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April 8, 2011

Continuing Resolution

[Page: S2216]  GPO's PDF 

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, my good friend mentioned Henry Clay. He would approve very much of the bill the House will be sending over later today. And the abortion provision my good friend refers to is one Democratic leaders have previously supported. It is a measure that has previously appeared in appropriations bills and a measure that has been previously signed by the President. So obviously that is not what this matter is about.

As the majority leader indicated, the talks are continuing. But two positions

[Page: S2217]  GPO's PDF
have emerged that are very clear. Throughout this debate, Republicans have consistently said that we prefer a bipartisan agreement that keeps the government running and provides critical funding and certainty for our troops. This is exactly what we have been working toward all along, and that is exactly what the bill the House Republicans are expected to pass today will do.

Importantly, this bill will also include a modest reduction in Washington spending--a reduction well within the range that even Democratic leaders have described as reasonable.

In fact, the bill House Republicans will send over to the Senate today is nothing more than a smaller version of the larger bill that Democrats say they want. So let's be specific, very specific.

The Obama administration and the Secretary of Defense have said they need an annual defense bill. The House bill we will get today does that. It passes the Defense appropriations bill. Senate Democrats have said they want the Government to keep running. The House bill we will get today does precisely that. Democratic leaders have identified a number of cuts they believe are reasonable. The spending cuts in the House bill we will get today go no farther than that. Democratic leaders have said they want no controversial policy riders. That is what we just heard our majority leader talking about. But the policy provisions in the bill we will get today are provisions that members of the Democratic leadership have already voted for and that the President himself has previously signed into law. It will be pretty hard to argue that is controversial.

Here is the bottom line: The bill does everything Democrats have previously said they want. It cuts Washington spending by an amount that Democratic leaders believe is reasonable. The policy prescriptions it contains have been previously agreed to by Democratic leaders and signed by this President. Most important, this is the only proposal out there that keeps the government open, the only one that is coming over from the House.

In other words, if a shutdown does occur, our Democratic friends have no one to blame but themselves because they have done nothing whatsoever to prevent it, since they have produced no alternative to the bill the House is sending over today. This is the only proposal currently on the table that will keep the government open.

There are two options at this point. Democrats can either take up and pass this reasonable bill that falls well within the bounds of what their own leadership has defined as acceptable or shut down the government. That is it, that is the choice. So rather than talking about a shutdown, I hope our Democratic friends join us in actually preventing one. There is only one way to do that, by quickly passing the House bill and sending it to the President for his signature before tomorrow night.

(Senate - April 7, 2011)

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