Senate Democrats

REID: IT’S TIME FOR CONGRESS TO WORK FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

Washington, DCSenate Democratic Leader Harry Reid delivered the following remarks today at a Democratic rally against Republican corruption. A fact sheet on the Republican Leadership’s abuse of power follows below.

Remarks prepared for delivery:

“All of us here today love our country. That’s why we refuse to settle for the unsettled situation we now have in this country. We know America can do better, and that together, there’s no limit to what our country can accomplish.

“We can be energy independent. We can have a health care system that’s affordable and accessible. We can make America safe and secure. And we can have a government that is as good as its people. But to do that, we must reform the way things are done in Washington.

“I’ve been in public service for over 40 years, and there’s never been a Congress as corrupt as this Republican Congress …and it’s not their ethical problems I’m talking about! It’s their unwillingness to address the people’s priorities. Under the Republicans – - special interests get all the gifts and the American people get forgotten.

“Look at what’s happened in 2005:

“Every time Democrats tried to do something about high gas prices… the cost of health care… security… education… pensions… or for middle-class families, Republicans helped their special interest friends instead. They gave billions to Big Oil. They chose drug companies over seniors. And they even came to work in the middle of the night to intervene in one Florida family’s tragedy, but we all know how they ignored thousands of families on the Gulf Coast.

“America has a moral compass, and Republicans are reading it upside down. Their priorities are misplaced. Their policies are out-of-touch. And they are pessimistic if they think this is the best America can do.

“Democrats have so much hope for America. We’re committed to reform. The American people are working hard. It’s time for Congress to work for them – - not against them. Next year, we need to give gifts to those who deserve it – - the American people.”

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THE REPUBLICAN ABUSE OF POWER SHINES THROUGH THIS WEEK

As the Republican Congress moves to finish its business for the year, their special interest agenda of consistent abuses of power is shining through like never before. Faced with an immoral budget and special interest demands, the Republican leadership has decided to abuse their power and put the priorities of the special interests before the interests of the American people.

Abusing their Power by Imposing Immoral Budget Cuts. The Republican leadership in the House and Senate are pushing through a budget that cuts spending for a number of vital programs for working Americans:

Eliminating health care for thousands and increasing; costs for millions; Cutting child support enforcement Cutting student loans; Cutting food stamps; Imposing draconian work requirements for needy families

Abusing their Power by Spending $20 Billion on Tax Breaks for Millionaires. Forty-five percent of the benefits of tax cuts for capital gains and dividends go to taxpayers with incomes of $1 million or more, 0.3 percent of all taxpayers. The average tax cut for taxpayers with incomes of $1 million or more resulting from the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends under the House bill is $32,111 in 2009. The average tax cut for families with $50,000 in income or less is $20. [Tax Policy Center]

Abusing their Power by Breaking the Rules to Push Through Special Interest Legislation. Faced with the inability to pass their immoral budget with a special interest provision to allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Republican leadership will break the rules to tack the provision onto the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill. [CongressDaily PM, 12/15/05]

Abusing their Power by Ignoring the Threat of a Pandemic Flu Outbreak. Despite widespread public warnings about the threat of an avian flu pandemic, the Republican leadership stripped out funding to protect Americans from this threat. The Labor-HHS-Education appropriations conference report eliminates a Senate-passed provision to provide $8 billion in funding for avian flu preparations. [HR 3010, 12/15/05]

Abusing their Power by Providing Special Interest Protections for the Drug Industry. The Republican leadership is attempting to tuck into an appropriations conference report a provision to provide unlimited liability protection to the drug industry while providing no compensation to any potential victims of defective avian flu vaccines. “Terms of legislation circulating on Capitol Hill state that people injured by a vaccine against bird flu would have to prove willful misconduct to bring a claim for damages. The legislation did not include a compensation program for victims harmed by a vaccine.” [Associated Press, 12/14/05]

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