U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the need for Senate Democrats to negotiate a solution to end the federal shutdown that they created:
“Well, we’re now in the second week of a government shutdown that nobody claims to want.
“Democrats say it’s unreasonable to ask for any changes or delays to Obamacare. And Republicans, well, we think the Obamacare rollout has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt just how reasonable a delay is. I mean, 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 website 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.
“And that’s exactly what the House has already begun to do.
“Over the past several days, the two parties in the House of Representatives have responsibly come together and passed no fewer than eight bills to fund things like the Coast Guard, the Guard and Reserve, and programs for veterans.
“In other words, the House has quietly shown that the two parties aren’t completely at odds in this debate — 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 like this; 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 — 184 Democrats agreed.
“Another bill said government workers shouldn’t have to wonder how they’re going to pay their bills during a shutdown — 189 Democrats agreed.
“The bill to fund FEMA drew 23; NIH drew 25; National Parks, 23.
“So let’s be clear: the problem here isn’t the House.
“There’s actually a fair amount of agreement among Republicans and Democrats over there that lawmakers have a duty and responsibility that rises above the politics of the moment to fund things like veterans, cancer trials, the National Guard and Reservists in every state.
“The problem is the Senate.
“Look: I know Democrats don’t like it, but the American people have given us a divided government two elections in a row now. They gave us a Republican House and a Democrat Senate.
“That means negotiation isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
“And until Senate Democrat leaders accept that reality, these crises will only be harder to resolve. So I would suggest that they start thinking about how they might start playing a constructive role in this crisis, and in the challenges to come.
“There’s a time for politics, and there’s a time for sitting down like adults and working things out. Republicans are ready and willing to negotiate. We invite Senate Democrat leaders to join us.”