Senate Democrats

Reid: Work Must Continue To Create Jobs, Support Unemployed Workers And Strengthen The Economy

Washington, DCNevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor this afternoon.  Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:   “Before we get to the business of the day, I extend my condolences to those who suffered two tragedies while we were back home – one here in America, one half a world away.   “The mining tragedy in West Virginia hit home for me.  It brought back a lot of memories.  I grew up in a mining family and in a mining town, and I sympathize greatly with the people of West Virginia for their loss.   “I also extend my deepest condolences to the people of Poland.  That plane carried 96 souls – parents, husbands, wives and friends.  It carried that nation’s president, its first lady, its deputy foreign minister, lawmakers, and so many other military and civilian leaders.  The tragedy and loss is unthinkable, and America grieves alongside our friends in Poland.    “I want to welcome back my colleagues.  I know each of us cherishes the time we get to spend back home and the face-to-face conversations we have with our neighbors and constituents.   “Last December – just minutes before the Senate passed the health reform bill that President Obama signed into law last month – the Republican Leader predicted we would get an earful when we got home.   “Well, he was right.  Everywhere I went in Nevada – from Elko to Carson City, from Stagecoach to my hometown of Searchlight, from Nevadans young and old – people came up to me and said, ‘Thank you.’   “A mother told me how grateful she was that she would finally be able to cover her child’s diabetes.   “Parents like her told me how grateful they are that they’ll be able to keep their kids on their insurance until their mid-twenties.   “Out-of-work Nevadans told me how grateful they are now that they will finally be able to afford their own health care while they find a full-time job.   “Seniors told me how grateful they are now that we’re finally fully closing the prescription-drug coverage gap so they no longer have to choose between which pills to skip and which to split.   “And I can’t tell you how many small-business people told me that because of the tax cuts this Congress passed and our President signed into law, this year they will be able to afford health insurance for the first time in their lives.   “These people haven’t been fooled by the opposition’s strategy of myths and misinformation.  They aren’t frightened by the campaign of fear and false cries of socialism.   “I know I’m not the only one who got an earful of thanks from constituents whose lives are changing for the better because of this historic reform.   “I also heard one other thing everywhere I went: Don’t repeal this law.  Nevadans now have more control than ever over their health, more protection than ever from insurance companies and more opportunity than ever before to live a healthy life.  They don’t want anyone to take those rights away, and we won’t let that happen.   “Nevadans know that health reform is economic reform.  It will save families money in the short run and save our country money in the long run.   “But they also know we have to do more.  We have to make more investments today to help our economy run better tomorrow.   “One of the best ways to do that is by creating green jobs – jobs right here at home that can never be outsourced, jobs that strengthen our nation’s economic, environmental and national security.   “The town of Boulder City is a few miles north of where I grew up and a few miles south of Las Vegas.  I went there last week and visited an energy plant with one million solar panels.  It’s going to be the largest photovoltaic solar-power facility in all of North America.   “That vast array in the middle of the desert – dotted by countless hard hats worn by hard-at-work Nevadans – was truly an impressive sight.   “We need to continue supporting projects like that solar plant in Boulder City and continue moving toward a clean-energy economy.  They demand critical long-term investments, and we have a long way to go.   “But there are additional things we can do right now – right this afternoon – to help the millions of hardworking Nevadans and Americans struggling to find work.   “If we pass this emergency extension of unemployment and health benefits, we can give those unemployed families the help they need to put food on the table or go to the doctor.   “Some on the other side flatly refuse to do so.  To them, it doesn’t matter than these people lost their jobs through no fault of their own – or that they’re desperate to find a new full-time job – or that this is an emergency not only for their families, but for our country.   “Many of those who oppose this extension voted to give tax breaks to rich CEOs who shipped American jobs overseas.  Now that their constituents are trying to find jobs of their own, I hope they will consider giving them at least the short-time help they so critically need.   “But if Republicans continue to block unemployment assistance, a million Americans will lose that lifeline by the end of this month.”