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Public Statements

Gulf Coast, New York City, Financial Regulation

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. MCCONNELL. Mr. President, we are deeply concerned about what is going on in gulf coast right now as this massive oil slick spreads even further and makes its way toward the coast. The entire Nation is bracing itself for the full impact of this disaster, which, as we all know, could get far worse.

Our focus at the moment is on stopping the leak and mitigating the damage as quickly as possible, so we will be paying close attention to the administration and to local officials on the ground to assist them in those efforts as the oil comes ashore. We are all hoping that the coordinated efforts of local, State, and Federal officials, along with BP workers, will prevent a worst-case scenario.

No one is ignorant of the impact this spill has already had and could potentially have on the environment, the economy of the gulf, or on the thousands and thousands of individuals and families whose lives and livelihoods are rooted, in some cases for generations, in the fish and wildlife that live in these coastal waters. It is heartbreaking to think of those who live in this region enduring yet another tragedy, but we are inspired by their resilience and by the tireless efforts of those engaged in the repair and recovery efforts.

Tragedies like this are a reminder of the dangers so many Americans endure every day in the work of keeping America moving, and of the fragility of the environment. Our prayers remain with the families of those who were lost in the initial explosion. We will also be keeping the repair and recovery workers in our thoughts as we continue to monitor the situation. Once the flow has been stopped and help is on the way, there will be a full investigation into what went wrong and what can be done to prevent anything like this from ever happening again.

Meanwhile, a potential tragedy appears to have been averted over the weekend thanks to the vigilance of ordinary citizens and the quick response of law enforcement officials in New York City. We were all alarmed to learn of the attempted car bombing in Times Square but relieved that it failed to go off.

All of this was a vivid reminder of the continual threats to our security and of the need to remain vigilant and to never drop our guard. New Yorkers responded to this attempted attack just as we would expect them to. Within hours, Times Square was again full of tourists, and on Broadway every show went ahead as scheduled on Sunday. So we applaud the people of New York and the local and Federal law enforcement officials who snapped into gear to disarm the car bomb and who continue to investigate this situation.

Here in the Senate, debate continues on the financial regulatory bill. I will just note as we continue this debate that a consensus seems to be emerging among the experts and the public about two thing. First, it would be deeply irresponsible to rush a piece of legislation this far-reaching without fully understanding its potential impact on ordinary Americans who had nothing to do with the financial crisis.

Second, any bill that comes out of the Senate must actually address the core problems that led to the crisis. This should be obvious, but the fact is, a lot of people are increasingly concerned that this bill could actually miss the mark completely, not just as a result of what it does, but as a result of what it fails to do.

On example is Federal housing policy, as embodied by the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In my view, it is simply not acceptable for some on the other side to suggest that we have to rush this particular bill through Congress, but that it is OK to wait another year to address the GSEs, which we all know played a central role in the financial crisis.

So Republicans will work to make sure this bill actually addresses the problems at hand, and that in an effort to rein in Wall Street, this bill doesn't actually end up hurting those who had nothing to do with this crisis.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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