Surface Transportation Act

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: March 8, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, last night the two parties reached an agreement on amendments to the highway bill. As the majority leader will indicate shortly, or may already have before I came to the floor, we will be able to move forward on that later today.

I am also happy to report there are a number of strong, very strong, job-creating measures in the mix. One that stands out is Senator Hoeven's amendment on the Keystone XL Pipeline, that massive private sector project that will create 20,000 jobs almost immediately.

Most Americans strongly support building the pipeline and, of course, the significant number of construction jobs that would come along with it. It is incomprehensible to me that the President of the United States, as I read, is actually lobbying against the Keystone Pipeline amendment. There is a report this morning that the President is personally making phone calls to Democratic Senators he thinks might vote for the amendment, asking them not to. Frankly, it is hard to comprehend how completely out of touch he is on this issue.

Think about it. At a moment when millions are out of work, gas prices are literally skyrocketing, and the Middle East is in turmoil, we have a President who is up making phone calls trying to block a pipeline here at home. It is almost unbelievable. What we are seeing in Congress this week is a study in contrasts. On the one hand, you have a Republican-controlled House that is about to pass a bipartisan jobs bill that would help entrepreneurs and innovators by getting Washington out of the way, and today we have a Democratic-controlled Senate trying to line up votes against an amendment that would create jobs, and a Democratic President lobbying against the biggest private sector job creation project in our country.

We have an opportunity to work together to create jobs. We can do that with these amendments and we can do that by taking up the bipartisan jobs bill the House will pass later today.

Let me say a word about that. The bipartisan jobs bill the House will pass later today is supported by the President. It is ready to go. I hope that once it gets over to the Senate we will simply take it up and pass it. It is an example of a measure supported by Republicans and Democrats and the President that we believe will clear the House with a very large majority. I think the sooner we pass that here in the Senate and send it down to the President for signature, the better.

I yield the floor.


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