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Public Statements

Payroll Tax Cut

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I want to make a couple of observations this morning about the bipartisan support that exists for extending a payroll tax holiday. I will start with the obvious: Republicans strongly support extending this tax cut for the rest of the year. Americans have suffered long enough as a result of this President's economic policies. They do not need to suffer more because of his failure to turn the economy around 3 years into his administration.

But the fact is any solution requires both sides to engage in good-faith negotiations. When my friend, the majority leader of the Senate, comes to the floor and says that Republicans in Congress are only willing to extend this tax cut if they are allowed to poison Americans' drinking water, then I think it is pretty safe to say it is time for fewer partisan attacks and more efforts to finish the job.

When a tax hike that has been rejected repeatedly by Members of both parties over the past year is the opening bid in a negotiation, I think it is safe to say that Democrats are more interested in scoring political points than in scoring a tax cut that millions of middle-class Americans are counting on.

When the majority leader of the Senate suddenly announces he is working on a proposal of his own to extend this tax cut, even as the conference committee is in the midst of negotiating a bipartisan solution that everybody can support, I think it is pretty obvious where the problem lies. It is with the Democratic majority and a President who we thought were elected to lead.

I think most Americans would expect that at a moment such as this, when a solution to a pressing problem is sought, the majority party bears the responsibility to find it. It is worth noting that in the House, the majority party did its work and passed a 1-year extension. Yet all we get from the Democratic majority in the Senate are exaggerated claims, ad hominem attacks, and false accusations aimed at delaying a solution rather than achieving one.

So I would remind my friend the majority leader that the particular piece of legislation he railed against yesterday as an effort to poison people has broad bipartisan support, including 12 Democratic cosponsors here in the Senate--and rightly so in the midst of a jobs crisis. We should seize every opportunity we have to help job creators at a time when more than 13 million Americans are looking for work and can't find it.

The only thing controversial about this proposal--the only thing controversial about this proposal--is the idea of opposing it.

I would also remind the majority leader that the Federal pay freeze received more than 300 votes in the House, and that he himself already agreed to spending cuts during negotiations this past fall that would cover the cost of extending this payroll tax cut for the remainder of the year.

So let us allow the conferees to finish their work and get this payroll tax cut extended for the rest of the year. That is what Republicans want. That is what the President says he wants. And there is no reason we shouldn't be able to get this done. The Democratic majority of the Senate should be leading that effort, not rooting for its failure.

I yield the floor.

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