Internet;
- Supporting American manufacturing by reducing tariffs that make it harder for American businesses to compete and grow;
- Defending American innovation and entrepreneurship with protections against the theft of intellectual property;
- And just this week, combatting sexual assault and human trafficking with new protections for victims and enhanced tools for law enforcement.
“These are some of the things we’ve been able to accomplish the past few months alone. We’re not done yet.
“None of this would have been possible without functioning committees and capable leaders to guide them. Those Chairs often chose to focus on areas where Republicans and Democrats can agree, not just where the two parties disagree, and we’ve gotten some really important legislation passed as a result.
“We’ve seen some truly notable anecdotes too. Like the fact that the Finance Committee has approved more bills to date in the 114th Congress ‘than any single Congress since 1980.’ Like the fact that we got the appropriations process started this year at the earliest point in the modern budgeting era — in other words, in about 40 years. Like the fact that we passed the first of these appropriations bills at the earliest point in the modern budgeting era too.
“It’s good to see the appropriations process finally getting back on track after so many years of dysfunction. It’s incredibly important for the Senate. It’s definitely healthy for the democratic process. And it will certainly allow us to address a variety of funding issues in a more thoughtful and deliberative way. Take Zika for instance.
“Combatting the spread of the Zika virus has been a priority for both parties. So Republicans and Democrats deliberated and forged a compromise in committee. Senators debated that compromise on the floor and voted to pass it. Now members of the Senate and the House are preparing the process of going to conference so we can get this measure to the president.
“That is how you get good legislation to the President. That is what’s known as ‘doing your job’ around here.
“Of course it won’t be easy to get the appropriations process back on track completely after so many years of dysfunction. But we’re committed to doing all we can. We’ve clearly demonstrated strong and steady progress already. And that’s something that benefits both parties. It means more members get a say. It means more scrutiny is brought to bear on funds that are spent. It means more regular order and more of a Senate that functions even better for everyone.
“So I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished in such a short time. We’ve put the Senate back to work. We’ve continued to get our jobs done. And that’s allowed us to pass important legislation for the American people who sent us here. I thank the Senators from both sides who’ve worked with us to restore this chamber to a place of higher purpose. I know there’s more we can accomplish together. Let’s keep working to ensure we do.”
Related Issues: Restoring the Senate, Zika Virus, Back to Work