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Public Statements

STEM Jobs Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PAUL. I compliment the Senator from Texas for being a leader in immigration reform. There are many of us in the Republican Party who wish to have immigration reform. I do wish it be noted for the Record today that we can take a small step forward toward immigration reform today. This bill that would allow Ph.D.s, master's, successful graduates to come into this country with a green card could be passed today. This bill is at the desk and we will ask consent from the majority party today to pass this bill.

I will also note the President and the Members of the majority party will object. The President has said he will not pass this unless he can get everything he wants. When I go home or when I talk to folks with the media, they say: Why can't you guys get along? Why can't you do anything in Washington? Why is this system so horribly broken?

This is precisely why. We agree on this bill. I think the other side will stand and say they like the concept, but they do not want to do it yet. They want to wait until we agree on everything. Guess what. We are never going to agree on everything so we are never going to get immigration reform if we cannot start agreeing to some things and moving the ball forward.

This is the same on tax reform. This is the same on entitlement reform. We lurch from deadline to deadline. There will be a deadline, the so-called fiscal cliff coming up, and the President has announced that we do not have enough time to do entitlement reform. We don't have enough time to do tax reform. We don't have enough time to do immigration reform.

When are we going to start? When is there going to be a committee hearing designated toward entitlement reform? I have been here 2 years. There is no such committee. When will there be hearings on immigration reform? There will not be time. Deadlines will pass.

But not break things up into smaller pieces? Why have to have some enormous fiscal cliff or whatever that everybody has to agree to a thousand moving parts? We are of different persuasions, of different parties, of different beliefs. We are never going to agree on a thousand things. Why don't we start passing some things we can agree to? This is a small step forward. We can pass this bill today.

Does the Senator have an explanation that can help me understand why we have to have empty partisanship, why we cannot move forward to pass some small things for immigration reform?

Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I would say in response to the Senator from Kentucky that I have been in the Senate for some time now. I have been engaged in the immigration debates for a long time. I think one of the biggest challenges is we have tried to deal with this in a comprehensive way that has so many moving parts it is almost impossible to find a majority in the Senate, much less the House, in order to support all the various components of it. That is one of the things I like about this bill. It is narrow, it deals with a consensus reform--commonsense reform--and it avoids a lot of the controversy associated with other parts of the immigration subject. I do believe we owe it to the American people not to stop here, but it is a good place to start. Once we pass this legislation and people see that we have acted responsibly and in America's best interests, then we can regain their confidence that we can deal with other broken parts of the immigration system.

Mr. PAUL. I think another important point to make about this is we truly have different philosophical differences with people on the other side. But what people at home ask me is when you agree with the other side, when the other side says we want this part of immigration reform, why can't we do it? That to me is empty partisanship. Are we afraid to give Republicans credit for introducing immigration reform in the Republican-controlled House? Are we afraid it might be perceived as a Republican idea? That to me is empty partisanship. I routinely vote with the other side on some issues that some on this side object to because I believe in the issue. This is an issue where we all should be able to agree on immigration reform. Yet the other side will object to moving the ball forward on immigration reform. That I don't understand and that I see as empty partisanship, and that is the dysfunction of this body when we agree on something we still cannot pass it.

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