WASHINGTON - Led by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, several Republican Senators worked on the Senate floor this morning to break the legislative gridlock that has gripped Congress in recent weeks by seeking to call up and pass several critical pieces of legislation. The bills Sen. Cornyn and others tried to pass include: the emergency troop funding bill, the Military Construction and Veterans appropriations bill, tax relief for wounded warriors and $3 billion in emergency border security funding. All of those efforts were objected to and blocked by the majority party.
In remarks made on the Senate floor, Sen. Cornyn expressed his continued disappointment with the failure of Congress to pass these critical bills, stating, "The only way that you can govern in the United States Congress is by building a governing coalition -- Democrats working with Republicans to try to solve the nation's problems. When one side or the other tries to jam their agenda down the throats of the other side, it doesn't work. And exhibit 'a' is the dismal record of this broken Congress during the last year.
"The Senate has spent 11 months holding political Iraq votes that have had no chance of becoming law. We've had 63 such votes thus far this session. In the meantime, while the majority has been fiddling, the business of the American people has not been done. I think about the issues besides our national security issues that cry out for solutions -- things like border security and immigration reform. Couldn't we have used some of this time more constructively to solve what I think is one of the biggest domestic issues confronting our country today? How about energy policy? We have an energy bill that raises taxes on domestic producers and encourages our dependence on foreign oil when we could have worked together to pass an energy policy that would have prepared us for the future. And we haven't done that. Health care, which is a tremendous concern to my constituents in Texas and elsewhere -- we could have acted to deal with the health care access cost and quality crisis in this country, but we haven't done that.
"We've also had objections from the majority -- from our Democratic friends -- to legislation that's vitally important to our veterans and to our active-duty military. This is a personal issue...one out of ten active-duty military members that wear the uniform of the United States call Texas home, and we have guard and reservists who are also serving valiantly in Iraq and elsewhere. The bill that's been blocked by the majority would provide $20 billion in military construction funds, which is important for our troops and quality of life for our military families. And it's important to my state -- Texas -- because of our support for the troops and military families. It contains almost $90 billion for our veterans, which includes their health care, upgrading facilities, money to hire additional claims processors so veterans don't have to wait so long to get the benefits to which they are entitled. There are about 1.7 million veterans in Texas, and they need these funds, and they shouldn't be held hostage to the political games here in Washington with regard to an omnibus appropriations bill."