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Public Statements

Tax Reform

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, next week marks the third anniversary of ObamaCare, and I will remind you that leading up to its passage in March 2010, Republicans warned endlessly that the bill would cost too much and wouldn't work the way the President and other Washington Democrats said it would. Then-Speaker Pelosi famously said we needed to pass the bill to learn what was in it. Well, nearly 3 years and thousands of pages of regulations later, we have learned a lot about ObamaCare. It looks like our worst fears are coming true.

Right down the hall, President Obama promised if Congress would only pass the kind of health care takeover he was after, it would slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and for our government. Today, the facts tell a very different story.

According to Congress's own nonpartisan budget experts, ObamaCare will increase Federal health spending and subsidies by nearly $600 billion. That is only projected to get worse over time.

Just a few weeks ago, these same nonpartisan experts told us spending is set to ``grow rapidly when provisions of the Affordable Care Act are fully implemented by mid decade.'' Their words, not mine.

So when the President tries to convince Americans that Washington doesn't have a spending problem but a health spending problem, what he is not saying is his own health care law is actually making things worse, not better, and that is to say nothing of the devastating effects of this law for American families.

Then-Senator Obama promised to lower premiums by as much as $2,500 per family when he ran for President. Here are the facts: Three years after ObamaCare's passage, premiums for families have actually risen by nearly that same amount.

And that is before the most expensive new rules, taxes, and mandates kick in. After that, the experts tell us premiums could increase by $2,100 per family.

Tragically, ObamaCare will place the greatest burden on young Americans--those just starting to build lives of their own. This is a time in their lives when every dollar counts. Yet 3 years after ObamaCare's passage, experts say premiums for healthy young people could rise by 169 percent.

Part of the reason costs are set to increase so dramatically is because ObamaCare levies so many new taxes and fees. But that is really only half the story. It is also because the law imposes so many onerous regulations. Just look at this stack right here. This is 1 day's worth of ObamaCare regulations--828 pages in 1 day. Overall, there are nearly 20,000 pages, with many more to come. But this is 1 day's worth--828 pages.

This law is a disaster waiting to happen. Imagine the burden we are placing on a single mom who wants to open her own store or the young entrepreneur who wants to sell some new idea or the business owners we all know from back home--the folks who employ so many of our constituents. Instead of encouraging them to create jobs and grow the economy, we are hitting them with a brick of regulations.

Last week the Federal Reserve said what many of us have been predicting all along: ObamaCare is also costing jobs. Recent polling bears this out too. One survey said that more than half of American small business owners are worried that health care costs and taxes will hurt their operating environment ``a lot.'' Another small business survey recently identified these issues as the top two concerns among eight tested.

There are countless real-world examples of how this is hurting the folks we represent. Let me give you just one example. One of my constituents is Junior Bridgeman. He was once known for his skills on the basketball court. Today, Louisvillians know him as the owner of a successful restaurant franchise that employs a lot of Kentuckians. He wrote to me recently to say that ObamaCare is a serious impediment not only to hiring but to hiring low-income employees in particular. Here is what he had to say:

[It] does not consider our ability to afford the mandate. Under our current labor model ..... [it] will increase labor costs whether we offer health care or pay the tax penalties. ..... .This creates, in essence, a disincentive to hire low income employees.

The President's allies are worried too. We have seen the stories about Democrats who voted for the bill now having second thoughts about specific funding mechanisms for it, but now union leaders are even expressing fears about the law driving up costs for their own health care plans, making unionized workers actually less competitive.

This is the worst time to be imposing tens of thousands of pages of new regulations and onerous taxes on the very families and businesses that can least afford them. We owe our constituents better, particularly those who are struggling the most.

Look, ObamaCare is just too expensive, and it is not working the way Washington Democrats promised. That is why ObamaCare needs to be repealed. That is why I will continue to push for its repeal.

Mr. President, I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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