U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need for Senate Democrats to work with Republicans on a solution to end the federal shutdown while maintaining the Budget Control Act:
“I appreciate the comments of the Majority Leader. I might say, however, that as much as I appreciate his comments to all of us, the real challenge is his relationship with the House and whether or not we can begin the discussion process to get to an outcome.
“Nobody is happy with the government shutdown, certainly not anybody on this side and not anybody on the other side.
“But I would remind everybody on both sides of the aisle that Democratic Senators have said repeatedly, ‘Obamacare is the law of the land’. And basically we should get used to it. We have suggested various modifications, some of which enjoy bipartisan support, but obviously so far that’s not something our friends on the other side are willing to do.
“But let me also point out to all of you that the Budget Control Act is also the law of the land. It was negotiated on a bipartisan basis, signed by the President of the United States, and the Budget Control Act is the law of the land.
“When the Majority Leader, says he was negotiating with the house over the CR level, my view was that that was not a negotiation. That was current law. In place, passed on a bipartisan basis, signed by the President of the United States. Current law.
“So I think I can pretty safely say that nobody on this side believes that we ought to revisit a law that has reduced government spending for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War.
“At a time when we have a debt the size of our economy, which makes us look a lot like a Western European country.
“So as we go into whatever discussions we end up having to solve the shutdown problem, I would say to my friends on the other side, revisiting a law you negotiated with the President, passed on a bipartisan basis, that is actually reducing spending, ought not be part of the final outcome.
“But talk we should. The American people have given us divided government. And when you have divided government, it means you have to talk to each other.
“This is not 2009 and 2010 when our friends on the other side had a total hammer lock on all the government. We now have divided government. It means we have to talk to each other and get to an outcome.
“And I think it’s far past time to get that done. And I hope, given where we are today, that there’s adequate incentive to get those talks started, principally between the Majority Leader and the Speaker, to get us to the outcome that we all want and to get us there soon.
“But, let me just conclude by saying the Budget Control Act is the law of the land. If you believe in reducing government spending, it is working.
“My members and the American people think reducing government spending is a good idea, and so we have a law in place that is achieving those kinds of results. That’s not something that at a time when we have a debt the size of our economy we ought to lightly walk away from.
“I hope the Majority Leader, in addition to talking to us, which we appreciate, talks to the Speaker, because that’s how we resolve this crisis.”