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Public Statements

Working Together

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I come to the floor to follow the remarks of our Republican leader on the President's pivot to the economy. Over the last 4 years, the Obama administration has given us one of the biggest economic experiments in American history. The numbers tell the story. Under this President, the Federal Government has increased the Federal debt by $6.1 trillion, raised taxes by $1.7 trillion, and imposed $518 billion worth of new regulations. The President, when he came to office, when he had a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House--in other words, his party controlled all branches of the legislative and executive branch--got virtually everything he wanted.

He got a $1 trillion stimulus package. He wanted a government takeover of America's health care system and that is what he got. He wanted extensive new regulations for the financial industry and he got that too. He wanted to impose, through the Environmental Protection Agency, radical environmental regulations and that is what he got as well.

From 2009 through 2010, until the voters spoke in November 2010, our friends on the other side of the aisle controlled the White House, the House of Representatives under Speaker Pelosi, and the Senate. They got virtually everything they wanted. That was their great experiment, to see whether a growing and intrusive and expanding Federal Government was the answer to our economic challenges and high unemployment.

We now know what the results have been. America's unemployment rate hit 10 percent for the first time since the early 1980s and it stayed above 8 percent for 43 straight months. Meanwhile, many Americans have simply given up looking for work. How do we know that? The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes something they call the labor participation rate. We know the percentage of people in the workforce is the lowest it has been for more than 30 years. That is a tragedy. Add it all up and we have been experiencing the weakest economic recovery and the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Even by the President's own measuring stick, by his own standards, his economic record has been a huge disappointment. Hence, his repetitive pivots to the economy, time and time again, particularly at a time when his administration is having to answer a lot of hard questions about various scandals. But I am with Speaker Boehner. I say: Welcome, Mr. President. Let's talk about the economy. Let's talk about what works and what does not work.

I think we know now what does not work, which is another government program that raises taxes, increases regulations, and creates uncertainty on the job creators upon whom we are depending to put America back to work.

As a Washington Post correspondent noted this past week:

The President promised 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016. But factory employment has fallen for the last 4 months, and on net is only 13,000 jobs toward that goal.

There is some good news. I was on the floor yesterday, admittedly bragging a little bit about the economic growth in my State, in Texas, and one of the reasons is because we are taking advantage of the innovation and the technology boom in the energy production business and we are actually seeing a huge movement back onshore, to the United States, of a lot of manufacturing because of the low price of natural gas. But, unfortunately, the President does not seem to recognize the benefits of producing our own domestic natural energy and what that would mean in terms of bringing jobs back onshore and creating more manufacturing jobs.

The President has promised to increase net take-home pay and expand the middle class. You may recall particularly on the health care bill he said it would reduce health care premiums by $2,500 for a family of four. Unfortunately, he proved to be wrong because the cost has actually gone up $2,400 for a family of four, not down. We know from Labor Department statistics that median earnings for American families have fallen by 4 percent since the recession ended.

I think even its most ardent advocates now are coming to the realization that ObamaCare is not working out the way they had hoped. Indeed, I was on the floor a few days ago with a letter from three union leaders who said that basically it is turning out to be a disaster. It is hurting their own members. Again, these are people who were for ObamaCare, saying it is not turning out the way we had hoped.

The administration itself has implicitly acknowledged this by saying the employer mandate; that is, the requirement for people who employ 50 people or more, is stifling job creation and prompting many companies to take full-time jobs and turn them into part-time jobs. Between March and June, the number of Americans working part time jumped from 7.6 million to 8.2 million. I think the administration saw that number and it scared them a little bit, as it should. Hence, they delayed the employer mandate for another year, unilaterally.

A new survey finds that in response to ObamaCare, 74 percent of small businesses are going to reduce hiring, reduce worker hours, or replace full-time employees with part-time employees.

I am not suggesting those of us who did not vote for ObamaCare should be rejoicing in this development. Indeed, I think it is a sad moment. But even its most ardent advocates are finding out that their hopes and their dreams and their wishes for this government takeover are not turning out the way they should. Again, this is not a time for anyone to spike the ball or to rejoice in the failure of this program. This is a time for us to work together to say: OK, there are people who opposed ObamaCare. They ended up being right in their predictions. There were those who supported ObamaCare and unfortunately for the country it did not work out the way they had hoped. Now is the perfect time for us to come together and say: What do we do next to prevent the failure of this health care takeover by the Federal Government hurting the very people it was supposed to help? This is an opportunity for us to work together to do that.

We need to do something different. Someone said a long time ago that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It is not going to happen so we need to do something different. We need to do something different in terms of delivering access to quality health care and making it affordable. Instead of more tax increases and more temporary tax gimmicks, we need fundamental tax reform. This is something that Republicans and Democrats I think all agree on. The President himself said he believes we need to do revenue-neutral corporate tax reform that lowers the rates, broadens the base, and gives us a revenue system that is more conducive to strong economic growth.

Instead of having people in politics pick winners and losers in the economy or pick which parts of the law to enforce and which parts to waive, we need to dismantle what is left of ObamaCare and replace it with sensible, patient-centered alternatives that will lower costs, improve access to quality, and not interfere with that important doctor-patient relationship--something the Senator from Wyoming has eloquently spoken about many times.

Instead of letting the Environmental Protection Agency regulate our entire economy, we need to expand domestic energy production by eliminating misguided Federal regulations. Instead of adopting energy policies that hamper job creation, we need to adopt policies that help promote jobs such as approving the Keystone Pipeline from Canada and not trying to overregulate something that is already subject to State regulation, such as fracking.

Here in Washington, people act as though this horizontal drilling and this fracking process is something new. We have been doing it in Texas for 60 years and it has been regulated by the oil and gas regulator in our State. They protected the water supply and benefited job creation and economic growth for a long time.

I understand it is hard for those of us who were wrong about their predictions for many of these policies to say: You know what. It did not work out the way we planned. None of us are relishing the failure of some of these policies, but we need to work together and get outside of our ideological comfort zone and address the problem of chronic high unemployment, the fact that our young people are graduating from college and they cannot find jobs. They know they are going to be burdened by the debt we continue to rack up, and that our economy is bouncing along the bottom. I am afraid if we continue with the policies of the last 4 years we will create a lost generation of young Americans who cannot find good, full-time jobs.

None of us--Republicans and Democrats alike--wants that to happen, but it is time we did something about it.

I yield the floor.


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