Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today at a press conference unveiling his proposals to aid struggling families and strengthen the economy. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“In recent weeks, Washington responded to the financial crisis by quickly developing a bipartisan plan to restore stability to the financial markets. It’s long past time to deliver that same help directly to working families in Nevada and throughout the country.
“For too long, working families have faced rising prices for everything from health care to gas, while incomes have declined. Millions face foreclosure on their homes, and Nevada has been especially affected with the nation’s highest foreclosure rate.
“Nevada families in particular are struggling. According to UNLV, the southern Nevada economy is already in a recession and has been since late last year. All of the leading economy indicators have declined in the past 12 months. Clark County alone has lost 15,000 jobs since October 2007, led by the housing downturn. For the month of September, residential building permits are down more than 50 percent since July of this year.
“Because of this and more, I am putting forward recovery proposals for America’s middle class that will greatly benefit Nevada. These proposals incorporate many of the well-thought elements of the package proposed by Senator Barack Obama, who deserves credit for leading the national discussion with a steady hand during this challenging time.
“First, we want to create good-paying jobs. By rebuilding our roads and bridges. Investing in school modernization. And using the tax code to encourage businesses to hire more Americans here at home, rather than sending jobs overseas.
“Second, we would provide relief to struggling Nevada families. By extending tax-free unemployment benefits for those looking for work. And helping families afford high cooling and heating costs.
“Third, we would help Nevada homeowners. By requiring the Federal government to be more aggressive in using their authority to modify the terms of mortgages. By assisting states and localities in order to prevent property taxes from skyrocketing. And by ending discrimination against Americans who own only one home by allowing them to get the same bankruptcy relief as is already provided to those who have two – or even seven – homes.
“Finally, I am calling for a more aggressive response to the immediate financial crisis we face. By supporting small businesses, states and localities that are finding it extremely difficult to borrow needed funds. And by using the broad range of tools available under the new financial crisis legislation to help unfreeze markets for individual mortgages, student loans, and credit card loans.
“These proposals would help reverse the failed policies of the past eight years and, at long last, put the middle class first. I thank Senator Obama for his excellent work in contributing to these ideas.”