Washington, DC –
Nevada Senator Harry Reid today led the U.S. Senate in overcoming a major procedural hurdle on the HIRE Act, the first of several bills as part of the Senate’s jobs agenda. The jobs bill, which could be passed as early as Wednesday, has four key provisions that would create jobs this year:
- Payroll tax holiday for businesses to encourage hiring;
- Section 179 Expensing to help small businesses expand;
- Extension of the Highway Trust Fund allowing for billions in infrastructure investment and saving one million jobs; and
- Expansion of Build America Bonds program to allow states to borrow more for infrastructure projects.
Following today’s vote, Reid spoke about its importance on the Senate floor. Following are Reid’s remarks:
“Madam President, I hope this is the beginning of a new day here in the Senate. Whether this new day was created by the new Senator from Massachusetts or some other reason, I’m very, very happy that we were able to get this done. But there are some winners. Not any individual senator, not Democrats or Republicans. The winners are small business people throughout this country.
“On my trip home these past ten days, people are excited about the fact they may be able to get to write off $250,000 for things they badly need. Not depreciate it, just write it off. The other provisions are wonderful. To extend the highway bill for a year is going to save thousands of jobs in Nevada and a million jobs throughout the country. So the small business communities throughout this country are winners, and also workers. This is going to create jobs.
“So, Madam President, I have had a long conversation today with the Republican leader, and I have told him what the plans are here in the Senate. He listened very closely and we had a very good conversation. We’re going to move for a day or two after we complete this to travel promotion, another bipartisan bill. It will save a half a billion dollars. It will create thousands and thousands of jobs. All around the world countries advertise their tourism, but we don’t. This great country of ours, we don’t see anything on TV. All we see is money being spent by other countries having us go to their countries. We want to do the same in their countries, and that’s what this is all about.
“Every state in the union, all 50, the number one, two, and in a few instances, the third economic driving factor in a state is tourism. This will help tourism. As soon as we finish that, toward the end of this week, what we will do is move to the Finance Committee matters that they worked on before, and they worked very hard. I’m glad that we have made progress in that regard. We’re going to come — I have told Senator McConnell that will be open to amendments and I will try to work out with him so many amendments on each side. If we can’t do that, we won’t do that. I hope we can do that, but if we can’t, we’ll move forward on the tax extenders expiring provisions and a few other things, but it’s really a new day, and I look forward to this work period being one where we can all go home and say, you know, ladies and gentlemen, from Nevada and New Hampshire and Illinois and New Jersey and New York and Arkansas, we’re working together. We’re really getting things done together, and that’s what legislation should be about.
“Legislation, Madam President, is the art of compromise. It’s building consensus and working together. Basically, that’s what this piece of legislation is all about. This is not the jobs bill that we just completed; at least cloture is invoked on. We’ll vote on it in a day or so. But what it is, is part of an agenda. We’re going to have later this month another jobs bill. I have spoken to a number of Republican senators. They have specific provisions that they want in this. It will deal with small business, which is during the last ten years, 96% of all jobs in America were created by small businesses. So I’m very happy that we were able to do this. I express my appreciation to Senator Boxer, the Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee. She has worked so hard on this. I love her committee. I was chairman of it on two separate occasions. It’s a committee that I have fond memories of working on that committee, and every time I see the enthusiasm of Barbara Boxer, I know why the State of California cares so much about her.”