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Public Statements

Payroll Tax Extension

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, yesterday my friend the majority leader unveiled what he rather misleadingly referred to as a compromise on the payroll tax. I say it was misleading because we had to find out about it from reporters.

This was not a compromise. This was nothing more than another bill designed to fail so Democrats can have another week of fun and games on the Senate floor while tens of millions of working Americans go another week wondering whether they are going to see a smaller paycheck at the end of the year.

I have said I support this extension. I don't think working Americans should have to suffer any more than they already are for the President's failure to turn this jobs crisis around. Unfortunately, the majority leader has yet to introduce legislation that can actually pass the Senate or the House. One would think if that is one of the President's top priorities, then the Democratic leader of the Senate would put together a proposal that is designed to actually pass. But we haven't seen it yet. We all know what a successful bill would look like. So I hope the majority leader comes forward with a real proposal soon because time is running out. It makes absolutely no sense at a moment when 14 million Americans are looking for jobs to raise taxes on the very people we are counting on to create them. That is why the Senate rejected the idea last week on a bipartisan basis.

Look, the Democrats know as well as we do that this is a terrible idea. They have seen the same letters I have. The National Association of Manufacturers says this tax hike would seriously impair the ability of their members to put unemployed Americans back to work. The Democrats know as well as I do that four out of five of those who would be hit by this are business owners, people who create jobs. The only reason--the only reason--we even went through this exercise is because it obviously polls well.

So this is what Washington has been reduced to: a President and a Senate who would rather spend their time doing cheap political theater than giving people the certainty they want. What we need to do is to step back and realize that the only reason we are talking about a one-shot stimulus measure nearly 3 years into this Presidency is because of the President's failure to turn this jobs crisis around. We need to get beyond the temporary fixes and start talking about fundamental tax reform that puts the American worker in charge of this recovery, not Washington.

But for now, it is perfectly clear that the path to an accomplishment on this issue does not run through tax hikes. Yesterday, the President warned Congress to keep its word to the American people and ``don't raise taxes on them now.'' I wish to remind my colleagues and the President that the Republican plan is the only plan that meets the President's standard. The President just warned us: Don't raise taxes on the American people. The proposal we offer is the only one that meets that standard.

If our friends are serious about passing this extension of the payroll tax cut, they have a choice: We can have an accomplishment or we can have additional partisan show votes.

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