From the Congressional Record Online through GPO
PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I think we were all really pleased last
night to hear the President's unifying message. It was refreshing for
everyone after such a difficult election season. It was great to see
even my friend the Democratic leader occasionally applauding the
President last night. It is a reminder that we are all in this
Yesterday, I laid out my hopes for his address to Congress. I said
that the middle class is ready for a new direction after 8 years of
disappointments. I said that we all knew what needed to get done, too--
issues like simplifying taxes to create more jobs, reforming
regulations to get the economy moving, and repealing and replacing
ObamaCare to bring relief to the middle class. It was great to hear the
President touch on each of those issues last night.
It was also great to hear him talk about his outstanding nominee to
the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch--a judge who has earned
widespread acclaim and who will be a worthy successor to Justice Scalia
on the High Court.
Last night President Trump talked about a new spirit of optimism in
our country. He talked about repositioning us for success, both at home
and in a dangerous world. He talked about growing opportunity, better
jobs, and a thriving middle class. Then, he actually put forward
policies that could get us there. What a change from the last 8 years.
He also outlined some of the actions he has already taken to move
these priorities forward. For instance, he took action yesterday to
send the so-called waters of the United States rule back to the drawing
board. He demonstrated that there are realistic ways to protect our
Nation's waterways without excessive and duplicative regulations that
infringe on the property rights of individuals.
Let me again commend him for protecting the middle class from yet
another regulation based more on ideology than fact. It is just the
type of thing Americans are so tired of--leftwing regulations spun as
one thing, but that really do another; left-leaning laws that purport
to help the middle class, but that actually hurt middle-class families.
A great example of that is ObamaCare. Americans were promised that
costs would go down, but, of course, they went up. Americans were
promised more choice, but they got less. Americans were promised that
they could keep their plans, but that was a broken promise as well.
No wonder Americans were so tired of what they have seen over the
last 8 years. They are ready for something entirely new. They are ready
to start believing in the future again. The President made clear last
night that he is ready to work with Congress on policies that can
actually move us forward. He will find many partners in Congress
excited to get those things accomplished.
We share his commitment on other issues he outlined too. We agree
that our children deserve better than failing schools. We agree that
our veterans deserve better than failing bureaucracy. We agree that our
brothers and mothers and friends and neighbors deserve better than the
scourge of heroin and prescription opioid abuse.
In an era of divided government, Congress took what action we could
on those issues. It was often significant action, and we are all proud
of it. But we now have a chance to achieve even more. So, of course, we
are excited about the opportunity to improve the lives of the men and
women who sent us here. That is why we all signed up for this job in
the first place.
I am not just talking about Republicans. I know our Democratic
friends have different ideas than us on many of these things. I know
the far left is pressuring them to burn the place down because it can't
accept the results of last year's election. But everyone knows that
won't get us anywhere at all.
Let's remember that we have a historic opportunity before us. We can
keep refighting the last election over and over and over, or we can
heed the President's message of unity last night. We can come together
to accomplish big things. We can pull down the barriers of the past. We
can uphold, in the words of the Democratic leader himself, our “moral
obligation” to “avoid gridlock and get the country to work again.”
Now, I know he said that just before the election. I know he hoped
the election would turn out differently. But we each have a duty to
accept the results. We each have a duty to bring the country together
and to move it forward. That is now the challenge before our Democratic
I ask them to meet the moment--to meet the moment. I hope they will
because the American people are counting on us all. They are ready for
a new start. We are determined to work hard on their behalf. As the
President himself said last night, so is he.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order
for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.