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Public Statements

Jobs Vote

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, a little later today, the Senate will vote on President Obama's second attempt to address our Nation's ongoing jobs crisis with a stimulus bill, and Republicans actually welcome the opportunity. If voting against another stimulus is the only way we can get Democrats in Washington to finally abandon this failed approach to job creation, then so be it.

The President has been calling for this vote for weeks, and, in my view, we cannot have it soon enough. In fact, on the previous bill, I kept trying to get a vote on the President's first version of the stimulus bill. We will be voting on the second sort of modified version of the stimulus bill this afternoon. This is a vote Republicans are anxious to have.

For nearly 5 years, Democrats have controlled the Senate. For the last 3 of those years, they have also controlled the White House. By proposing a second stimulus, Democrats are showing the American people they have no new ideas for dealing with our jobs crisis.

Today's vote is conclusive proof that Democrats' sole proposal is to keep doing what has not worked--along with a massive tax hike we know will not create jobs. So it is hard to overstate the importance of this vote.

The President's first stimulus was a legislative and economic catastrophe. Nearly 3 years after passage, we are still learning about its failures and its abuses. We knew it was a bailout for States. We knew all about the absurd projects it funded. Over the past few weeks, we have also learned that the Obama administration was doing the very thing with solar companies that it once rightly criticized many others for doing on Wall Street: gambling with other people's money; the Federal Government playing venture capitalist with our tax money.

But there is only one thing we need to know about the first stimulus to oppose the second one and it is this: $825 billion later, there are 1.7 million fewer jobs in this country than there were when the first stimulus was signed. That is the clearest proof it was a monstrous failure, and it is the surest proof we have that those who support the second stimulus are not doing so to create jobs.

As I see it, that is what today's vote boils down to. Everyone who votes for this second stimulus will have to answer a simple but important question: Why on Earth would we support an approach that we already know will not work?

Of course, the truth is most Democrats know just as well as I do that passing another stimulus and tax hike is a lousy idea, which is why the Democrats are having such a hard time convincing their colleagues to vote for it.

Here is what they have decided to do instead. Democrats have designed this bill to fail--they have designed their own bill to fail--in the hopes that anyone who votes against it will look bad for opposing a bill they mistakenly refer to as a ``jobs bill.''

That is not just my interpretation. The senior Senator from New York has been out there telling reporters that what the Democrats are going for today is ``contrast.'' The senior Senator from New York said this is all about contrast--not about jobs, about contrast.

It does not seem to matter that this bill will not pass or that even if it did pass, American businesses would be stuck with a permanent tax hike. Forget about all of that. What matters most to the Democrats who control the Senate, according to the stories I have been reading, is that they have an issue to run on for next year. This whole exercise, by their own admission, is a charade that is meant to give Democrats a political edge in an election that is 13 months away.

Well, with all due respect to the senior Senator from New York, the American people don't want contrast, they want jobs. They want the Democrats who control the Senate to stop thinking about how they can improve their own political prospects 13 months from now and start thinking about how they can help other people's job prospects right now. They want Democrats to focus on job creation, not political preservation. So I have a better idea. How about we get this vote that Democrats already know will not pass behind us so we can focus on real job-creating legislation that we actually know is worthy of passing with bipartisan support. Republicans have been calling on Democrats to work with us on bipartisan job-creating bills for 3 years, and every once in a while we convince them.

Tomorrow, we will approve three free-trade agreements I have been calling on the President to approve since his first day in office. These agreements will not add a dime to the deficit, and they are expected by Democrats and Republicans to create tens of thousands of jobs. They will have strong bipartisan support, and they do not contain a single job-destroying tax hike.

Both parties also came together earlier this year to pass a patent reform bill President Obama and Democrats in Congress touted as a job creator, and Democrats and Republicans came together this summer to pass a highway bill extension, FAA extension, that will lead to just the kind of job creation that has bipartisan support. You don't hear much about any of this from the President. It gets in the way of his campaign strategy. But that does not mean Republicans cannot continue to urge the President to work with us, and that is just what we plan to do.

Over the next weeks and months, Republicans will continue to press our friends on the other side to work with us on legislation that will actually do something to create jobs in this country. Our first criteria for any proposal is that it would actually lead to more jobs, not fewer. I know that may seem crazy to some, but in our view it is not a jobs bill if it leads to fewer jobs. Our second criteria is that it does not add to the deficit. There is no reason we need to exacerbate one crisis in an effort to tackle another one.

Democrats like to point out that the second stimulus we will have a vote on today is ``paid for with tax hikes'' and that it contains a ``tax cut.'' What they do not tell you, of course, is the tax cut lasts for 13 months, while the tax hikes last forever. They hide the fact that over the next 5 years it will actually increase the deficit, by nearly $300 billion next year alone: Permanent tax increases, temporary tax cuts, increase the deficit by $300 billion next year alone.

Another thing the Democratic supporters of this bill fail to mention is that about four out of five of the people who would be hit with their new taxes are, in fact, businesses, including thousands of small businesses across the country--in other words, the very people Americans rely on to create new jobs. So the legislation we will be voting on today is many things, but it is not a jobs bill. Republicans will gladly vote against any legislation that makes it harder to create jobs right now.

The President's advisers have said they are counting on a do-nothing Congress. That is why we will be voting for legislation today that is designed to fail. If you ask me, this is a pretty sad commentary on the state of the Democratic Party in Washington.

I think the American people deserve better. I think the 16.5 percent of Americans who are looking for work or who stopped looking for work deserve better. I think the 4.5 million Americans who have been out of work for more than a year deserve better. I think the nearly 15 percent of young Americans who cannot find work right now deserve better. Americans deserve more than a clumsy political stunt. They deserve better than the same well-rehearsed talking points we have been hearing from Democrats over the past few weeks. Above all, they deserve a different approach to this crisis than the one they have gotten from Democrats over the past few years. For nearly 3 years, Democrats in Congress have done virtually everything the President asked of them--everything he asked of them. And I would remind everyone that they owned the government the first 2 years of the Obama administration. They got everything they wanted. They passed his health care bill. They passed his financial regulations bill. They passed his stimulus. They waved through all the regulations, the bailouts, and the massive spending bills. And what did we get? A bad economy became worse; record deficits and debt; a first ever credit downgrade; and 1.7 million fewer jobs. Democrats may have run out of ideas, but Republicans are ready to work with them on a new approach. It is why we are here. And we are ready to act.

I yield the floor.

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