Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) returned to the Senate floor Monday for the first time since suffering a concussion on March 8, declaring: “It’s good to be back.”
McConnell, who is 81, thanked his Senate colleagues “for their warm wishes” shared over the past few weeks and joked about his injury not being worse after he tripped and fell at a private dinner at the Waldorf Astoria.
“This wasn’t the first time that being hardheaded has served me very well. We’re truly lucky and blessed that we get to serve in this remarkable institution, represent our home states and serve our country,” he said. “Needless to say, I’m very happy to be back.”
McConnell was rushed to the hospital after the fall and was discharged to an in-patient rehabilitation facility on March 13. Doctors sent him home on March 25.
Speaking on the floor Monday, McConnell ticked through what he called the “important business for Congress to tackle,” such as securing the U.S.-Mexico border, fighting crime, curbing inflation and investing in “America’s strength and security.”
The GOP leader scolded President Biden for refusing to negotiate with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) over raising the debt limit, which McCarthy discussed at a speech before the New York Stock Exchange earlier in the day.
“The president’s economic advisors say the deadline for a solution is not far off, but his political advisors apparently think the White House position should be — listen to this — no talks and no reforms,” he said.
McConnell argued “this extreme position is not even holding up in their own party,” pointing to an op-ed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wrote in The Washington Post urging leaders in Washington to stop playing the blame game and do something to cut the federal deficit.
He pointed to reports that some House Democrats are already talking about negotiations and compromise on raising the debt ceiling and that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has argued in past years that the debt ceiling provides “ample opportunity for bipartisanship, not for one party jamming its choices down the throats of the other.”
“So President Biden does not get to stick his fingers in his ears and refuse to listen, talk or negotiate. And the American people know that. The White House needs to stop wasting time and start negotiating with the Speaker of the House,” he said in conclusion before walking off the floor.