WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) delivered floor remarks addressing the active shooter situation in Collierville.
To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.
You can read the transcript below or in the Congressional Record.
Madam President, I am looking around this Chamber, and I am talking to my colleagues, and it is so apparent; we should not be here right now. Our business should be done. We have had all year.
We should have wished one another well last week, and then we should have gotten ourselves home to our families, to our church families, to our neighbors and friends. And right now, I should be in Tennessee wishing Tennesseans well for this Christmas season.
But with the way things are going, I am beginning to believe that Joe Biden and the Democrats do not wish the American people well because the fact is, everything they have done this year, in some way, shape, or form, has made life harder for Americans and for Tennesseans, and it has taken away just a little bit more of their freedom.
I was talking with a Tennessean last night, and they were making this point to me about the gains that they had seen during Republican control of the House and the Senate and the Trump administration and being able to keep more of their money in their pocket. This was a veteran who talked about our standing in the world. Our allies knew they could trust us. Our enemies, indeed, feared us. All of that is gone. Life is harder; life is more uncertain; it is less predictable; inflation is through the roof.
As Tennesseans have turned on the news this week, they have heard an avalanche of news reports holding one or two Members of this body responsible for ``obstructing the democratic process''--something that sounds pretty scary when it is taken out of context, doesn't it?
In my opinion, I consider it media malpractice to blame one or two Members of this Chamber for a year's worth of bad-faith delays because Members have asked for a vote on certain national security issues, and the Senate should have weighed in on these issues long ago. The Senate has had the time. The leadership has had the time. So, no, that narrative cannot stand.
All these delays and all this strife is the natural conclusion of the Democrats' single-minded obsession with their reckless tax-and-spending spree.
My colleagues on the left have, indeed, squandered months trying to strong-arm their moderate colleagues into rubberstamping what I call their ``Build Back Broke'' agenda. It is so toxic that even economists who many times are friendly with the White House have turned their backs on the proposal. Even they deem it socialist in nature.
This month, we have reaped the consequences of their obsession in the form of 6.8 percent inflation. It is already at a 40-year high. It is still ticking up. Gas prices are increasing. Food is costing more. Warehouses are being cleared out. One hundred and seventy cargo ships are still off the coast of California, 150 miles out.
But yet, until a few hours ago, really, the Democrats were pushing for final passage on a spending bill that would make things even worse--would make it worse. It is not $1.75 trillion; it is $5 trillion. It is not paid for. It is not, ``Oh, it doesn't cost a dime''; it costs $3 trillion. That is the conservative estimate.
If you look back through the record, you will find almost no help for our supply chains that I mentioned that are all backed up, and you will find at least one terrible mistake that made the bad situation worse.
Joe Biden's vaccine mandates started inflicting damage on the economy and our supply chains well before the courts started throwing up their roadblocks, and thank goodness the courts are backing where the American people are on this mandate issue.
In Tennessee, these foolish mandates could cost businesses more than $70 million and force 37 percent of our labor force out of work.
My Democratic colleagues, however, have wasted hours here on the Senate floor defending what is truly a blatant power grab. Does it make the lives of Tennesseans and Americans better? Absolutely not. It makes them worse.
They have somehow neglected to acknowledge that these mandates don't reach as far as our southern border. Isn't it amazing? In fact, most of the policies they are so eager to force on the American people that are making their lives worse evaporate once you hit the border, which is even more chaotic now than it was on day 1 of the Biden administration.
If you look back on the past year, you will find little in the way of assistance for our Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement officers. Oh, no, can't do that. Oh, no, let's reinvent the police. Let's reinvent law enforcement. Oh, no, we can't put more assets on the southern border to defend our sovereignty. It makes you believe that the Democratic Party is pleased with the chaos that they are seeing in border communities all across that southern border.
