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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, a report this week from Harvard's Institute of Politics reveals just how devastating the President's policies have been for Americans under 30. Despite the fact that most millennials have attended college, only about 60 percent of them have been able to find a job, and half of them are only working part time.

For many young Americans, this suggests the American dream is already drifting out of reach. It should not be this way.

Previous generations of Americans faced great challenges, but until now younger Americans could always expect they would eventually achieve greater prosperity than their parents, and that their children would do even better. Now the opposite appears to be the case. This should be shocking to all of us, especially considering that this generation of young people came into its own in an era of relative peace and prosperity. For many of us, just going to college was a pretty big deal. For today's younger generation, it was the obvious next step.

Many of us watched our parents save diligently for the simplest of luxuries. A lot of today's young people couldn't relate to those stories until now. They grew up in an age of dot-com booms and easy credit.

As college degrees no longer translate into fulfilling careers and as the Obama economy continues its year-long stagnation, much has changed for a generation that once seemed to have everything going for it. Recent figures from the Congressional Budget Office help tell the story. According to CBO, in 2014 the United States will see a sixth consecutive year of 7.5 percent-plus unemployment. The last time the United States jobs picture was that bad, Americans were still huddling around the family radio.

For 2 years, the President has been saying that raising taxes on the rich would solve our problems. Yet CBO notes that while taxes are set to jump above their historic level, the added revenues from taxes that rose due to operation of law last month will mean almost nothing when it comes to dealing with America's long-term fiscal challenges. This is because CBO has also warned that spending, which already exceeds the historic average, will continue its unsustainable climb in the years ahead.

In fact, over the next decade, red ink will spike by trillions to levels unseen in peacetime America. If interest rates go up, as most expect, it will be even harder for young Americans to purchase a home. The CBO warns that if interest payments on our debt skyrocket, it will be even more difficult to guarantee the eventual availability of Social Security and Medicare for today's graduates. If wages fall as a result of the smaller economy that comes from the government's increased debt payments, then we can be quite certain that today's generation will know less prosperity than their parents do.

These are some of the negative consequences of failing to get spending under control. Things are set to get much worse unless we act quickly.

Has the White House reached out to Republicans to solve these pressing economic and fiscal challenges? I wish. Instead, it has turned once again to gimmicks and tax hikes that only serve to delay solutions. Earlier this week the President even proposed more tax hikes to offset a sequester that he himself proposed and he already signed into law. If he agrees with us there is a smarter way to make these cuts, he should propose it, not just call on others to act.

I will tell you this right now: My constituents in Kentucky and the American people will not accept another tax increase to put off a spending cut that the two parties have already agreed to. We have already agreed to cut this much spending. It is the definition of dysfunction that it might not happen.

This morning I am again calling on the President and his congressional allies to put politics aside at least for once. The election is over. The time to govern is right now, to make divided government work for the American people who chose it. We owe Americans action, not rhetoric. We owe it to the millions of college graduates out of work. We owe it to the strivers who find themselves still living in their parents' basement. They are all counting on us to enact real bipartisan solutions, solutions that can get our economy moving again today and can ensure greater prosperity tomorrow.

Is Washington up to the task? Republicans are, and we are still here ready to work for the President as soon as he is prepared to get down to business.

I yield the floor.

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