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Public Statements

Senate Leadership

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, it is astounding to me that after putting the Nation through the self-inflicted travesty of last year's debt ceiling debacle that we are facing another manufactured crisis this year. With a fiscal cliff that never would have existed if the Senate had remained in session, had fewer recesses, and maximized every legislative day, based on the job we were elected to do, as I have argued virtually throughout this entire Congress.

According to a recent study, illustrated by this chart, deferring last year's debt ceiling to the eleventh hour in August produced the highest level of policy uncertainty of any event that occurred over the last 20 years. That includes 9/11, the financial crisis, the fall of Lehman, and the Iraq war.

We have now heard from CBO as well as Fed Chairman Bernanke. Both have indicated we could trigger another recession next year if we fail to address the fiscal cliff. Yet here we are in the Senate in September scheduled to adjourn sometime this week for nearly 2 months after just returning from a 5-week break. When I was running for reelection in 2000 when the Republicans were in the majority, we had our last vote on November 1 and did not adjourn until November 3, a few days before the election.

I call on the majority leader to have us remain in session to lay the groundwork for a bipartisan solutions on these monumental issues. I have urged this in a letter I sent last April, because it is absolutely pivotal for this country. If we had not had the policy uncertainty of 2006 through 2011, we would have 2 1/2 million more jobs in America today.

The Senate has wasted years, 2 precious years in the life of America with intransigence and inaction. America deserves better.


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