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Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2014-Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Yesterday I talked about how supposedly moderate Senate Democrats are supposedly incapable of advancing important policies they claim to support, policies such as approving the Keystone Pipeline. These Senate Democrats just can't stop talking about how much they love Keystone. Yet they will not stop enabling their own Democratic leadership to block approval of this shovel-ready, job-creation project. They have been doing so for years now. So it is hard to take what they say very seriously.

That is true when it comes to the Obama administration's war on coal jobs too. Some of our friends on the other side want their constituents to think they will stand up to this elitist war on middle-class jobs. These Senators want everyone to believe they are opposed to this administration's waves of job-killing energy regulations.

The truth is it is just the opposite. These Democratic Senators say they are ready to stand and fight, but when push comes to shove we can't find them anywhere. Instead, we continually see them supporting the majority leader and the Democratic Senate leadership that dutifully does the bidding of President Obama and the far left.

On this issue the Democratic leadership has gotten ever more extreme in its defense of the war-on-coal jobs. Multiple times I have tried to offer legislation that would ease the pain for Kentucky's coal families--hard-working Americans who just want to work and put food on the table.

I pushed for Senate approval of commonsense bills, such as the Saving Coal Jobs Act and the Coal Country Protection Act, but the majority leader blocks those efforts at every turn, and none of the so-called moderate Senate Democrats ever come to the floor to assist me in my efforts. Every time they choose to follow a party line instead--the party line of the majority leader they support.

The most troubling is the majority leader whom these Democrats support is so determined to stamp out opposition to the President's job-killing regulations he has taken to shutting down the legislative process altogether.

His efforts have even begun to affect our committee work.

Case in point. Just last week Senate Democratic leadership pulled the Energy and Water appropriations bill from committee consideration because it feared a procoal jobs amendment I wanted to offer that might actually pass. We saw yet another example of that this week when Senate Democrats pulled the Financial Services appropriations bill from committee consideration for the same reason. The Senate Democratic leadership apparently doesn't want Members of the Senate, even in committee--even in committee--to have any real say in the contours of the President's energy regulations--regulations that will affect millions of our constituents in profound ways.

Appropriations bills are exactly what the Senate should be voting on. Our constituents sent us here to debate big issues, to amend and improve policies that work, and to repeal the ones that don't. That is our job description. But the Democratic majority won't allow us to fulfill it.

The extremism here is really worrying. But the majority leader couldn't get away with it if the Democrats in his conference who claim to be ``moderate'' would actually stand up to him for once. The so-called moderates could stand up to him when he tries to shut down the legislative process, but they don't. The so-called moderates could stand up to him when he blocks every reform of the President's job-killing regulations or when he blocks every effort to approve the Keystone Pipeline, but they don't. They won't even stand up to President Obama when he jets off to speak to partisan groups and friendly audiences that rarely have the best interests of coal country at heart.

I know the President will also be trying out a new PR campaign today to see what life is really like for the middle class--for those beyond the White House gates. But he won't see the consequences of his EPA regulations at a political rally. He won't see what his IRS has done to grassroots organizations. He won't hear from the families of veterans who died while waiting for a bureaucrat to hand out a doctor appointment. And he won't see the damage ObamaCare has caused for working families.

Well, if he is actually serious about this initiative, then he will come to Kentucky to see the tragic effects of his policies firsthand. I invite him to visit with local coal families in my State and hear the other side of the story they won't hear from California billionaires. I invite him to meet with the veterans I hear from every day, and I invite him to meet with families such as the Whitehead family from Allen County, who write to me about the damage his ObamaCare law has already done to them. But I doubt he will, and I doubt the so-called moderate Senators will push him to do so anyway.

So perhaps it is time these Senators stop referring to themselves as moderate at all. If they are not willing to stand up to the majority leader or the President when it counts, then they are just another party-line Democrat. It is really too bad, because we Republicans on this side of the aisle want to come to bipartisan solutions on the issues affecting so many of our constituents. We want to pass commonsense energy legislation that can create well-paying jobs, increase North American energy independence, and lower utility prices for struggling middle class families. We want to give Congress a say on extreme policies from the administration that take aim at middle class jobs in each of our States. But we can't do any of that without dance partners on the Democratic side. And there is hardly a true moderate in sight anymore. I can remember when we used to have moderates over on the Democratic side, but we can't find them today. It is a shame for our country.

I and my party are going to keep fighting for the middle class either way, even if we have to continue carrying on the battle for sensible, commonsense solutions all by ourselves.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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