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Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I caught some of the dog-and-pony show that Republicans put on this morning on the floor of the Senate, and I thought it was pretty indicative of their approach to this entire Congress--all politics, no participation. Someone must have reminded them this morning that they are 47 days away from an election and that for the last 624 days of this Congress, they have done nothing but say no.

But I am here to say that an hour of speeches on the Senate floor cannot erase an entire Congress of obstruction. In fact, the Republicans' show this morning reminded me of a move I have seen many times before as a former preschool teacher and as a mom who has watched a lot of kids go through school. It reminded me how on the very last day of school before summer there was always one student who had not done their homework all year long, and on that last day they showed up on their best behavior, homework in hand, hoping to leave a good impression. They thought maybe this last-ditch effort could help them avoid a bad grade.

Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

So let me assure Republicans of one thing: Their record of obstruction and their refusal to compromise will not go away at the eleventh hour. One-minute speeches on the day before they go to face voters cannot paper over 100 filibusters. It will not change the fact that almost 2 years ago the Senate minority leader revealed that his No. 1 priority was--not working to get Americans back to work, it was not bringing our economy back from the brink, it was not ensuring that America remained a leader at home and abroad, no--to defeat President Obama, it was playing politics, just as we saw this morning.

There has been, seemingly, no group of Americans--well, with the exception of millionaires and billionaires--who have been spared in the Republicans' efforts to achieve their goals--not our teachers, not our college students, not our farmers, not construction workers, not first responders, not even our Nation's veterans have been spared their efforts to destroy the work of this Congress.

There was no better example of that than yesterday here on the floor of the U.S. Senate. The Veterans Jobs Corps bill that we brought to the floor included 12 provisions to help veterans find jobs.

Eight of them. Let me repeat that. Eight of those provisions were Republican ideas. This bill was fully paid for. It was based on existing grant programs that are putting Americans to work. It would have allowed the veterans to serve their communities. It would have given unemployed veterans the self-esteem that a job provides. It would have allowed them to support their families and help ease that transition back home.

That bill came at a time when one in four young veterans today is out of work. It came at a time when our military and veteran suicide rates are outpacing combat deaths and when more and more, as we all know, veterans are coming home today. The American Legion supported it. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America supported it. The problem was, it seemed, President Obama supported it. So we know from everything we have seen and attempted on the Senate floor, no matter how good or bad of an idea, no matter which struggling American would benefit, it seems that if the President supports it, you can pretty much guarantee Senate Republicans will not.

That is the legacy the Senate Republicans are going to take home to voters, the legacy that when middle-class American families needed their help the most, they refused to compromise to get things done; that when Americans were hurting, they put politics before people; that they set a goal of not participating, and they followed through on that at every single turn. No amount of snappy speeches is going to change that. No last-minute appeals for leniency will change that record.

In fact, it is ironic that this morning all of the Republican Senators showed up on the floor because for the last 2 years, when the American people have needed them the most, they have been absent.


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