Washington, DC— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate to open the June work period. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“At the beginning of each of this year’s work periods, we have returned to the capital from all corners of the country reminded of the serious challenges we face.
“American families are looking up from the deepest ditch in generations, a hole we all inherited and one from which we are committed to climbing out.
“Like Americans who worry about how they will pay the bills, send their kids to school and afford to stay healthy, getting our economy back on track is the first thing we think about in the morning and the last thing we think about at night.
“But we also know we are headed in the right direction. Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada is home to the largest solar array of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Last week, President Obama and I toured the Nellis solar array, and met the people who benefit from the tens of thousands of solar panels that help power the base.
“It is an example of exactly the kind of project that creates jobs, moves America toward energy independence and makes the air we breathe cleaner. Because of the economic recovery plan we passed earlier this year, we are investing in projects like the one at Nellis and put America back on the path to prosperity.
“In the past few weeks, we have seen the good that can happen when we look out for Main Street, not just Wall Street. There is no reason the next few should be any different.
“And like the early months of this year, the next one presents a long list of priorities. Before the July 4 holiday:
- We will help stop kids from smoking before they start, make tobacco products less toxic, and make sure tobacco companies are honest with the American people about the dangers of smoking.
- We will pass the conference report of the supplemental appropriations bill we passed last month – a bill that gives our brave troops the resources they need to do their jobs and return home safely.
- Both the HELP and Finance Committees will continue to work on health care reform legislation, the top priority of President Obama and millions of Americans. Both committees hope to report out legislation before the July 4th recess.
- We will begin work on a number of appropriations bills, and, with Republican cooperation, would like to finish work on some of those.
- We will continue working to confirm President Obama’s many nominees for critical positions. Those who have chosen to serve our country must be able to get to work without delay.
“And we will begin the process of reviewing the most high-profile nominee of all – President Obama’s outstanding pick for the Supreme Court. Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s record and qualifications are tremendous. In fact, if she is confirmed, she will bring to the bench more judicial experience than any sitting justice had when they joined the Court.
“But Judge Sotomayor’s experience comes not only from the legal world, but the real world as well. Her understanding of the law is grounded not only in theory, but also in practice.
“Several Senators will have the pleasure of meeting with Judge Sotomayor this week, and I know they will be impressed. Judge Sotomayor deserves a fair and respectful hearing, and I will do all I can to ensure that is exactly what she gets.”