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Floor Statement on the President's Remarks Regarding the Fiscal Cliff

Location: Washington, DC

I rise for a moment to associate myself with the Senator from Tennessee, the Senator from Arizona, and the Senator from South Carolina. I want to tell a personal story somewhat like the Senator from South Carolina.

I made my living my entire life before I got here for 33 years selling houses, causing two people to come together and agree on price, agree on terms, sign and shake on a deal, and walk away from a closing table feeling like both of them won.

I have also been elected to every legislative body I could be elected to in my State, and I have served in legislatures for 34 years. I have negotiated deals and been on conference committees, and I never once found myself making a deal by intimidating or insulting the other side.

What the President did this afternoon set us back in civility and in leadership and in dealmaking, and I am a big enough guy to know I am not going to take it personally. If the desire was to offend me, the speech did. But if the desire was to deter me, it did not.

It is time we all found ways to come together as Americans and solve our problems, not just in the short run but in the long run; not fill our room with partisan supporters, but, instead, cause everybody to sit together around the table and find a way to make a deal.

This is the greatest country on the face of this Earth, and it will continue to be unless we forget what got us here. What got us here are the American people, not the American politicians. The American businessman, the American entrepreneur, the American worker, the American laborer, and the American leaders--people who, through their sweat, their blood, and their toil built businesses, built factories, built companies, and made this great enterprise known as the United States of America work.

If we want to raise our revenue--sure, you can raise by percentage your revenue by raising your assessment, but if you lower your base your revenue goes down. What we need to do is empower our base by raising the prosperity of the American businessman, the American employee, and the American worker. As their prosperity rises, taxes will go up not because we are charging them more by rate, but because they are making more. The rate and what they pay goes up because they are more prosperous.

You will never raise the revenue you need by insulting the American people or taking away the incentives to work, make a living, maybe take a risk and be an entrepreneur. So while we had a speech today--the intention of which I don't know, but it probably protracted and delayed what we are trying to do here today, and that is find a way to come back and fight another day.

I agree with Senator Graham. The big battle is yet to come, and it is over the debt ceiling. It is going to be a big battle, and I share every comment and every sentiment that Senator Graham said because that is the one where we have to find a way to make a deal. The President is not going to make a deal by poking us in the eye and by charging one side against the other to try and have a win-win proposition. I never made a deal if it wasn't a win-win proposition. I always lost a deal when I made it a win-lose proposition.

I am at the table. I will continue to negotiate. I want to make this country work, but let's work together. Let's find common ground. In the eleventh hour and in the twelfth hour, let's do what is right for the American people.

I want to thank Senator Graham, Senator Corker, and Senator McCain for their remarks. I associate myself with them, and I yield the floor.

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