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Republican Cooperation

Location: Washington, DC

REPUBLICAN COOPERATION -- (Senate - January 29, 2007)

Mr. McCONNELL. Let me say to my good friend, the majority leader, I think we should be able to work our way through some negotiations on the Iraq matter that will allow us to consider a variety of proposals that may be forthcoming. With regard to the advisability of doing any resolution at all, I think the Washington Post basically had it right last week when they said they found it curious that we would confirm General Petraeus overwhelmingly, which we did Friday, 81 to nothing, and then turn around and pass a resolution saying his mission, in our judgment, has no chance of succeeding.

I hope at the end of the day such a resolution will not be approved. Having said that, I do think this is the last opportunity for the Iraqis to get it right. They need to understand that even those of us who are strong supporters of the President believe this is it. This is their chance to demonstrate that they can function in this effort to quiet the capital city of Baghdad so it can become a place in which political compromise can in fact occur. It is very difficult for that to happen when there are daily car bombings.

With regard to the minimum wage, let me indicate, Republicans made a pledge at the start of this session to cooperate and that is exactly what we have done. We passed one strong bill and we are about to pass another by keeping that pledge. Two weeks ago some of our colleagues on the other side started to dispute our commitment to cooperation over the ethics and lobbying bill. One of my good friends on the other side said Republicans hated the bill and decided to kill it. Another said our effort to make the bill better through the amendment process was ``one of the worst stunts he had seen in 25 years as a legislator.' What made those observations particularly absurd is that on that same day, the very same day those quotes were made, the bill passed 96 to 2.

Last week, many of our colleagues on the other side were reviving their charges of noncooperation after we took up the minimum wage bill. One said Republicans don't tend to vote for a minimum wage increase. Another said we were putting up obstacles to the bill so we wouldn't have to act on it.

We passed a good ethics and lobby reform bill and we are going to pass a good minimum wage increase bill because of Republican support and because Republicans insisted on a bipartisan package for both ethics and lobbying. That is the reason we saw an overwhelming vote at the end, support on both sides of the aisle. It is only because Republicans insisted on a bipartisan package for the minimum wage bill that I expect at some point in the near future we will see a similar vote on that. We pledged cooperation, and cooperation is exactly what we are offering in these early days of this Congress.

I yield the floor.

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