What my friends across the aisle have done is basically to hand power, control, and billions of dollars to those cartels. And they have opened up their arms, and they have welcomed now right at 2 million people to illegally enter this country. No vaccine mandates apply to them. Oh, no, sir, not at all--preference. Let's go ahead. They can go through a separate TSA line when they get on a plane with a taxpayer- funded plane ticket. And all the time, the lives of Americans under this administration, they are not as well off as they were a year ago. Their life is not as comfortable as it was a year ago.
Now, if security was even an inkling of a priority with my colleagues, if security had any importance at all, securing this Nation--you know, it is kind of one of the first things we are supposed to do, provide for the common defense. But this week, we finally got around to passing the NDAA. How about that? Finally got it done.
Now, we wouldn't have had to wait until this week to take the threat of what I call the ``axis of evil'' seriously--the threats coming from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea. I can assure you, they are watching us very closely, and they are keeping up with what we are doing to protect this Nation.
Why are they so aggressive right now? They are looking at Joe Biden, and they are saying, He is weak, he is not going to do anything to push back on us. You know, he talked about a few economic sanctions with Russia, but Putin is not worried about that.
How about sanctioning, stopping trade, sanctioning so many other areas, stopping the Nord Stream 2--how about that--to show that we are going to deal with them as they, an adversary of ours, deserve to be dealt with?
We don't do any of that. Oh, no, let's not make Xi Jinping mad. Let's not do anything like that. Let's not call him into account. Let's let him keep carrying out that genocide on the Uighurs. Oh, and you know, let's do this; let's just have a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics. But go ahead and let our corporations, let our TV networks and their cameras broadcast to the world the glory of Beijing and Xi Jinping.
Inconsistencies and weakness do not serve us well. They do not. And instead of looking at things that should be a priority, my colleagues across the aisle have kept their focus on trying to pass a gigantic spending bill that the American people do not want and programs they say we don't need.
But the Democrats are saying that we are going to pass it by whatever means necessary--whatever means necessary. We are going to get this done. Thank goodness, we are leaving here, and it is not done.
Now, woven into this exercise in partisan brinksmanship was an ongoing effort to punch holes in the very institutions that keep our government from collapsing into chaos. We have watched our Democratic colleagues fail to gain traction with policies that people haven't asked for and, as I said, don't want. But instead of setting their power grabs and wish list aside, the Democrats tried to find ways to crash through constitutional and institutional backstops and force their will on the American people.
You hear it all the time: Time is running out. We are going to lose the House; we are going to lose the Senate so we have got to do this. We have got to transform the country.
Well, they have gone round after round with the Supreme Court and the Federal court packers, the anti-filibuster crowd, and those who wish to attack the integrity of the ballot box. They don't want to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat; they are trying to make it easier to cheat and harder to vote. And, repeatedly, they continue to try to look for somebody who blame. It has got to be somebody else's fault.
Just yesterday, we saw a wave of righteous indignation over the Senate Parliamentarian's refusal to allow the Democrats to shove amnesty for illegal immigrants into a budget bill. That is right.
They should not have been surprised by the ruling. They tried it once, twice, three times, and every time, they should have known how this was going to end. You can't do that.
It is almost as if all this has nothing to do with the policies printed on the thousands upon thousands of pages the Democrats are hoping nobody reads--because they feel like they have got a deadline, they have got to do this, time is running out. By whatever means necessary, let's just get it done.
Well, there is no serious person--none--who could look at this past year and conclude that Joe Biden and his allies in Congress have been acting in good faith, doing things the people want to see done, because their agenda has been the opposite of that.
That is why so many elected representatives in the House and the Senate are saying: Hey, I am going home, and I am talking to people. We are getting calls in our office. We are getting emails. People are speaking up. They don't like this. The more they know about what we are doing, the less they like it.
There is no serious person who could look at these underhanded attacks on our institution and conclude that the Democrats believe more in the common cause of freedom than they do in passing their ``Build Back Broke'' agenda. They have got to have it. They have just got to have it.
And no serious person could look at the past year and dispute that it is Joe Biden and the Democrats who were the architects of their own destructive agenda. And the reason we are all still here at the eleventh hour waiting on the majority is because they have put their power before the people.