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Public Statements

The Economy

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. According to data just released by the Labor Department, retailers are going to be cutting hours at a rate unseen in more than 30 years. Investor's Business Daily had this to say of the decline:

[It] doesn't appear related to the economy, which has been consistently mediocre. Instead, all evidence points to the coming launch of ObamaCare, which the retail industry has warned could cause just such a result.

So this is just the latest in a string of bad news related to the rollout of ObamaCare, just the latest reason the law needs to be repealed. What is more, businesses are being forced to cut workers' hours at a time when so many Americans, nearly 8 million last month according to Labor, have already been squeezed into part-time positions in which they would prefer not to be in the first place. Many of these are Americans who would probably much rather be working full time. Yet thanks to ObamaCare, many of them may be forced to work even less.

Actually, it gets worse. Labor also reported that total benefits for employees in service operations actually declined last quarter. That is the first such deterioration in more than a decade. Some speculate this piece of bad news could be attributed to ObamaCare as well.

All of this, bear in mind, is for a law, the full brunt of which hasn't even begun to come online yet. We are still many months away. Yet stories like this seem to be piling up.

When it comes to the implementation of ObamaCare, I fear some of the worst hit are likely to be the small businesses and the Americans who work for them. These are the hometown companies that struggled so mightily just to keep their doors open throughout the Obama economy, whose owners sacrificed so much in order to keep their families fed and their employees on the payroll. These businesses struggled against fierce economic headwinds, and they actually survived.

Will they be able to survive the next assault headed their way, to absorb the blows of ObamaCare, blows thrown at them by their own government at a time when they are already so vulnerable? Well, if things keep going as they are, it is hard to see how they will.

Just listen to this: Last week, a small business owner in the barbecue restaurant business testified at a field hearing of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. The owner of that company said it will cost his business up to $200,000 to implement the ObamaCare mandate, a $200,000 hit. What is that company's projected profit for 2013? It is $240,000. Incredible, absolutely incredible.

It is not hard to see why the Democratic chairman of the Finance Committee called this law a "train wreck.'' It is not hard to see why so many Democrats are now airing their concerns about the law in public. Frankly, I wish they had considered these consequences before, not after passing a law. It is not like Republicans weren't warning about all of this. It is not like independent experts across the country weren't saying almost the same thing we were saying, and it is not like common sense wouldn't simply dictate much of these outcomes either.

I see that the President has decided to pivot once again to jobs. I can't even count how many times he has done one of these pivots at this point, so I will not try. But I presume he will jet off throughout the country to campaign-style rallies in order to bash Congress and claim that none of this is his fault. In the same vein, we hear he is going to have an ObamaCare event this Friday.

I would be willing to bet he is not going to take responsibility there for ObamaCare's negative effects on our economy either or on so many families and small businesses.

It is about time he did. He should use that event to do so because he needs to be straight with the American people. He needs to prepare them for everything that is coming their way--the wage cuts, the lost jobs, the higher premiums, everything our country can expect as a result of ObamaCare.

That small business owner I mentioned earlier also had this to say:

Major companies I am sure have legal advisors that will ..... guide them through this legislation. Small businesses such as ours must obtain as much available information as possible and do their best to live by the letter of the law. Then because this act is [complicated], hope and pray to not get penalized.

The law-abiding citizens of this country shouldn't have to pray for leniency from their own government. Last I checked, the government existed to help the public, not to antagonize it.

After ramming the law through Congress the way he did, ignoring the warnings all these things would happen, ignoring the will of the American people, honesty and transparency is the very least President Obama owes the American public at this point. What he needs to do, actually, is join with Republicans in agreeing to repeal this job-killing law. He needs to acknowledge the need to scrap it and replace it with the types of commonsense reforms that will lower cost, because this law is not working. I think he already knows that. Republicans certainly know it. And more and more Democrats are coming around to that realization too. So let's skip the scripted campaign events and actually work together to get something positive done for jobs, health care, and our economy. If President Obama is willing to work with us, we are here and ready to get to work.

I yield the floor.


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