Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, our country is unique in the world because it was established on the basis of an idea, an idea that we were all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights--in other words, rights that were conferred not by a king or a President or a Congress, but by the Creator himself. The State protects these rights but it does not grant them. What the State does not grant the State cannot take away. That is what this week's debate on a particularly odious outcome from the President's health care law has been about.
Our Founders believed so strongly that the government should neither establish a religion nor prevent its free exercise that they listed it as the very first item in the Bill of Rights, and Republicans are trying today to reaffirm that basic right. But apparently our friends on the other side do not want to have this amendment or debate. They will not allow those of us who were sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution to even offer an amendment that says we believe in our first amendment right to religious freedom.
Frankly, this is a day I was not inclined to think I would ever see. I have spent a lot of time in my life defending the first amendment but I never thought I would see the day when the elected representatives of the people of this country would be blocked by a majority party in Congress to even express their support for it, regardless of the ultimate outcome.
I yield the floor.
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