Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I would like to start today on a positive note. Later this very day, the two parties will come together to do something we haven't been doing enough of around here: we will pass a jobs bill on a bipartisan basis, and then we will send it back to the House, where we hope it will pass shortly. In other words, we are going to legislate. I know that might sound a little like a groundbreaking idea to some of my colleagues on the other side who would rather spend all of their time putting together legislation aimed at sending a political message, but hopefully today's votes will help change that.
As I have been saying for weeks now, we have two choices: We can either acknowledge the fact that we live in a two-party system and work together on legislation both parties can embrace or we can spend our time, as Democrats have for the past 2 months, putting together legislation that is designed to fail.
House Republicans have chosen the former approach. Since taking over the majority earlier this year, they have searched for common ground when it comes to jobs legislation, and they have found it, passing more than 20 bills aimed at spurring the economy and creating jobs that have attracted strong bipartisan support.
Meanwhile, the Democratic majority here in the Senate has opted for the latter approach. Taking their cues from the political team down at the White House, Senate Democrats have spent most of their time trying to make Republicans look bad instead of looking for ways to work with us on meaningful jobs legislation.
But today they have taken a break from all that, and I am pleased to say the two parties will pass two important pieces of jobs legislation: Senator Brown's 3 percent withholding bill, which eases the burden on government contractors, freeing up more money they can use to expand and to hire, and a veterans bill sponsored by Senator Murray that not only helps returning veterans but the businesses that hire them.
On their own, these bills won't solve our jobs crisis--far from it. No single piece of legislation can. But this attempt at bipartisanship that has been used to get them over the finish line represents our best shot at making progress on jobs and the economy as long as Republicans have the majority in one half of Congress and Democrats have the majority in the other. We can still improve on the process, of course, through greater consultation within the committee of jurisdiction, but it is a good start nonetheless. This is how divided government works--through genuine cooperation and a search for common ground. It is what Republicans on the joint committee have been doing these past several weeks, and it is what House Republicans have been doing for the past year on legislation of the kind we will actually pass today.
This isn't to say we shouldn't have open, full-throated debates that showcase our differences. The two parties clearly have different points of view when it comes to restoring the economy and creating jobs. That is why we will also have a vote today for the McCain-Paul-Portman bill, which aims at unleashing the private sector instead of shackling it with more government, as our Democratic friends propose. The McCain-Paul-Portman bill is a clear alternative to the President's failed model of endless stimulus. Members should have a chance to express their support for it, and I am glad we will, even as we vote on things on which we can all agree.
So my message is this: Let's keep it up. Let's build on today's success and move on to some of the other jobs bills that have already passed the House on a very broad bipartisan basis. I have highlighted two of them already. Today, I will highlight two more: the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act, H.R. 2940, and the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act, H.R. 2930--two bills that make it easier for small businesses to raise money in innovative ways from small donors, generally over the Internet, often through social media. Here is a way to enable the little guy to raise money for his or her business and let small investors get into the game too. We all know access to capital is one of the key ingredients to economic growth. Here is a way to make it easier for folks to get that capital that also creates new avenues for the little guy to invest. Senators THUNE and Scott Brown have companion bills here in the Senate. We should take them up and we should pass them.
You don't hear a lot about Republicans and Democrats agreeing on legislation these days, but here is some on which we do actually agree. So I would say let's take them up, pass them, and send them to the President for his signature. The Obama administration has already said it supports these ideas, and 169 Democrats in the House voted for one of these bills last week, with 175 voting for the other. Republicans support both overwhelmingly as well. So let's do it. Let's build on the momentum we have today, after passing the 3-percent withholding and the Veterans bill. Let's show the American people we have discovered and embraced a formula for success around here.