Senate Domestic Agenda CSPAN May 25, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm EDT
dilution, but one that does reflect aspiration. if we don't serve that it will effect. it is something that matters a lot to mitch mcconnell. big primary victory, and i am sure he is pleased of that. he has been here to speak many times, and we are delighted to and from him, his insights practical solutions, and his ideas inspire us or new policy work and for our work. ladies and gentlemen, mitch mcconnell. [applause]
>> good morning. i am happy to be here, particularly under the circumstances, and if things had turned out differently last week, this would be an awkward presentation. that me start by thanking arthur aei for cosponsoring today's conference as well as others. year, senate republicans hosted a number of today's panelists at our annual retreat, so in some sense, i viewed today as a continuation of a conversation that is already ongoing, a conversation about our shared commitment to the urgent task of alleviating the burdens to the working poor and the american middle class.
thanks for the opportunity to share some observations of my own on the role republicans might play in helping to make this a reality. roughly speaking, i think there are two basic arguments hovering over us this morning. first is that the various policy we now commonly referred to as reform conservatism represents a good initial answer to the question as to how government can be used to help, help, not hurt working americans across the country whose wages have remained stubbornly flat throughout the obama era, even as the cost of everything from college tuition to health care continues to rise. many of these americans have come to feel that their government is now working against them, not for them, and reform conservatism is animated in part by a desire to prove at
least one party in washington remains determined to change that, and to show in the process that today's republican party has something to offer those americans beyond a mere rejection of what the other side all, the area after a limitingnthat, and to show it document, though it is that, indeed. it is also meant to enable action, to facilitate commerce, mobility, and greater opportunity, to enrich our lives and our society as the nation grows and develops. this is something two of my kentucky forbearers understood, and it is well worth remembering even as we steadfastly of firm government limits. the second argument repeated with great frequency by some of our panelists is that by embracing various reform proposals and telling them on
the campaign trail, it would go a long way towards a limiting document, alleviating the much discussed electoral struggles of today's republican party, so let me just say at the outset that i think there is very little in dispute in either one of these claims. i think that if he were to ask any republicans in washington which group of americans stands most,efit the most, the from the ideas and ideals of our party, they would respond without hesitation that it is andamerican middle class that any suggestion to the contrary is based on a cheap and dishonest caricature, and yet, i think it must also be admitted that in a rush to defend the american entrepreneur from daily issues of an administration that seems to view any profit-making enterprise with deep suspicion, they have often lost sight of the fact that our average voter -- it is a good impulse, to be sure, but for most americans
whose daily concerns revolve the much discussed aging parentg commutes, shrinking budgets, and obscenely high tuition bills, these ideas about entrepreneurism are largely irrelevant, and the audience is probably a lot smaller than we , so i think we would do well as a party to good down to the basics, and i see one woman out there, and this is the way she put it. job creatorsss of and more of job earners. a very astute observation. having said that, i think the politician's arsenal appeal and job creators and more of job earners. overall electability is a potent well considered policy platform, but that is a larger conversation and one that we will leave for another day.
today is not primarily about tactics. betterbout making life for the working poor and the middle class through concrete policy and about by recognizing how fortunate we are as a party to have so many thoughtful women and men contributing to this vital, important movement of ideas. it is often spoken of the importance of gratitude, and it is with no little gratitude that i went to a knowledge the tremendous work so many of you have done for preparing us for the day the american people realize, once again, that liberalism simply doesn't work, and republicans are once again driving the policy debate in washington. thanks to you and to others, we when thatll armed happy day finally arrives.
i hope sooner rather than later. i am proud that several members of my conference have thrown themselves into this movement with enthusiasm. ii am grateful for their effort, as well. james madison once said that the u.s. constitution was the work of many heads and many hands, and the same can be justly said of this great, collective effort to update our party's ideas consistent with its long-standing principles of upward mobility, shared responsibility for the week, and a strong but limited government. for my part, i have pressed for legislation in recent months that addresses a variety of concerns to the voters of my state. for example, the family friendly workforce flexibility act, which i introduced along with senator , looking for an agreement with an employer whereby they would be able to make overtime
compensation in the form of time .ff rather than more pay the expanding opportunity through quality charter schools would provide more and better educational choices to families who have made it very clear to me how disappointed they are in their current options and how frustrated they are with teachers unions that block any progress, and then there is a national right to work. act, a bill i have cosponsored with senator paul, which would federal rule that requires employees of certain to join a union or pay union dues whether they want to or not. lifting this rule would vastly increase job opportunities in my state for women and men who want work but just cannot find it, especially in the area of manufacturing. so these are just a few of the ideas. senators to join a union or pay union lee and rubio and scott and paul, among others, have outlined specific proposals with similar goals in mind.
