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Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act of 2014 -- Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I will start by acknowledging the majority leader's candor yesterday in outlining his party's agenda for the rest of the year--in admitting he actually asked his party's ``political arm,'' the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, to come up with it. Maybe he didn't intend to admit that his party's so-called agenda is actually a political gambit or that it basically has one intent--to bail out imperiled Democrats, Democrats desperate to distract from how ObamaCare is devastating the middle class--but it slipped out anyway.

But that wasn't the only Freudian slip we heard at yesterday's press conference. Here is a quote from one of the majority leader's top lieutenants:

When we play the political games that we're playing here, [middle-class families] feel that we are detached from their priorities.

Boy, I couldn't agree more with that. Maybe that is why even the press isn't taking this ``agenda'' seriously. The New York Times reported that helping struggling Americans is ``not really the point'' of Democrats' agenda and that a main goal is actually just ``to motivate the Democratic base'' and drive turnout in places they need to win in November. The Times also noted that the show votes associated with the Democratic agenda ``will be timed to coincide with campaign-style trips [by the President].'' According to the Washington Post, ``Democrats hope to use the votes ..... as fodder ..... in hopes of staving off potential losses in several states.''

Look, it doesn't get any more cynical than that--to demonstrate such a total lack of seriousness in such troubling times for the middle class.

At this point Washington Democrats are in the sixth year of trying to fix the economy, and the middle class continues to suffer. It is just not working.

As I have been saying for months now, this presents Washington Democrats with a choice. One option they have is to try something different. This means coming to the middle and working with us on bipartisan solutions that can create jobs, increase take-home pay, and give a leg up to the middle class. The other option is to double down on failed ideology and political gimmicks--the kinds of things that get the Democrats' leftwing base all excited.

In short, Washington Democrats have a choice between helping the middle class and pleasing the left. So when they release a poll-tested, campaign-crafted ObamaCare distraction ``agenda'' packed to the brim with ``lefty show votes,'' I think middle-class families can tell whose side Washington Democrats are really on. It is certainly not their side.

The people we represent all deserve better than this. They are hurting, really hurting, and all Washington Democrats seem to have for them is a bunch of show votes. I mean, how will show votes help our constituents? How will they help the people who have been writing to me about the impact of ObamaCare on themselves and their families?

One woman who wrote me from Louisville had been enrolled in Kentucky's high-risk pool for people with preexisting conditions. She said she had been battling cancer for years and that in 2012 her cancer metastasized and moved into her liver, pelvis, lung, and diaphragm. Just imagine hearing devastating news like that. Now imagine hearing a year or so later that you are going to lose the insurance you liked too, insurance that had helped you manage your cancer treatment, and, worse, that your new ObamaCare plan was going to classify your chemo medicine as a specialty drug that costs more than $1,000 for a 3-week supply. ObamaCare, this constituent wrote, ``is about as helpful in saving my life as a wet paper sack to help cover me from the rain.''

I would note she contacted me because she wanted me to know that ObamaCare stories like hers are anything but ``lies,'' despite what some in this Chamber might imply.

Does anyone really think constituents like her care about some show vote? No. What she needs is relief from ObamaCare.

So does another Kentuckian, who wrote me from Henderson County, whose premium will jump $400 a month to over $1,100 a month under ObamaCare. He wrote:

Americans were told that we could ..... keep our existing policy [if we chose]. ..... Not only was [this] a lie--[it's] a lie that will cost me an additional $700 per month!

How is a political show vote going to help him? Of course it isn't. And there is not a thing the Democratic Party's ``political arm'' can do to fix these problems.

Kentuckians and countless Americans suffering under ObamaCare need real solutions--not gimmicks, not base-pleasing ideology. Solutions are what is needed.

Look, Washington Democrats forced America's middle class into this impossible situation. They basically blocked every reasonable attempt to reform this law or to change it in any meaningful way. Yet now ObamaCare is becoming politically difficult for them. They are deflecting blame. Just this morning we saw several imperiled Obama Democrats spin an op-ed that underscores the point, but Americans are not going to be fooled by any of this. Americans agree it is time for Washington Democrats to work with us to remedy the mess they created, and that means repealing this law and replacing it with real reform.

It is time for them to work with us on a real jobs agenda too, and to take up the numerous bills the House has already sent over and get them onto the President's desk.

Americans are fed up with the games and the tricks. They want serious solutions. They don't need a campaign poster to figure that out, and Republicans believe it is about time the American people got those solutions.


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