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Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, last week's jobs report reinforces what many of us have known for some time. Unlike what the President would like you to believe, the private sector is not doing fine and this administration's policies are not providing effective solutions to our Nation's problems. The health of our economy hinges upon job growth, and it clearly has not received the attention it deserves. Our Nation has no roadmap, and it is past time for a genuine effort to work in a bipartisan manner to create the certainty and stability that will allow American businesses and families to thrive.
Every morning Nevadans wake up and grab their hometown newspaper or turn on their local news. Some are getting ready to go to work, while others start another day trying to find a job. These Nevadans have become all too familiar with headlines of Nevada leading the country in unemployment and foreclosures.
For the Nevadans who are going to their job, these headlines create fear and uncertainty about their future. For the Nevadan who is unemployed, these headlines are another blow to their hopes of finding work. That is what many Nevadans have had to live with for far too long.
I read and see the latest unemployment statistics just like everyone else, but I know that behind these numbers are real people struggling to make ends meet. Being home in Nevada I have met the unemployed mechanic, the unemployed computer engineer, and the unemployed waitress. Blue collar and white collar workers alike continue to pay the price because of the poor decisions by Wall Street and Washington.
Nevadans did not want the Wall Street bailout--but Washington did it anyway. Nevadans did not want the trillion dollar stimulus bill--but Washington did it anyway. Nevadans did not want the President's health care bill--but Washington did it anyway.
When I am in places such as Reno, Las Vegas, Henderson, or Elko I often ask people to raise their hand if the bailout has helped them find a job. No one raises their hand. I ask did the stimulus bill help them find a job. No one raises their hand. Finally, I ask them if the health care bill has helped them find a job and still no one raises their hand.
In January 2009, President Obama was inaugurated and Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate. Nevada's unemployment rate was at 9.4 percent.
Nearly 4 years later Nevada's unemployment rate is 11.6 percent. Too many people in Nevada are unemployed, have stopped looking for jobs or worse, left the State for employment elsewhere.
With over 23 million Americans out of work or underemployed I think it is past time to ask the President and this Congress is this working?
Nevadans have seen the effects of higher Washington spending, higher regulations, and higher debt and they know these policies have failed. They deserve solutions. Instead of having more show votes, Congress needs to focus on pro-growth policies that eliminate burdensome regulations, reform the tax code and help struggling homeowners. It is my hope that our economy will improve as the year goes on, but Washington must take action.
There are small commonsense measures that we can pass right now if given the opportunity. I continually come here to the Senate floor to offer solutions that will provide our Nation's job creators with the tools to provide for long-term economic growth. I have crafted three housing bills to help those foreclosed upon to stay in their home, shorten the short-sale process, and ensure homeowners who get mortgage relief are not hit with additional taxes. I have offered legislation that would require Washington bureaucrats at agencies to take into account jobs when issuing regulations or to streamline permitting for energy-related projects on public lands or even something as simple as combining annual reports submitted to Congress. These are small measures that if passed would make a big difference to our Nation's job creators. Unfortunately, all too often we find ourselves taking political show votes instead of debating commonsense solutions. The bill we have before us on the floor is a perfect example. I filed two amendments to this bill that would help ease the stress of taxes on middle-class Nevadans and one to help underwater homeowners. Both are bipartisan proposals. Yet once again we find ourselves in a position where we cannot have an open debate on amendments.
These are not partisan issues, these are American issues. If any Member of Congress commits themselves to spending reform, tax reform, regulation reform, and finding solutions to fix the housing crisis, then they will have me as an ally.
Nevadans deserve better than what they have gotten from this Congress and White House, which is why I will continue to keep coming to this floor to raise my voice for the citizens of Nevada and I will fight every day to create jobs and get Nevadans back to work.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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