you may have heard of republicans pointing out we may have had nine roll call votes since last july. we checked to see how many democratic roll call votes were since last july. they have had seven. nobody's ideas are being given a hearing, a debate on the senate floor. of you have suggested, and it is certainly the case, it looks like the senate has turned house, and the house
has turned into the senate. speaker boehner has given the minority in the house during the house, and the house has turned into the senate. same period of time 136 roll call votes. this is not the way the senate was operated at any point in its past, even under what some would argue was tyrannical issues, lbj, so he has muzzled the people's representatives, and through them, the people themselves. he has opted for secrecy over transparency by moving the bill writing process from the senate floor into his conference room. most notoriously, of course, we all recall in the draft of obamacare, and i do not need to tell any of you what he has done to the spirit of respect that the public has every right to expect from their leaders. if republicans were fortunate majority reclaim the
in november, i sure you, my friends, all of this will change you you the senate majority under our leadership would break sharply from the practices of the harry reid air i in favor of approache freewheeling to problem solving. i would work to restore its traditional role as a place where good ideas are generated, debated, and voted on. we would revive the committee process, and by the way, when i say that, i mean democratic ideas also. they afraid of? they have got 55 votes. this is approach to problem solving. not the way the senate used to operate. i used to say that the price of being in the majority is that you're going to have to give the minority votes you do not like in order to get it across the floor. that is always the way it was. we would work longer days and weeks to reach consensus. let me touch on that for a minute. if a leader brings up a bill on monday and really wants to isish it, the fatigue factor
one or two questions, and the first hand i saw. >> thank you, senator mcconnell. you reply in your remarks that you would not consider doing away with the filibuster if you soe given the privilege, could you comment on that? >> yes, i think the super majority in the senate has been important to the country. it is, of course, more frustrating if you are in the majority but short of 60.
but if you think back over the history of the country, i think probably the biggest service the senate has provided to america is that it has not passed things. some of the proudest moments i can think of have been the things that i have stopped. rather than the other. so the ability to require the kind of consensus you need to have when you have to have 60 votes i think is important, be it ever so frustrating, when you set the agenda and still cannot get to 60. theou detach yourself from momentary problem you have with look at it in terms of what you think the senate has done for america. i think it is important not to change that fundamental role. now, harry reid did a lot of damage. i take you back to the nuclear option. what was the worst thing he did
was how he did it. they basically changed the rules of the senate by breaking the rules of the senate. what he did was called by the parliamentarian a violation of senate rules. he appealed the chair, the ruling of the chair, and overturned it with 51 votes. what they did substantively was to lower the threshold for the elections of the judiciary except for the supreme court to 51. thatore importantly than was how they did it. that precedent will always be there. bell, and to unring a i think it was very damaging to the institution, which leads to probably what you would like me to respond to, which i am not going to do today, which is what
would we do about that were we in the majority, and my advice to call links is that that is a discussion for december if we're fortunate enough to be given by the american people the opportunity to set the agenda in the senate. then we will address that question, but your question was about legislation, i assume, not about executive branch appointment. i do not favor turning the senate into that type of though wen, even would probably have some short-term advantage doing it. >> last question right here in the middle. leader, how do you see the amendment on the senate package playing out? the tax extenders package, sir? >> well, hopefully, it will be
open for amendment, which gets back to the gag rule that people frequently employ. extender package enjoys considerable support, not unanimous, but considerable , but what senate republicans are insisting on is that it be open for amendment, and you might be interested to know there were 40 democratic amendments filed, which would also not be considered on this bill, so i hope you are not bored by a discussion of process, but process is important. how you deal with something has a heck of a lot to do. so i deal with process every day. it is actually a lot simpler than it used to be. bills are brought up. the gag rule is imposed, and nobody gets any amendments, and then when reread well against that, they call it a filibuster.
said we engaged in 500 filibusters, and i think someone gave him four pinocchio's for that. i think it is pretty clear that these people will do and say anything in order to cling to power, and we are going to see this november whether the american people are sick and tired of this. the only thing to be achieved -- i always say this to my folks in kentucky and two other folks around the country. if you are frustrated by the last six years, the only thing that can be done in 2014 is to change the senate. nothing else is achievable in 2014. but to change the senate. and began to change america by changing the agenda in the senate, so that is where we are, but, look. i will end with this, because arthur is clearly getting nervous here. [laughter]
there was that movie from 1972 called "the candidate," and youngsome of you were too to have seen it, but then it has played again, and he looked at his manager and said, what do we do now? what do we do now? if we are given the responsibility to govern, what do we do now? to for that, i really want thank you for applying your creative minds to this challenge, and we look forward to being able to advance an agenda that we think is in the best interest of our country. thanks so much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> coming up tonight on c-span, q&a with john sopko special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. after that, house majority
leader with eric cantor and mike scott talking about domestic issues. speakers from the new populism conference hosted by the campaign for america's future. this week i'm off on q&a, our guest is john sopko. "q&a."s week on c-span >> john sopko, explain what you do. >> i am the special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, appoint