Senate Democrats

Reid: Facing Record Unemployment, Republicans Must Decide Today If They Will Join Us to Strengthen Economy

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid


“Less than an hour ago, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate for January hit a more than sixteen-year high of 7.6 percent.


“The housing crisis is growing worse.  The lending freeze has not passed.  Small businesses are shutting their doors and large businesses are laying off employees by the thousands – nearly 600,000 in January alone.


“In Nevada, where our dependence on tourism makes us even more vulnerable to economic conditions, unemployment has reached 9.1 percent.


“Leading economists are now comparing today’s crisis to the early years of the Great Depression, and experts on all points along the political spectrum agree that if we fail to take bold action, this recession will last many years into the future.


“Although President Obama inherited this crisis from his predecessor, he is taking the bold, responsible steps we need to begin the long road to recovery.  The first step is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which the House of Representatives has passed and the United States Senate has debated all week.


“This is a critical day for this new Congress and our country.  Faced with this grave and growing economic crisis, Republicans must decide today whether they will join the President and Congressional Democrats on that road to recovery.


“If we succeed, there will be plenty of credit to go around.  But if we fail, our entire country will suffer the consequences.


“During this week of floor debate, we have embraced good ideas – including tax relief and other investments – from both parties.  We will continue to embrace all efforts, born of goodwill, to reach a bipartisan compromise. 


“But we are nearing the time when negotiations must be completed and action must begin.  I would hope that probably around 5:00 or 7:00 today, we’ll have something that we can vote on that would reflect the big picture of what we need to move this to conference.

“I urge all of my colleagues, Democrats and Republicans alike, to dedicate this day to responsibly passing this legislation and sending it to the President of the United States so that this may long be remembered as the day the long road to recovery was paved.”

made the following statement today on the floor of the U.S. Senate.  Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery: