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Public Statements

Marketplace Fairness Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. REID. Mr. President, the Senate operates by cooperation and consent. So it is unfortunate that we could not reach an agreement yesterday to consider amendments to the Marketplace Fairness Act, a measure that will provide parity between brick-and-mortar retailers and online stores.

A few Senators have held up this important legislation--and I mean a few--legislation which proponents have advocated for 11 years. The able sponsors of this bill--Senators Enzi, Durbin, and Alexander--are continuing to work to get an agreement on a list of amendments upon which the Senate could vote.

Three-quarters of the Senate support this measure. A number of those who do not vote with us do not oppose this legislation, they are doing it for other reasons. This is overwhelmingly important legislation, but, as we saw with the background check measure and the other gun matters last week, here in the Senate a minority of Senators can block even measures with overwhelming support. We found that on background checks. This bill is no exception. Despite 75 votes to proceed to the Marketplace Fairness Act, just a few individual Senators are vowing to derail this legislation. Absent consent, we will vote on closure on this measure an hour after we convene tomorrow.

I remain open to an agreement to consider amendments to this legislation. The proponents of this legislation have worked for a long time to move forward. They worked all day yesterday and the day before to come up with a list of amendments. No one is trying to prevent amendments, except a handful of Senators. I am eager to conduct an open debate on this bill, but time is winding down. One way or another we are going to finish work on this measure before we leave for our instate work period, even if it takes the weekend. Those people--that handful of people--should understand that. The calendar is simply too full to allow this important measure to hold over until next month.

The Senate must complete work on job-creating water resource legislation and a farm bill during the May work period so we can move forward on the immigration debate in June. We have had eight Senators who have spent days, weeks, working on an immigration bill. We have a bipartisan bill coming to the Senate with a system to fix our broken immigration system, just like we have a bipartisan bill on the Senate floor today.

The only way we get things done around here is with Senators working together. The immigration bill is a good example of that, and this bill is a good example. We cannot let a few people stand in the way of fairness. That is what this is all about.

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