U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the House-passed bill that urges the Secretary of Defense to permit religious activities during the federal shutdown:
“Last Saturday, the House voted 400-1 to express the view that a government shutdown should not interfere with the ability of military chaplains to provide services for our servicemembers.
“The House took that vote amid reports that chaplains were limited in their ability to minister to those who sought their services — even if ministers were doing so on a volunteer basis.
“We’ve even heard reports that those who scheduled baptisms might not be able to have them. Obviously, this is an intolerable situation.
“We’ve got a very large military presence in Kentucky. The folks at Fort Campbell and Fort Knox don’t need this.
“We need to remedy the situation immediately, and care for the troops that have volunteered to defend us.
“The House has already taken a stand — on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. It’s time for the Senate to do the same.
“I call on the Majority Leader to allow a vote to express the Senate’s view that service members in my state, every other state, or overseas should be able to receive religious services.
“This is one vote we should have today — and some of my colleagues will talk this afternoon about some other votes we should also have.
“The government may be shut down, but our service men and women shouldn’t be caught in the middle of the impasse.”