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Public Statements

Considering House-Passed Legislation

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, over the past few weeks I have highlighted some of the good work Republicans in the House are doing in identifying jobs legislation that Members of both parties can agree on, and I have suggested that the Democratic majority here in the Senate follow the lead of House Republicans and take up bipartisan legislation that has already passed in the House and pass it here in the Senate. The American people want us to do something about jobs. They want us to work together. Here is the formula. Let's apply it.

We made some progress last week with the Veterans bill and the 3-percent withholding bill, but there is a lot more we could do. The House has now passed more than 20 pieces of jobs legislation, many of which have companion bills that are ready to go here in the Senate. I outlined some of them last week. Why don't we take them up?

Let's acknowledge the fact that we live in a two-party system and that if we are going to make progress, we need to do it on a bipartisan basis. That means doing precisely what Republicans in the House have been doing for the past year--finding areas where the two parties can actually agree and passing bills that reflect those areas of agreement. That is how legislation works. It is easy to push partisan legislation and then complain, when it doesn't go anywhere, that the other party is intransigent. The more difficult job and the one we were sent here to do is to work together to find solutions, to accomplish more than fodder for campaign ads and bus tours.

This morning, I would like to call on our Democratic friends again to take up these bipartisan House-passed bills. One of these bills, for example, makes it easier for businesses to raise the capital they need to expand and to create jobs. Senators Tester and Toomey have companion legislation right here in the Senate.

Another one increases the number of shareholders who are allowed to invest in a community bank before that bank is required to shoulder costly new burdens from the SEC.

Senators Hutchison and Pryor have companion legislation to this bill in the Senate. Senators Toomey and Carper have a bill that would expand it, by applying it to businesses other than banks. Let's take them both up and let's pass them.

Two other bipartisan House-passed bills give small businesses a new avenue to raise capital and small investors a new opportunity to invest in them by allowing small businesses to raise money over the Internet and through social media without having to shoulder the same kind of regulatory obstacles as big businesses.

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 capital that also creates new avenues for the little guy to invest--and to start hiring. Senators Thune and Scott Brown have companion bills in the Senate. Why don't we take them up and pass them?

This is the kind of approach we should be taking in the Senate, putting aside these great big partisan bills that Democrats know have bipartisan opposition and focusing on smaller proposals that can actually pass. On their own, these bills will not solve the jobs crisis. Frankly, no piece of legislation can, large or small--but they will help, and they make it easier for businesses to start hiring.

They will show the American people something they do not believe we do enough of around here; that is, to work together on their behalf. This is how divided government works, through real cooperation and a search for common ground and solutions. This is what Republicans on the joint committee have been trying to do for the past several weeks. It is what House Republicans have been doing all year.

I say let's take up these bills and pass them and then send them on down to the President for signature. The administration supports many of these House-passed bills. Democrats in the House strongly support many of them and Republicans support them overwhelmingly. So let's do it. Let's build on the momentum we have from last week after passing the 3-percent withholding and the veterans bill, and let's show the American people we have hit upon a formula for legislative success around here.

I yield the floor.

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