Mr. McCONNELL. The small business bill we are now considering has an interesting history, and given the President's recent statements on the bill, it is worth recounting that history.
Remember, we got on this bill in June. But then Democrats took us off of it to move to financial regulation. Then last week, they took us off of it again to move to the DISCLOSE Act.
So if the President wants to criticize somebody about slowing this bill down, he simply has the wrong party. He needs to direct his criticism at Democrats, not Republicans.
The fact is Democrats had other priorities. They thought it was more important to impose job-killing regulations on the financial industry and give even more authority to the kinds of regulators who missed the last financial crisis.
They also thought it was more important to shut up their critics ahead of the fall elections by pushing a bill that amounted to an all-out assault on free speech.
These are the things Democrats have been doing instead of the small business bill. Yet the President continues to claim that somehow Republicans are the problem. Well, it is obvious what they are doing: They want to deflect attention away from the fact that trillions of dollars in government spending and debt has failed.
Spending, debt, regulations, more government--none of it has worked. Now they want to raise taxes on the very small businesses that are trying so desperately to create jobs.
It is time to change course and to do something that will create lasting private sector jobs and get us moving in the right direction.
Democrats can try to deflect attention away from their failed policies all they want, but the consequences of their actions are obvious to the American people.
It is time to put aside the liberal wish list and allow America's small business men and women to do something that has a chance of reviving this economy. Spending, debt, and tax hikes are the last things we need.
Republicans have offered a number of ideas to improve the small business bill and, until now, those amendments have been obstructed by the other side and, along with them, the bill itself.
I am encouraged to see that the majority has changed its mind and now seems committed to staying on this bill, allowing votes on Republican better ideas, and working with us on something other than raising taxes, growing the debt, or burying job creators in a sea of new regulation.
Mr. President, it is perfectly obvious that Democrats are doing their best to keep us from passing a serious energy bill before the August recess.
Later today, we expect the majority leader to offer the Democratic alternative to the oilspill response that the Republicans proposed last week.
This is not a serious exercise. All indications are that they don't intend to have a real debate about one of the most important issues we face. Anybody who has been here for any period of time knows that energy bills take at least a couple of weeks. So it doesn't appear there is either the time or the willingness on the other side to debate this critical issue.
We would have liked to have had a debate on ideas we have already offered. Our energy bill would give the President the ability to raise the liability caps on economic damages done by companies such as BP, without driving small independent oil producers out of business.
It would lift the administration's job-killing moratorium on offshore drilling as soon as new safety standards are met--a moratorium that one senior Gulf State Democrat says could cost more jobs than the oilspill itself. How can you have a serious energy debate without addressing a problem that a leading Gulf State Democrat said is costing more jobs than the oilspill itself?
Our bill has a true bipartisan commission--with subpoena power--to investigate the oilspill, rather than the President's antidrilling commission.
Importantly, it also takes good ideas from Democrats, including Senator Bingaman's idea for much needed reform at MMS. Surely, we can all agree that this administration's oversight at MMS is in need of major reform.
Our bill includes revenue sharing for coastal States that allow offshore drilling to help them prepare for and deal with disasters such as the one we have right now in the gulf.
We have our own ideas, we have some of their ideas, and our bill doesn't kill jobs; it doesn't put a moratorium on production.
We are not interested in yet another debate about a Democratic bill in which the prerequisite is killing more jobs.
Our bill would address this crisis at hand. Their bill would use the crisis to stifle business and kill jobs in a region that is in desperate need of jobs.
It was my hope we could have a real debate about energy. Clearly, the majority--at least so far--isn't interested in that debate.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.