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:
“Members of Congress and all Americans look forward to hearing from President Obama tonight in his first address in the House Chamber. After we passed and he signed the economic recovery plan into law, the President can confidently tell the American people that we have begun filling with dirt the deep economic ditch he inherited.
“Throughout his campaign and now the first weeks of his presidency, President Obama has told it to us straight. He will not sugarcoat the challenges we face or paint a rosy picture of a rapid recovery. He will surely call upon all of us to lend a hand, to put politics aside and to continue working together not as two parties but as one country.
“In these early days of the 111thCongress, we have done just that. With the goodwill and earnest hard work of Democrats and Republicans alike, we passed a historic wilderness bill that has been called the most significant environmental legislation in a quarter-century. We passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help employees fight cases of wage discrimination and ensure the principle of equal pay for equal work. We passed a new Children’s Health Insurance Program to provide health coverage to millions of children of low-income families. And we passed President Obama’s economic recovery plan to begin creating jobs, investing in our workforce and providing tax relief to working families.
“Although we are moving America forward, we are in the early rounds of this fight. Without further steps, our economic crisis will likely grow worse, not better. That’s why all of us, Democrats, Republicans, Members of Congress and all Americans, need to pick up a shovel and keep filling our economic ditch with dirt.
“We and the Obama Administration will help millions of American families keep their homes – and stem the tide of falling home values for the tens of millions of families who have done nothing wrong yet continue to see their home equity disappear. We will implement banking reform to begin to unfreeze wheels of credit once again so that families can buy cars and send their children to college, and businesses can manage inventory and hire new workers – all while implementing new oversight to protect the American people from a future banking crisis. And we will pass a budget that reflects the priorities of America’s working families and safeguards every dollar of taxpayer funds.
“Throughout this recession, the American people have been bombarded with bad news, yet they remain patient for the tough choices and hard days still to come. The people of Nevada, a state hit harder than almost any other, understand that this turnaround won’t happen over night, but they expect the Congress to put progress over politics in every decision we make.
“Yesterday, President Obama said that it is the obligation of the majority party to be inclusive, and the obligation of the minority to be constructive. If we keep those words in mind, these critical next weeks of legislating will provide us with an opportunity to fill this ditch and begin building mountains once again.”