Continuing Appropriationsby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2013-10-07
McCONNELL. We are now in the second week of a government shutdown
that nobody claims to want.
Democrats say it is unreasonable to ask for any changes or delays to ObamaCare. Republicans, we think the ObamaCare rollout has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt just how reasonable a delay is. If anybody had any doubts about the need to delay this thing, those doubts should have been allayed this weekend when the administration admitted its Web site wasn't working and took it offline for repairs.
Delay and basic fairness are what Republicans are asking for at this point, not exactly the Sun and the Moon.
Another thing Republicans have been saying is that if we can't agree on a bill to fund the entire government, let's at least pass the most urgent pieces of it. Let's at least pass the parts we can all agree on. That is exactly what the House has begun to do.
Over the past several days, the two parties in the House have responsibly come together and passed no fewer than eight bills to fund things such as the Coast Guard, the Guard and Reserve, and programs for veterans. In other words, the House has quietly shown the two parties aren't completely at odds in this debate and that there is, in fact, some common ground here. Slowly but surely the House has approved funding for folks who shouldn't get caught in the middle of a political impasse such as this. They have done it on a bipartisan basis.
Over the weekend the House passed a bill that said a government shutdown doesn't affect the free exercise of religion on military bases, and 184 Democrats agreed. Another bill said government workers shouldn't have to wonder how they are going to pay their bills during a shutdown, and 189 Democrats agreed with that.
The bill to fund FEMA drew 23 Democrats. The one to fund NIH drew 25; national parks, 23.
Let's be clear here that the problem isn't the House. There is actually a fair amount of agreement among Republicans and Democrats over in the House, that Republicans and lawmakers have a duty and a responsibility that rises above the politics of the moment to fund things such as veterans, cancer trials, the National Guard, and reservists in every State.
The problem is the Senate.
I know Democrats don't like it, but the American people have given us divided government for two elections in a row. They gave us a Republican House, and they gave us a Democratic Senate.
This means negotiation isn't a luxury; it is a necessity. Until Senate Democrats accept reality, these crises will only be harder to resolve. So I would suggest they start thinking about how they might start playing a constructive role in the crisis and in the challenges that lie ahead. There is a time for politics, and there is a time for sitting down like adults and working things out. Republicans are ready and willing to negotiate. We invite Senate Democrats to join us.
I yield the floor.