Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding continued Republican efforts to block job-creating legislation. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Republican obstructionism has once against cost this nation millions of jobs.
Last night, Republicans blocked the American Jobs Act, President Obama’s plan to create 2 million jobs by giving tax cuts to business and middle-class families and investing in modern roads, bridges and schools.
It’s not the first jobs bill Republicans have blocked this Congress, although I hope it will be the last.
But it seems as if Republicans don’t really want to put Americans back to work. They believe a weak economy means a weak President.
So, even though they have supported each piece of the American Jobs Act in the past, they blocked this job-creating legislation in the hopes of doing political damage to the president.
But Democrats have not given up on creating jobs in America.
And we will not let Republican political games stand between Congress and its most important duty: to put 14 million people back to work.
Passing the American Jobs Act would have been a step in the right direction. Economists of every stripe agree it would have impacted the economy immediately and put 2 million people back to work.
Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics and economic advisor to Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign, said this: “Given the high odds of another recession in the next few months, it is vital for Congress and the administration to provide some near-term support to the economy.”
Zandi says the American Jobs Act could shave a percentage point off the unemployment rate. Conversely, he warned that without immediate action the likelihood was high of a double-dip recession.
So, the last thing we should be doing right now is wasting time, but that’s what Republicans are forcing the Senate to do.
Last night, a majority of the Senate voted to take up this bill. But Republicans won’t put politics aside for a moment, even when the price of their stubbornness is struggling families and failing businesses.
But I’ll say it again: Democrats will not give up on creating jobs in America.
We will introduce the American Jobs Act piece by piece.
Many of the ideas we will advance will be proposals Republicans have supported in the past.
Republicans will have to explain to the American people – at a time of record unemployment – why they continue to oppose job-creating tax cuts for small businesses and the middle class, and other proposals they have supported in the past.
And at the end of the day, their motive will be crystal clear: politics.
I hope Republicans will be able to see past partisan posturing to support their own past proposals when we consider them individually next month.
Take the payroll tax cut, for example. My friend, the Republican leader, has supported payroll tax cuts in that past. Most Republicans have.
This is what he said about the same tax cut in 2009: “It would put a lot of money back in the hands of businesses and in the hands of individuals… Republicans, generally speaking, from Maine to Mississippi, like tax relief.”
Yet he voted against that tax cut last night. It was part of the American Jobs Act.
Another Republican Senator sponsored a bill to give tax credits to businesses that hire out-of-work veterans.
Yet that Senator voted against the same proposal last night. It was also part of American Jobs Act.
Republicans have supported these proposals in the past. They should have supported them yesterday.
But Democrats care so much about creating jobs that we’ll give our Republicans colleagues another opportunity to do the right thing – one more chance to prove they are more interested in putting Americans to work and getting our economy back on track than in playing politics.
And if they don’t support these job-creating proposals the next time around, it won’t be Senate Democrats to whom they’ll answer. Republicans will have to explain it to the America people.