WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the need to end the government shutdown and get back to work:
“In two hours, every Senator can vote to end this government shutdown. At twelve o’clock, we will vote to end the Democratic Leader’s filibuster and advance instead a bipartisan bill that would put this mess behind us. The bill before us does three things that every Democrat and Republican should be able to support.
“First, it ends this shutdown and restores full funding for the federal government through February 8th. Second, it extends health insurance for nine million vulnerable children. And third, it will enable Congress to resume serious, bipartisan talks on the important issues facing our nation.
“I respect the passion that many of my friends in this chamber, Democrat and Republican alike, bring to the major issues before the Senate. Each of us brings our own views and personal perspectives to discussions of immigration policy, or healthcare reform, or the details of government spending. But we should not let political feuds or policy disagreements obscure the simple fact that every member of this body cares deeply about the challenges facing our country.
“All of us want to make life better for the American people. Bearing this in mind, I hope and intend that we can reach bipartisan solutions on issues such as military spending, immigration and border security, and disaster relief before this February 8th deadline. But yesterday evening, I restated my position that these negotiations can’t last forever.
“Should these issues not be resolved by the time the funding bill before us expires on February 8th, so long as the government remains open it – so long as it remains open – it would be my intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security, and related issues – as well as disaster relief, defense funding, health care, and other important matters.
“Let me be clear, this immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset, and an amendment process that is fair to all sides. And it would be my strong preference for the Senate to consider a proposal that can be signed into law. A bipartisan, bicameral group is already negotiating, and I look forward to the completion of its work.
“But it is abundantly clear that the Senate cannot make progress on any of these crucial matters until the government is re-opened. We need to move forward. The first step is ending this shutdown. It is evident that this government shutdown is doing nothing – absolutely nothing – to generate bipartisan progress on the issues the American people care about. Every day we spend arguing about keeping the lights on is another day we cannot spend negotiating DACA, or defense spending, or any of our other shared priorities. Let’s join together, put this filibuster behind us, and get back to work for the American people.”