U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks Friday regarding the rising unemployment rate and preventing a tax hike:
"We've heard a lot from our friends on the other side this week about the middle class.
"And that's because their policies have been so ineffective in helping the middle class.
"They're trying to distract the American people from their record -- it's that simple.
"This is what those in power often do when their policies don't work -- they search for a target.
"And the targets Democrats have decided on are Republicans and small business owners, our nation's leading job creators, which is of course ridiculous.
"All of this finger-pointing is doing nothing to create jobs. It's a total waste of time.
"This morning, we learned unemployment is now at 9.8 percent, even higher than last month.
"And Democrats are responding with a vote to slam job creators with a massive tax increase.
"Millions of out-of-work Americans don't want show-votes or finger-pointing contests.
"They want jobs.
"Americans don't want to see meaningless theatrics in Congress.
"They want us to do something about the economy -- and the single best thing we can do is to tell small businesses across the country they're not going to get a tax hike next month.
"These are the folks that create the jobs that every one of us claims is our first priority.
"Why in the world would we do something that makes them less likely to create those jobs?
"Our friends on the other side know all this just as well as Republicans do.
"But for some reason their base is demanding that they raise taxes on small business owners.
"It's the perfect way to punctuate their two-year experiment in anti-business, big-government policies that have only led to more joblessness, more debt, and more uncertainty.
"Over the past several weeks, we've seen a growing number of Democrats begin to publicly disagree with their own leadership on the wisdom of scapegoat politics in a time of recession.
"We saw this in a vivid way yesterday, when so many Democrats in the House defected from their leadership on the show-vote Speaker Pelosi held over there.
"And we've seen it here in the Senate, where a number of Democrats have told their constituents that, no, of course they won't raise taxes in the middle of a recession.
"They know as well as Republicans do that raising taxes -- on anybody -- is counterproductive in a fragile economy like ours. And they've said so.
"One of our Democrat colleagues even went on Good Morning America and said he would extend the current rates `for everyone.'
"So we fully expect these Democrats to keep their word and vote against proposals that do anything less.
"These votes are a purely political exercise at a time when Americans are looking for action.
"And here's all the proof you need.
"The author of the plan to raise taxes on anybody who earns more than a million dollars a year has openly admitted that the only rationale for that figure is that it sounds better -- that it's the best way to send a message that Republicans are bad.
"How about forgetting who looks good and who looks bad and start thinking of what's good and what's bad for working Americans?
"These votes are an affront to millions of people struggling to find work.
"What these votes say is that Democrats care more about doing harm to their political adversaries than doing good for middle class Americans struggling to find a job.
"You don't help the middle class by punishing job creators -- you hurt them.
"You make it harder for them to find jobs. You make it harder to revive the economy.
"We've now had more consecutive months of 9 percent unemployment than at any time since the Great Depression. And Democrats would rather play games than do something about it.
"It should go without saying that Americans have had enough of this.
"It's time to get serious.
"It's time to put the needs of middle class Americans above the needs of the liberal base that's demanding a show here in Congress.
"And that's all that this is -- a show.
"The left-wing might find it all very entertaining, but most Americans don't find it amusing at all.
"They don't want games -- they want action.
"It's long past time we took them seriously."