STIMULUS PACKAGE -- (Senate - February 06, 2008)
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, it has been 19 days since the President called for a stimulus plan, and economists called for swift action on it.
Republicans and Democrats in the House got the message, and they made some hard choices, showed restraint, and forged a bipartisan compromise literally within days.
Unfortunately, Senate Democrats didn't follow suit. They turned the idea into political gamesmanship, with the head of their campaign committee calling for ``tough votes.''
The American people are tired of political ``gotcha.'' We don't have time for it. The economy needs a boost right now. So I think we need to step back and ask ourselves what this exercise was all about in the first place.
My preference is to modify the House package to include rebate checks for seniors and disabled veterans and certainly eliminate the possibility that any illegal immigrants will get checks.
The White House and Treasury Secretary have indicated support for such a plan, so we can expect it will be signed into law.
Meanwhile, we have no such assurance for the alternative, larger proposal Senate Democrats apparently are still hashing out. We read this morning that ``negotiations are still ongoing'' among Democrats about what to include in the final package.
We started out united behind a proposal to help struggling taxpayers and stimulate the economy. Now some are insisting on a plan that might not even be signed into law.
However, there is still another choice. We can still pass a bill that is targeted and timely and which helps seniors and disabled veterans--and that is the amendment I will be offering later today with Senator Stevens.
The Reid amendment, on the other hand, might not even get signed.
So should the Reid amendment fail, we should immediately move to include seniors and disabled veterans, exclude those who are not legal citizens, and then quickly send this good, bipartisan, House-passed bill, as amended, back to the House, which I am sure will pass it quickly, and send it to the White House for signature. To do less would break faith with the American people who were told nearly 3 weeks ago they could expect relief quickly.
I urge my colleagues and the whole body to support it so we can deliver timely help to the American people.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.