CongressHouse FloorSenate Floor • U.S. Capitol: 202-224-3121

April 7, 2011

The Continuing Resolution

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Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, across the country this morning, Americans are wondering what is going on in Washington this week. They want to know why it is taking so long to fund the government. Americans want to know how we got to this point, and they deserve an answer, so here goes.

Each year, the majority party in Congress is responsible for coming up with a budget plan that explains how they are going to pay for all the things that government does. It is not just a good idea--it is the law. Congress has been required to do it since 1974.

Last year, Democrat leaders in Congress decided they didn't want to do it. They didn't want to have to publicly defend their bloated spending and the debt it is creating. So Republicans have had to come up with temporary spending bills to keep the government running in the absence of any alternatives--and leadership--from Democrats.

Republicans even passed a bill in the House that would keep the government funded through the rest of the current fiscal year, and which takes an important first step toward a smaller, more efficient government that helps improve the conditions for private sector job growth.

This House bill would save us billions of dollars on our way to a conversation about trillions. And Congressman Ryan has done a service this week by setting the terms of that larger debate--by outlining a plan that puts us back on a path to stability and prosperity.

Unfortunately, Democrats have made a calculated decision that they didn't want to have either debate--so they have taken a pass on both.

Frankly, it is hard not to be struck by the contrasting approaches to our Nation's fiscal problems that we have seen in Washington this week. On the one hand, you have a plan by Congressman Ryan that every serious person has described as honest and courageous. On the other hand, you have people like the new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee and the previous Speaker of the House dismissing that plan in the most cartoonish language imaginable.

While thinking people have seen in the Ryan plan an honest attempt to tackle our problems head on, ideologues on the left have seen a target to distort while offering no vision of their own to prevent a fiscal nightmare that we all know is approaching.

And they still haven't come up with an alternative to the various Republican proposals we have seen to keep the government up and running in the current fiscal year. They have just sat on the sidelines taking potshots at everything Republicans have proposed while rooting for a shutdown.

That is why the Republicans in the House have now proposed another bill this week that will fund the military for the rest of the year, keep the government operating, and which gets us a

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little closer to a level of spending that even the senior Senator from New York has called ``reasonable.''

The fact that Democrats are now rejecting this offer, which even members of their own leadership have described as ``reasonable'' is all the evidence you need that Democrats are more concerned about the politics of this debate than keeping the government running.

Let's be clear about something this morning: throughout this entire debate, Republicans have not only said that we would prefer a bipartisan agreement that funds the government and protects defense spending at a time when we have American troops fighting in two wars. There is a Republican plan on the table right now that would do just that.

Democrats can accept that proposal, or they can reject it. But they can't blame anyone but themselves if a shutdown does occur. Because they have done nothing to prevent it.

With the clock ticking, I would once again encourage our Democratic friends to get on board with this proposal, and to support the kind of spending cuts that the American people have asked for--and that their own leadership has already endorsed.

(Senate - April 6, 2011)

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