Videos & Speeches

Mr. President, I come here tonight one more time. I am a very short term Member of the United States Senate--only about 3 months. Every time I have spoken on the Senate floor, I have talked about the importance of reining in spending, the crippling nature of our national debt and the belief that if we don't resolve these issues, the future of our country is at stake. It is really one of the primary motivations I have for serving in this Congress, to see that we turn this country around for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

 I think Kansans would say it is time for all Members of Congress to come together and to fund the government. A shutdown demonstrates once again how we lack the ability or the desire to just use some common sense and to reach a common goal. A primary function of Congress is to see that we appropriate the necessary funds to provide for government.

Today, it seems to me we have come to the point at which this issue needs to be rapidly resolved. We are down to just a few billion dollars--and certainly a billion dollars is a lot of money, it’s a lot of money to Kansans and it’s a lot of money to me, but we need to resolve this issue so we can move on to the more dramatic and important issue we face as Members of the Senate, that we face as American citizens--that being next year's budget and the future of additional spending down the road.

Tonight, in addition to saying let's resolve this issue, let's continue to fund the government, let's not pursue the strategy of a shutdown, I am here to express my genuine concern about the tactics that seem to be ongoing today, in which we, as the Senator from Alabama suggests, are holding hostage our service men and women and their pay.

We have had a lot of discussion in Washington, DC, about who is an essential government employee. I would tell you there could be no questioning the fact that our service men and women are essential government employees, and they will be working regardless of the consequences, regardless of the decisions that are made here about the so-called shutdown.

And from my view, it makes absolutely no sense--in fact, it is immoral--to ask our service men and women to serve in harm's way and have to worry about whether or not the paycheck that feeds their families--and, in fact, most of them live month to month, live paycheck to paycheck. The idea that while they are serving and sacrificing away from family, they would have the additional concern about whether the paycheck is going to arrive and be deposited in their account seems to me to be something beyond the pale, something that we could never expect from a Congress of the United States of America.

So I am here one more time to say, yes, absolutely; let's get spending under control. The idea that we cannot go back to 2008 spending levels plus inflation--we can do that. No one should believe that we cannot accomplish that goal, and no one should be using the service men and wome, their paycheck and their service to our country as hostage or the idea of whether this government is shut down. Resolve this issue now and make certain we resolve it in a way that no member of our Armed Services, or their family, is harmed by the decisions that we make.

This is an important decision. It is about the future of our country, but the immediate concern is whether our service men and women understand that we value their service and that we will take every step to make certain that they are not harmed by political inaction--the inability of us in Washington, DC, to resolve the issue of the continuing resolution.