WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
“Washington D.C. and the cable news channels have spent this week fixating on House Democrats’ impeachment hearings.
“A few months ago, Speaker Pelosi was saying she was not ‘for impeachment’ unless it was ‘bipartisan.’ But even after the resolution codifying House Democrats’ unfair process received no Republican votes, the House has plowed ahead anyway, searching for a way to arrive at the outcome that many Democrats predetermined years ago.
“Meanwhile, the American people are still waiting for Washington Democrats to stop blocking crucial bipartisan legislation.
“I spoke yesterday about the USMCA, the landmark trade deal that experts say would create 176,000 American jobs.
“For nine months, Speaker Pelosi has told the press every couple of weeks that she’ll allow a vote soon. Last winter, she was ‘optimistic.’ Over the summer: ‘We want to pass this bill.’ This autumn: ‘Becoming closer.’ And a couple of weeks ago: ‘I think we are close.’
“We’ve had months of this stalling. Now we are one week out from Thanksgiving and there is still no tangible sign of progress from the House. If the House cannot pass the USMCA this year, there is no way they’ll be able to claim the people’s business has not taken a backseat to impeachment.
“The USMCA isn’t the only important legislation that Democrats are holding up.
“As if neglecting the first major update to North American trade policy in a generation weren’t enough, they’re also on track to break a nearly 60-year tradition of passing a bipartisan defense authorization bill.
“Passing the NDAA is one of Congress’s most basic governing responsibilities. It authorizes and assures oversight of the ongoing missions of our armed forces and the resources the Department of Defense needs to carry them out.
“Every year since 1961, these goals have been enough to get members across the ideological spectrum to come together and deliver a comprehensive, bipartisan piece of legislation.
“But not this year, at least not yet. House Democrats are so intent on picking fights with the White House that they decided to play partisan games with our armed forces.
“They passed a fully party-line NDAA. Not one Republican vote for their House version on the floor. I believe it’s the first time ever that either chamber has passed a purely partisan NDAA.
“The House, on a partisan basis, also included many provisions that aren’t even in the jurisdiction of their Armed Services Committee. Even in conference, House Democrats are holding germane provisions hostage in order to secure partisan, non-germane provisions that have nothing to do with our national security.
“Their demands to treat the NDAA like a gift basket to liberal interest groups is imperiling the passage of this important legislation.
“We’re talking about demands like a new taxpayer-funded benefit for all federal employees and burdening farmers, ranchers, small businesses, local airports, and community water utilities with expensive new environmental liabilities.
“All kinds of domestic policy changes that were not in the Senate’s bipartisan version and have no business bringing this crucial process to a halt.
“The Senate did things the right way. We passed a bipartisan NDAA, back in June, just like we do every year. That’s a credit to Chairman Inhofe, Senator Reed, and the rest of the Senate Armed Services Committee. It was a thoroughly bipartisan product, debated in the open.
“But House Democrats went off the rails. The House Rules Committee allowed floor debate on only a single substantive Republican amendment while they jammed through their own partisan priorities. They passed their totally partisan NDAA with zero Republican votes. And now they are risking the entire conference committee to insist that those partisan demands wind up in the end product.
“Enough’s enough. The USMCA and the NDAA could not be clearer examples of bipartisan legislation that would make our country stronger.
“Our Democratic friends say they want to do more than just impeach. They say they came to Washington D.C. to do more than pick fights with the president.
“In the next days and weeks, we’ll find out if they mean it.”
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