BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, sometime today the majority leader will file cloture on the motion to proceed to the Defense authorization bill, setting up a vote for next week on this important legislation. Under ordinary circumstances, this would be a straightforward, noncontroversial vote that could unite the two parties on a matter related to our common defense. But not this year.
This year, Democrats would rather use this bill to manufacture controversy. Worse still, in their determination to meet their own campaign promises ahead of the upcoming election, Democrats have decided to put their own political interests ahead of the collective judgment of our military service chiefs who are still in the midst of a study about whether don't ask, don't tell can be repealed without hurting combat readiness. But this should not surprise anyone. For nearly 2 years now, Democrats have done their own thing. Americans have been asking Democrats for nearly 2 years to focus on the economy and jobs, and what they have gotten instead is one costly government-driven job after another that kills jobs and hurts the economy.
When it comes to matters of national defense, Democrats in Washington have established a clear pattern of making political decisions first and then analyzing the problem later. Whether it was the decision to close Gitmo before figuring out what to do with the terrorists who were housed there, to deny our intelligence community the ability to interrogate terrorists, an artificial timeline for withdrawal in Afghanistan or this latest decision to use a Defense authorization bill to move ahead with repeal of don't ask, don't tell before hearing back from the service chiefs, Democrats have shot first and asked questions later. In other words, they put their own ideological goals ahead of everything else.
I remind my colleagues we are fighting two wars and that our volunteer force doesn't ask for much. They ask that they be well trained, well equipped, that their families be cared for, and that we meet their selfless sacrifice with dignity and respect. This bill should be an easy one. We should be united and give our troops a responsible defense policy they need and then the Defense appropriations bill they need--without strings, without games, and save the politics for the campaign trail.
Another bill the Democrats have made needlessly political is the small business bill which we will also be voting on later today. Senator Hatch has offered an amendment that would fully extend the R&D tax credit, an amendment the Democrats blocked just before the August recess but which the President now appears to support. We will also have a chance to extend the biodiesel tax credit through the Grassley amendment. This amendment is essential to keeping producers competitive, but because of the majority's partisan tactics this credit has expired.
It is my hope our friends on the other side will now join the President and the Republicans in supporting these two important pieces of job-creating legislation. Unfortunately, the Democrats whole game plan over the last year and a half and through today is to tick as many items as possible off the liberal wish list while they still have a chance.
The American people think our friends on the other side should have spent a little more time worrying about 10 percent unemployment rather than legislative sideshows. If Senate Democrats truly want to do something for the private sector jobs in this country, they should support the bipartisan R&D tax credit of Senator Hatch and the biodiesel tax credit of Senator Grassley and then work with Republicans after that on preventing the looming $1 trillion tax hike Democratic leaders have so far ignored.
It is time our friends on the other side got serious about jobs and the economy. It is time they put the liberal wish list on the shelf and focused on the priorities of the American people.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT