Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today it was reported that China has surpassed Japan as the top holder of United States debt. One out of every 10 dollars of American debt now belongs to the Chinese.
“As we fall further into debt, our climb from recession back to economic prosperity grows steeper. In light of these challenges, there is no reason for Congress to wait until January – we can pass critical legislation this week. We can pass it today.
“On Monday, we introduced a comprehensive economic stimulus plan which, in our view, is the first step down a long, steep road to economic recovery. Our legislation was worked out with the Appropriations, Finance and Agriculture Committees. Our legislation would:
- Invest in infrastructure to create jobs;
- Extend unemployment insurance for those who are out of work;
- Provide food stamps to help more struggling families make ends meet;
- Provide state fiscal relief to prevent states from being forced to cut services and raise taxes; and
- Provide aid to the ailing U.S. auto industry, whose desperation for assistance seems to grow exponentially by the day.
“It is important to understand that the authority to provide funds to the auto industry lies with the Treasury Department. The Federal Reserve can also provide funds.
“As the Senate considers whether to pass an auto aid package, either in this legislation or in other legislation, we all need to remember that what we are deciding is whether Congress will apply additional terms to funds that the Treasury Department can and should ultimately provide.
“Therefore, although I hope we can pass legislation to aid the auto industry this week, no one should be overly concerned if we are unable to reach agreement to do so. It will still be up to the White House and the Treasury Department to take the steps that I believe are necessary and warranted.”