Veterans, FDA, Nominations On Tap For Remainder Of Work Period

‘So we have important work to get done over the remainder of this work period. I hope colleagues will cooperate across the aisle in our efforts to do so.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Senate’s upcoming agenda: 

“As I said yesterday, the Senate has a number of nominations to consider in the coming days. Yesterday, we voted to advance a well-qualified judicial nominee to serve on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Soon, we will consider one of the president’s nominations for the National Labor Relations Board.

“And we obviously need to confirm an FBI Director. I would hope that with all the threats facing us at home and abroad, our Democratic colleagues would not launch the first filibuster of a nominee to be FBI Director, especially one who was reported out of the Judiciary Committee by a vote of 20-0. These are just a few of the many nominees that need to be acted upon, and quickly.

“Up until now, our friends across the aisle have thrown up one unnecessary procedural hurdle after the next on even the most uncontroversial of nominees. As a result, I noted last month that at the pace we were going it would take more than 11 years to confirm the remaining presidential appointments. Well, that pace has slowed even further, now it would take about 12 years.

“So it’s time to end this. I look forward to our Democratic colleagues cooperating with us to do that, so the Senate can spend its time considering other things that are important to our constituents.

“We have legislation to address over the remainder of this work period as well. Our veterans deserve the best care the country can provide. Under the last administration’s VA scandal, they were let down in a big way. Congress came together in the wake of that scandal to pass the Veterans Choice program, which allows many veterans to skip the long wait and travel times at some VA facilities and access private care. The House recently acted to shore up this program on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, 414-0, and now the Senate needs to act too.

“We also need to renew the FDA user fee program. This program is critical to speeding up the drug approval process, and that’s important for everyone frustrated by the time and cost of bringing lifesaving drugs to market. Without it, the important work of ensuring that drugs and devices are safe and effective would come to a screeching halt.

“Every five years, those agreements need to be reviewed and reauthorized. The Senate’s legislation to do so was reported by the HELP Committee on a 21-2 bipartisan vote, and — given the life-saving developments in immunotherapy and personalized medicine on the horizon — it is more important than ever.

“So we have important work to get done over the remainder of this work period. I hope colleagues will cooperate across the aisle in our efforts to do so.”

Related Issues: Nominations, Veterans