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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I want to make just a few comments about the pipeline-payroll package that the majority leader and I have offered on which we will be voting shortly. It is not the bill I would have written. It falls short in several respects, in not having both certainty--the certainty issue is awfully important to the private sector if we are going to come out of this economic slowdown. But as the majority leader has indicated, our side approached this debate conscious of something Democrats in Washington tend to forget these days; that is, in order to achieve something around here, we have to compromise.
As the majority leader indicated, that is, in fact, what we have done. We have crafted a bill not designed to fail but designed to pass. The main thing Republicans were fighting for and got was the Keystone XL Pipeline provision authored by Senator Lugar and also Senator Hoeven, and Senator Johanns was particularly instrumental in working out the Nebraska aspects of this to the satisfaction of his Governor and his State legislature.
So why were Republicans fighting for the pipeline? We knew the whole reason we were even talking about temporary tax relief and extending unemployment benefits is because 3 years into this administration the private sector is still gasping, literally gasping for air. So we said let's also do something that would help create private sector jobs. Let's start to change the equation and do something that will actually get at the heart of the problem.
Keystone was an obvious choice. Everybody in Washington says they want more American jobs right now. Well, here is the single largest shovel-ready project in America. It is literally ready to go awaiting the permission of the President of the United States.
Some of the news outlets are calling this pipeline controversial. I have no idea why it could be called controversial. The labor unions like it, many Democrats want it, it strengthens our national security by decreasing the amount of oil we get from unfriendly countries, and it would not cost the taxpayers a dime--not a dime. It is a private sector project ready to go.
All we are doing is saying the President has 60 days to decide whether the project is in the national interest--60 days for the President to make a decision one way or the other. Since most of us have not heard a good reason from the White House as to why they would block it, I am very hopeful the President, in the course of this 60 days, will do the right thing for the country and get this crucial project underway.
The only thing standing between thousands of American workers and the good jobs this project will provide is a Presidential decision. As I said, I am hopeful and optimistic the President will make the right decision.
I thank my friend, the majority leader, for the opportunity to work together with him on something that could actually pass the Senate and be signed by the President.
I yield the floor.
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