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Public Statements

Defense Authorization

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, it is no secret that Americans are unhappy with the way our friends on the other side have handled things over the past few years, and especially the last year and a half. Americans have been speaking out across the country about the need to return to a smaller, more competent, more accountable government that lives within its means. Instead, Democrats in Congress have given them more government, more spending, more debt--and now they are threatening a massive tax hike to top it all off.

What has been most remarkable to me in watching this all play out is the way our friends on the other side have doubled down on their plans in the teeth of public outrage. Yesterday, we saw a CNBC survey showing most Americans don't like the idea of seeing taxes raised on anybody at this point. CNN says that most of the economists it surveyed said the best thing we can do for businesses is to assure them their taxes won't go up at the end of the year.

Yet Democratic leaders are still clinging to the discredited idea that government needs more power, more money for more Washington programs. Maybe the reason is that the Democratic vision of recovery--their idea of success, according to the assistant majority leader--is 9 percent unemployment. That is right. Yesterday, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate said that Congress could ``breathe a sigh of relief'' at 9 percent unemployment or less. That is their idea of success.

Well, our idea of success is for businesses to start hiring again and to get this country back on track. It seems the more Americans say they want Democrats to stop what they are doing and focus on jobs and the economy, the more determined they are to press ahead with their various liberal agenda items while they have still got the chance.

That is basically what today's vote on the Defense authorization bill is all about. The Defense authorization bill requires 4 or 5 weeks to debate. But instead of having that debate or turning to the Defense appropriations bill, which funds the military, they want to use this week for a political exercise. They want to weigh this bill down with controversy in a transparent attempt to show their special interest groups ahead of the election that they haven't forgotten them.

It is quite astonishing. Democrats have called up this bill not to have a vote on it or to consider amendments to help our troops in the field but to put on a show--to use it as an opportunity to cast votes for things Americans either don't want or aren't interested in seeing attached to a bill that is supposed to be about defense.

My friend, the majority leader, has already said this bill isn't going to pass with these items attached to it before the election. But he is keeping them on there anyway. So this is not a serious exercise, it is a show. And it is because of shows such as this our friends have lost credibility with the public.

Americans want us to take care of the basics and do it competently--take care of the basics and do it competently. This isn't too much to ask. But evidently it is too much to ask of Democratic leaders in Congress right before the election.

Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.

I withhold my request.

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