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Public Statements

Facing the Issues

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, as Americans filled up their cars with gas this weekend, I am sure a lot of them wondered how much higher gas prices could actually go. Well, today the Democratic-controlled Senate plans to send these folks a message: If they had their way, gas prices would be even higher.

Today Democrats will propose raising taxes on America's energy manufacturers, something common sense and basic economics tell us will lead to even higher prices at the pump. This is the Democratic response to high gas prices, and, frankly, I cannot think of a better way to illustrate how completely and totally out of touch they are on this issue. That is why Republicans plan to support moving forward on a debate over the legislation because it is a debate the country deserves.

We are going to use this opportunity to explain how out of touch Democrats are on high gas prices and put a spotlight on the commonsense ideas Republicans have been urging for years--ideas that reflect our genuine commitment to the kind of ``all of the above'' approach the President claims to support but actually doesn't.

Look, this isn't terribly complicated. Americans from Maine to California are frustrated at high gas prices. What do they see in Washington? They see Democrats pushing legislation that even they admit doesn't have a thing to do with lowering gas prices. At least seven Democrats are on record saying this bill doesn't do a thing to lower gas prices. Last year its own sponsor said nobody has made the claim this is about reducing gas prices--all of which raises an obvious question: What are we doing it for? How does this help the American people now?

Of course it doesn't. In response to record-high gas prices, Democrats in Congress want to raise taxes on the very people who produce it. Meanwhile the President is blocking a pipeline that would decrease our dependence on Middle East oil and create literally thousands of American jobs.

Americans see the Democratic response to high gas prices to make them even worse. That is the Democrats' response to high gas prices, to make them even worse. They are starting to wonder if this might as well be the Democrats' official slogan: Vote for us, and we will make things worse. Because whether it is jobs or debt or spending or gas prices, that is the Democratic record, which leads me to health care.

Today, as we all know, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments on the President's health care law. Among other things, the Court will consider whether the mandate at the core of this law is constitutional. As one of the many

public officials who filed a brief before the Court opposing this law, I believe strongly the law is, in fact, unconstitutional, and I hope the Court agrees.

Even if the Court ends up disagreeing with me, the case for repeal becomes increasingly difficult to refute. The President was right to seek reform, but the bill he gave us and the Democrats forced through Congress on a party-line vote is not working. Instead of lowering costs, it is increasing them. Instead of strengthening Medicare, it raided Medicare. Instead of helping States, it has created financial burdens they cannot even bear. Instead of lowering insurance premiums, it has caused them actually to go up.

When it comes to jobs, some have called the law the single biggest detriment to job creation in America right now, and most Americans believe it is unconstitutional. This law is a mess, an absolute mess, and regardless of what the Court decides, it needs to be repealed and replaced with commonsense reforms that actually lower costs and that Americans really want.

So we will keep one eye on the Supreme Court this week, and we are basing our opinion on something simpler than the legal arguments we will hear this week. We are looking at whether this law helped or hurt. On that question the verdict is already in, just like so much else this President has done over the past few years.

Look, we need health care reform, but this law has made things worse. On that basis alone it should be repealed and replaced. That is what Americans want, and that is what we plan to do.

I yield the floor.

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