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Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, reserving the right to object, our most immediate concern at this point is that despite Federal funding expiring 2 days from now--Friday night--my friend the majority leader is blocking action on the funding bill to keep the government open. That is our most immediate concern, and we should address it first because the deadline is literally just 2 days away. That comes first.
My good friend the majority leader has said shutting the government down would be extreme and that it is too risky to even entertain, and that issue is just 2 days away. Everyone knows the truth is that the bill would fund our troops, our border security, and the remaining funding for the rest of the fiscal year, and it is ready to go. They were prepared to sign the conference report earlier this week until leadership on this side said don't sign the report.
There is agreement on the funding bill but no agreement and no plan at all about how we are going to pass the payroll tax cut extension in the Senate. So we ought to finish our most immediate concern first.
Let me repeat that our friends across the aisle have no plan, and some might suggest no desire, to pass a payroll tax cut extension--the President's top priority--extend unemployment insurance or ensure seniors' access to medical care. They have made no attempt at all to produce a bill that can pass the Senate. It is their responsibility in the majority to do that. Instead, we have wasted week after week after week on one senseless show vote after another--votes that one member in the Democratic Senate leadership recently admitted were designed solely to score points on millionaires.
So let's deal first with the deadline that happens this Friday, 2 days from now--fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year--and then turn immediately to the payroll tax extension that expires later in January, and let's pass the job-creating and job-saving measures the House has passed.
Therefore, Madam President, I ask unanimous consent to modify the majority leader's request to say as follows: that the Senate would turn to the consideration of the House bill relating to the payroll tax repeal extension immediately after the Senate passes a conference report or a bill received from the House that funds the government through the end of the fiscal year.
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Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I would say, speaking of embarrassment, it is that we are doing an omnibus again. The reason we are doing an omnibus again here on the eve of Christmas is because we have not passed our appropriations bills. We have had almost as many show votes in the Senate this year, roughly an equal number of show votes--in other words, designed to fail, to go nowhere, to present a talking point for the President in his campaign--as we have had votes on real bills that we are supposed to pass.
So here we are once again. Three years this Democratic Senate has not passed a budget. Three years we have ended up either in omnibus or CR situations. And here we are again.
Now the appropriators in the House and Senate have labored long and hard. A couple days ago, they said they were ready to sign the report. My good friend the majority leader and the President said: Don't let them sign the report. We might actually have to pass the bill--a mysterious strategy to me.
All I am saying here is, first things first. If the majority leader is convinced the House-passed bill is DOA, why doesn't he start talking to the Speaker about how we might actually craft a bill that can pass both the Republican House and the Democratic Senate and quit wasting our time here in the Senate scoring points? A government shutdown is 2 days away.
So first things first. Let's keep the government from shutting down. These other measures do not expire until the end of the month. If the majority leader is correct that the House bill will not pass the Senate, why doesn't he talk to the Speaker and work out something that can pass on a bipartisan basis because, regretfully, I would say to my
friend the majority leader, the Republicans control the House. The Democrats control the Senate, unfortunately, from my point of view. This has to be worked out.
The last time I looked, Christmas is a week from Sunday. Time is a-wasting. We have fiddled all year long--all year long, one point-scoring bill after another, designed to fail, designed to divide us, designed to get no result, to give the President a talking point out on the campaign trail--and here we are, a few days before Christmas, and the silliness continues.
Now, if my friend the majority leader is so convinced the House-passed bill cannot pass the Senate, I would say again, talk to the Speaker and work out something that can pass both the House and the Senate. Time is a-wasting.
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