Bipartisan Achievementsby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2015-12-09
McCONNELL. Mr. President, the new Congress and the new Senate
this year have had a habit this year of turning third rails into
bipartisan achievements. You might say we did so on highways and
transportation last week. You might say we are doing so on schools and
education this week.
We have also overcome significant obstacles to pass important legislation that would protect America's privacy online through the sharing of cyber threat information that would help fight against unfair trade barriers, that would help our military modernize and prepare for future threats, and that would bring hope to victims of deplorable crimes who suffer in the shadows.
But when it comes to the truest of third rails in American politics, some boil that down to just two phrases: [[Page S8508]] Medicare and Social Security. We all know that positive action will be needed if we care about saving these programs for future generations. Republicans and Democrats are both aware of this inescapable fact. Yet too many politicians have been conditioned to believe that bringing one comma of positive reform to either law is political suicide.
Well, bipartisan majorities in the new Congress voted to change a lot more than just commas in both laws this year. We took bipartisan action on Medicare, reforming a broken payment system that has threatened seniors' care. We took bipartisan action on Social Security's disability component, enacting the most significant reform in a generation. As a result of these bipartisan reforms, we put a permanent end to Congress' annual doc fix drama. We brought reform to a program for disabled Americans that was scheduled to go broke next year. And we broke through on a bipartisan basis--an important psychological barrier that has held back broader positive action for the American people.
The scale of what this new Congress was able to achieve on these issues is noteworthy, but it is important for another reason. It clears a path for future wins for our constituents. That is good news for our country today, it is good news for future generations tomorrow, and it is another example of a Congress that is back to work for the American people and back on their side.