The Jobs Crisis

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: Jan. 23, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. I wish to begin my remarks today by simply stating the obvious: The jobs crisis we are in continues for millions of Americans. Many millions more are worried about the future. And Republicans are quite eager to work with the Democratic majority here in the Senate to jump-start our economy and set our Nation on an entirely different course than the one we have been on the last few years.

Let's be clear: The reason our economy has gotten worse and our future more uncertain has nothing to do with what Republicans in Congress will not do at some point in the future and everything to do with what this President has already done.

Americans are looking for an entirely new direction. It is one that focuses on growing the economy, not growing our Nation's debt.

So we are happy to work with the Democratic majority in the Senate to achieve these goals. But based on some of the news stories I have read over the last few weeks, it does not appear they are all that interested. Based on what I have read, it appears Democratic leaders right here in the Senate have gotten together with the White House and mapped out a plan to actually guarantee gridlock for the rest of the year.

This is sort of a stunningly cynical strategy when you think about it. Millions of Americans cannot find work. The average length of unemployment is the longest it has ever been. Hundreds of thousands of Americans who had a job when this President took office have simply dropped out of the workforce. And yet the Washington Democrats' plan for this year is to sit on their hands and blame it on the other guy.

I certainly hope this was just a couple of overzealous staffers saying this. I hope our Democratic friends have not decided this is how they plan to spend the rest of this year. I hope they have not given up on governing in favor of campaigning and complaining because, to borrow a phrase, facing up to the economic crises we face cannot wait. Democrats in Congress cannot simply throw in the towel because they are no longer getting everything they want.

The fact is, Democrats got everything they wanted for 2 years--for 2 years after this President was elected. The American people decided to impose a little balance in the November 2010 election, and they are still waiting for this White House and Democratic leaders in Congress to work on a different approach. So it is about time we got started. President Obama's 3-year experiment with big government has made our economy worse and our future more uncertain. Americans want a government that is simpler, streamlined, and secure.

But we will not be able to achieve these things if Democrats refuse to even try, if they have decided to spend the next year on show votes and legislation that is designed for bus tours instead of bill signings.

The No. 1 issue facing our country is jobs, and the No. 1 goal of Republicans in 2012 is to continue to make it easier for American small business to create jobs. We will accomplish this by focusing on three things: fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform, and energy security. But we will surely fail if the Democratic majority in the Senate refuses to help.

So Republicans will continue to make the case for policies that will spark an economic revival and create new opportunities for struggling Americans, and we hope the Democrats will join us. Tomorrow, the President will come to the Capitol to tell us what he thinks about the state of our country and to outline his plans for the future. We welcome him. We look forward to his address. We stand ready to work with him as always on an agenda that will get our Nation moving again, not an agenda to divide, not a repackaging of the same ideas that have made our economy worse and our future more uncertain but a truly bipartisan agenda that gets us beyond past skirmishes and onto a different path entirely. There is much we can and should do together. Let us focus on that and put the rest aside.