Transcript: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s floor speech on the bipartisan deal to avert default & re-open the government – Oct. 16, 2013

Partial transcript of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Kentucky) floor speech on the bipartisan deal to avert default and re-open the government on Oct. 16, 2013:

Madam President, this has been a long, challenging few weeks for Congress and for the country. It’s my hope that today we can put some of those most urgent issues behind us.

After yesterday’s events, the Majority Leader and I began a series of conversations about a way to get the government re-open and to prevent default. I’m confident we’ll be able to do both those things later today.

Crucially, I’m also confident that we’ll be able to announce that we’re protecting the government spending reductions that both parties agreed to under the Budget Control Act and that the President signed into law. That’s been a top priority for me and for my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle throughout this debate, and it’s been worth the effort.

Some have suggested that we break that promise as part of this agreement. Some have said Washington needs to spend more, that we need to raise taxes, that we need to just tax our way to prosperity and balance.

But what the BCA showed is that Washington actually can cut spending, and because of this law, that’s just what we’ve done. For the first time since the Korean War – the first time since the Korean War – government spending has declined for 2 years in a row – the first time in 50 years. And we’re not going back on this agreement.

There’s a lot more we need to do to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. Hopefully, once we’ve gotten past the drama of the moment, we can get to work on it.

But for now, let’s not understate the importance of the Budget Control Act or the importance of the fight to preserve it.

This legislation is the largest spending reduction bill of the last quarter century and the largest deficit reduction bill since 1981 that didn’t include a tax hike. Preserving this law is critically important to the future of our country.

Throughout this debate, the public has rightly focused on Obamacare for good reason. This law is ravaging our economy, killing jobs, driving up premiums and driving people off the health care plans they have and like in droves. Its disastrous roll-out is a sign of even worse things to come. And the refusal to delay it reflects the kind of stubborn ideological obsession that will do untold damage to our country. And Republicans remain determined to repeal this terrible law.

But for today – for today – the relief we hope for is to re-open the government, avoid default, and protect the historic cuts we’ve achieved under the Budget Control Act. This is far less than many of us have hoped for, frankly, but it is far better than what some have sought.

Now it’s time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals.

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