Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act--Motion to Proceed--Resumed

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: May 22, 2012
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, I want to call attention to a couple of stories from the last 2 days. I think they say a lot about the difficulties of addressing the economic challenges we face.

The first is a story from Politico. It says the Budget Committee chairman can't remember the last time he talked to the President. The Budget Committee chairman can't remember the last time he talked to the President. Another chairman, dealing with student loans, says he has not talked to the President in months--in months. The Democratic point man on energy doesn't seem to talk to the President much at all.

If you want to know why we can't solve these economic problems, this is it. We have a President who is more interested in running around to college campuses, spreading some poll-tested message, than he is in actually accomplishing anything. That is the problem.

The second story, also interesting, is about HHS signing a $20 million contract to promote ObamaCare; $20 million of taxpayer money to promote a bill most Americans want to see repealed. That is $20 million of our tax money spent on commercials to promote ObamaCare. Let me suggest the President spend a little more time trying to do something about spending, debt, and gas prices, and a little less time trying to spin the unpopular things he has already done. It might require a little more work but it is what we need. It is time to lead.

I ask unanimous consent those two articles to which I referred be printed in the Record.


Mr. MCCONNELL. Madam President, yesterday, we learned about the resignation of the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Dr. Gregory Jaczko. As I said yesterday, I am not surprised by Jaczko's resignation. Even Democrats on the Commission testified before Congress that his inappropriate conduct as chairman resulted in a hostile work environment for women and threatened to undermine the mission of the NRC itself. But what should surprise us all, is how this administration could remain silent for more than a year after the allegations of Jaczko's offensive behavior first surfaced.

Jaczko's alleged behavior is unacceptable in any workplace. The fact that it was allowed to persist at a critical agency that oversees the safety of our Nation's nuclear power plants is astonishing. The White House must now move swiftly with a replacement for Jaczko and I urge the Senate to move quickly to reconfirm the nomination of Kristine Svinicki as NRC commissioner before her term expires on June 30th. The only reason her nomination was held up by the White House and the Democrat-led Senate in the first place was because she had the courage to stand up to a hostile work environment, and to the bully who was responsible for it. Now that Jaczko has submitted his resignation, it's time for the Senate to move forward on Kristine Svinicki.

Commissioner Svinicki's credentials are unmatched. She is one of the world's leading experts on nuclear safety. She was confirmed by the Senate to her current term without a single dissenting vote.

It's time we act. Svinicki has served as commissioner with distinction, is enormously qualified, has bipartisan support and deserves a speedy reconfirmation. The American people are best-served by a commission that is fully functional.


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