Senate Democrats

Reid: Americans Wait While Republicans Stall Another Jobs Bill

Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Republican attempts to block the Economic Development Administration reauthorization. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

This Congress convened in January with a single mandate from the American people: create jobs.

And so Democrats have brought to the Senate floor bill after bill aimed at helping American businesses innovate, grow and hire. These were good pieces of legislation with proven track records of creating jobs.

Take the Economic Development Administration reauthorization, for example. Since 1965 the EDA has created jobs in economically distressed communities. Creating good jobs in places that really need them, like Nevada, ought to be a goal we can all agree on.

In the last five years, the Economic Development Administration has created 300,000 jobs. And it’s done it efficiently, too. For every dollar the federal government invests, private industry invests seven.

For 45 years the EDA has worked with businesses and universities at the local level to create jobs from the ground up.

Even when Republicans controlled the White House, even when they controlled Congress, even when they controlled both, EDA was there helping businesses grow.

Today our economy needs those jobs more than ever. Yet Republicans have found a new way to kill a piece of legislation that would put Americans back to work.

They have stood here on the Senate floor and talked with straight faces about job creation. And then they turned around have bogged down good, job-creating legislation with amendments that could kill even the most bipartisan bill.

Meanwhile, unemployed Americans wait.

They wait while Republicans filibuster – not with words, but with amendments – a bill that has created 300,000 jobs in the last five years.

One would think these must be important amendments if Republicans are willing to make Americans standing in the unemployment line wait a little longer.

You be the judge. My Republican friends are holding up a proven job-creator to exempt the sand dune lizard from the Endangered Species Act, for example. And, lest the lizard be singled out, there is an amendment to exempt the lesser prairie chicken, too.

This sends the message that such frivolous amendments – more than 90 of them in all – are more important than putting people back to work.

They’ve also filed amendments on:

  • EPA water quality standards,
  • Light bulbs,
  • Right to work laws,
  • The estate tax,
  • Repeal of Wall Street Reform,
  • The U.S.-Mexico border fence.

And, yet again, a handful of their amendments would delay or repeal health care reform. That is a battle Republicans seem determined to fight over and over no matter how many times they lose.

We’ve already voted on bank-card swipe fees and ethanol subsidies. And we voted on the regulatory reform amendment offered, once again, by the senior senator from Maine. Yet we could not reach agreement to consider this worthy bill.

But this is not the first time Republicans have stopped the important work of job creation in its tracks. The Small Business Innovation Research Bill died here on the Senate floor. And the FAA Reauthorization and Patent Reform bills – which would have put hundreds of thousands of people to work – languish in the House.

And still, unemployed Americans wait.

Tomorrow Republicans will get another chance to help us move forward on a bill that has a proven track record of putting people to work. In the meantime, I urge my Republican colleagues to consider the cost of these delay tactics.