Washington, DC— Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor this afternoon to open the July work period. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I welcome back my colleagues and hope they are as eager to get to work as I am.
“During the week I spent in Nevada, I saw again how desperate our unemployment situation has become. And as I talked to Nevadans, I heard over and over again how badly they need us to help create the conditions that help businesses create jobs.
“I met one man in Reno who is 51 years old. He’s worked his whole life, owns his house and told me he’s never missed a payment on it.
“But now, like 14 percent of Nevadans, he’s out of work. He can’t find a new job – there are just too many people looking for too few of them. And now he can’t make his mortgage payment.
“He is the kind of person we need to keep in mind when we talk about creating jobs. His family is the kind of family we need to keep in mind when we talk about helping the unemployed with emergency aid. This man knows he won’t get rich off his unemployment check – but it might just help him keep a roof over his head.
“His struggle, his fears – what keeps this man up at night – is what we should remember when the other side pretends this is more about politics about than it is about people.
“This work period, like every work period, will be about jobs: how to create them, how to save them and how to prevent another crisis like the one that killed them in the first place.
“We’re going to build on momentum we’ve already seen from the economic recovery plan, also known as the stimulus. This jobs crisis wasn’t created in a day, and it won’t be solved overnight. But in just a short time, we’ve come a long way.
“Three million Americans who are going to work today have the Recovery Act to thank for their jobs. In Nevada the Recovery Act created or saved more than 4,000 jobs this spring – and as more projects get underway, it will create even more jobs this summer. And don’t forget that the stimulus also cut taxes for families, small businesses, students, homebuyers and the unemployed.
“But it’s just a first step. Over the next month, we’re going to take a few more.
“One of those steps along the path to recovery will be a small business jobs bill.
“We know that the best way to create jobs, innovate and help our economy recover is through the private sector. And we know the engine that runs the private sector is made up of our small businesses.
“Those businesses are the ones that have felt the most pain in this recession. Two out of every three jobs we’ve lost were from small businesses.
“Our bill – which is full paid for – will put people back to work through a number of initiatives:
“One, it gives small businesses tax incentives to help them hire and grow. Two, it increases Small Business Administration loan limits. Three, it makes it easier for small businesses to export goods. And four, it creates a small business lending fund to that will give small banks more capital.
“Another step we’ll take this month is a long-overdue one: extending emergency unemployment insurance for so many who have been out of work for so long.
“When millions of Americans lost their jobs, they lost their incomes, their homes, their savings, their gas money, their tuition payments, and on and on – all through no fault of their own.
“Democrats aren’t about to turn our backs on out-of-work Americans, which is why we’re trying to help them keep their heads above water in this crisis.
“A third step is Wall Street reform. It’s just as much a jobs bill as the first two I mentioned.
“We all know greed on Wall Street is what triggered the recession, suffocated the job market and robbed millions of their incomes.
“By cleaning up Wall Street, we’re going to make sure big bankers can never again gamble away our economy. We’re going to make sure there isn’t a next time.
“Helping small businesses, helping the unemployed and cracking down on Wall Street greed are three equally important approaches to the same problem – and to our number-one priority – jobs.
“But these three also have something else in common: a minority of Senators is standing in the way.
“We’ve tried for months to help people. Nearly every Democrat has said ‘Yes,’ and nearly every Republican has said ‘No.’ That opposition is stopping recovery in its tracks.
“Every day we keep small businesses from creating jobs, or deny the unemployed the assistance they need, or let Wall Street get away with the same tricks that nearly sank our economy, we’re making a difficult situation even worse. We’re keeping people off payrolls, keeping businesses from hiring and keeping our country from coming back stronger than ever.
“Simply put, obstruction of these good bills is costing Americans jobs.
“The other side thinks that saying ‘No’ helps them. But it sure doesn’t help the people we’re supposed to represent.
“I hope we’ll get our priorities straight this work period. It will be a productive one if we do. And the next time we go back home to talk to our constituents, we’ll be able to deliver better news – and they’ll be able to tell us the same in return.”