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Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, the attacks this week on our diplomats, our installations, and diplomatic security personnel have reminded all of us of the service of these brave Americans--the service they render to our country every single day, from the deadly attacks on a U.S. diplomatic station in Benghazi, to the attack on our embassy in Cairo, and now another attack on another embassy last night in Yemen; four Americans are dead; our flag is being desecrated. This is a moment for Americans to show our closest allies in the Middle East that we stand with them unequivocally. No mixed signals. Neither Israel nor any of our allies should ever have any reason to doubt that resolve.

I am encouraged that Turkey has condemned the violence in Benghazi.
There is absolutely no justification for what happened in Cairo, Benghazi, or Yemen. None. We must do everything within our power to protect our representatives overseas and hunt down those responsible for these attacks.

There were warnings yesterday that other attacks on other embassies may be imminent. This is a gravely serious moment. But America does not shrink from the defense of its core values or its interests overseas. We must project strength.

The unrest in the Middle East--in Libya, Egypt, and especially the Sinai, Yemen, and Syria--presents a profound and formidable challenge to our interests, in addition to the U.S. Central Command, and to our allies. None of our Nation's enemies--al-Qaida, other violent extremists, Hezbollah, and especially Iran--should view this moment as a window of American vulnerability. Now is the moment to send a clear signal to longstanding allies such as Israel that they can rely on our support. And every member of our armed services, diplomatic corps, and intelligence community should know they have our support and gratitude in the challenging days that lie ahead.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.


Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, anyone who happened to be watching the Senate floor a little earlier today got a taste of why, in the midst of a national job crisis, Americans are still in danger of being slammed by one of the biggest tax hikes in history; why the U.S. military is today at risk of cuts that would devastate national security; and why there is now a very good chance another major ratings agency will downgrade our Nation's credit.

There is a reason all these things may actually happen, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Republicans:

The Nation is at risk of an entirely avoidable economic calamity because the President of the United States and the Democrats who control the Senate would rather spend their time picking apart Paul Ryan and his budget plan--which the House has already passed--than producing one of their own. They would rather sit on the sidelines and hope people focus on the other guy's attempts to solve our most pressing domestic problems than bother to do anything about them themselves. This has been the Democratic M.O. for 2 long years, and it is a disgrace.

Later today the House will pass a 6-month continuing resolution to fund the government beyond the end of the month. Why? Well, because Democrats refuse to do the basic work of government. The Democratic Senate hasn't passed a budget in more than 3 years. This year they haven't passed a single appropriations bill. For 2 years Democrats have done nothing--nothing but cast blame.

The law says Democrats have to pass a budget. A simple majority can pass a budget. The law has been ignored. The President proposed a budget of his own. They have opposed that one as well.

The Nation is just 3 1/2 months away from going off a fiscal cliff, and they actually seem to welcome it because their overriding goal isn't to help the American people find work, it isn't to get a handle on the debt, it isn't to give small businesses a boost, it is to make government even bigger than it already is. And they are perfectly willing to let the country plunge into an even deeper economic mess to ensure they get the bigger government they want. That is how extreme Washington Democrats have become.

They are on an ideological crusade. They spent the first 2 years of this Presidency putting their policies in place, and when they lost their big majorities in Congress they decided to sit on their hands rather than change their approach, as all of these challenges built and built and built.

For 2 years this President got absolutely everything he wanted legislatively. Aided by giant majorities in both Houses of Congress and goaded on by a chief of staff who told him to brush aside any pleas for bipartisanship, he spent 2 years putting into place the big government agenda he and his liberal allies had dreamed of--an agenda so extreme that their biggest challenge was making sure Members of their own party didn't defect.

The results of those efforts are clear for all to see. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 43 straight months. Growth is an anemic 1.5 percent, the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. The Federal debt is a stratospheric $16 trillion. A full 15 percent of Americans are now on food stamps. The Census Bureau said just yesterday that household incomes have declined every year of the Obama administration, and one out of six Americans is living in poverty. And the labor participation rate--the percentage of those who can work who are actually working--is at its lowest point in decades.

If we count people who have given up looking for work, unemployment is above 11 percent, not the 8 percent we read about. These are the grim realities of the Obama economy. And make no mistake, the framework for it was laid in 2009 and 2010.

So, yes, President Obama and Governor Romney have different philosophies on how to lead America back to prosperity. But the biggest difference is this: One of them has had 4 years to implement his vision, and it should be obvious to everyone it has been a total failure. It has failed to lift us out of a jobs crisis. It has helped prevent the type of recovery we all know is entirely possible. Yet all we get from the President or from Democrats in Congress is feel-good rhetoric, attacks on Republicans who are actually working to solve our problems, and political show votes that are deliberately designed to fail.

Blame the other guy and maybe people will not notice your own refusal to lead or the implications of your own vision. Because, make no mistake, in order to fund the government this President wants, there would be no choice but to go after the very middle class he claims to be fighting for.

That is the dirty little secret behind the President's vision for America. That is the math he didn't mention in Charlotte, and that is the real story about what has been going on around here for 2 long years. The President and Democrats in Congress laid the foundation for the economy we are in right now. They were so sure it would work that the President said if it didn't, he wouldn't deserve reelection. Well, it didn't.

So for the last 2 years Republicans in Congress have done everything we could to convince the President to go in a different direction, to change course. He didn't. He doubled down on the same failed policies, and when he wasn't able to get them through Congress, he blamed Republicans for the consequences. Well, blaming us for the results of his policies is almost as ridiculous as concluding that the vision behind them will be any more successful over the next 4 years than it has been over the last 4 years.

It is time for Democrats, from the President on down, to stop blaming others and to start leading. Our problems are too serious and our challenge is too urgent to wait another day to act.


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