Senate Democrats

Reid: Reducing Jobs Deficit Just As Important To Americans As Reducing Budget Deficit

Washington, D.C.–Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor on Libya and on Democrats’ efforts to create jobs and protect Medicare. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Yesterday my friends, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, introduced a resolution supporting U.S. involvement in the NATO action in Libya.

I commend my friends, who have introduced a strong, bipartisan resolution with an impressive list of cosponsors, including Senators Levin, Kyl, Durbin, Feinstein, Graham, Lieberman, Blunt, Cardin and others. And I hope it will have overwhelming support.

Some Republicans in the House of Representatives and on the campaign trail have expressed concern over our involvement in this conflict. They have clearly decided to use the War Powers Resolution as a political bludgeon to pursue a partisan agenda.

But I also believe there is a larger question we must each ask ourselves as Senators as we consider this military action: Was our participation in the international effort to stop mass murder and chaos in Libya a just decision? I am confident it was.

Muammar Qaddafi’s repressive dictatorship is a threat to the region and to U.S. national security. Our support of this mission is crucial for our NATO alliance that is leading this mission and for the people of Libya, who have lived far too long under Qaddafi’s brutal regime.

I thank the senior Senator from Massachusetts and the senior Senator from Arizona for beginning the deliberate, bipartisan discussion of this important matter here in the Senate. Working together, this bipartisan group of Senators has made a clear statement to our allies, to the world, to the Libyan people and to Qaddafi that we support the Administration’s actions in Libya.

The Senate is truly at its best when bipartisan lawmakers work together.

That is why it is so unfortunate, M. President, that yesterday Republicans were unwilling to join us in our efforts to create jobs for Americans who need them. For the fourth time this year, my Republican colleagues stalled a jobs bill that could have put hundreds of thousands of Americans to work.

This was the second jobs bill Republicans have killed by piling on unrelated amendments. Two more jobs bills passed the Senate, but are wasting away in the House. All four of these bills were common-sense efforts to spur innovation, investment and hiring by private companies. All four had a proven track record of creating jobs.

The message Republicans have sent is clear: they care more about partisan politics than they do about putting Americans back to work.

Later today, Democrats will talk about our plan to reduce the jobs deficit, a problem just as critical to Americans as our budget deficit. We hope our Republican colleagues will join us to tackle this problem. So far, they have put politics first.

I don’t know what it will take for Republicans to get the message that people in Nevada and across the country care more about jobs than any other issue. It is the most important thing Congress should focus on.

Instead, Republicans are focused on the one thing Americans don’t want: ending Medicare as we know it.

The vast majority of Americans say they oppose the Republican plan to balance the budget on the backs of seniors by killing Medicare. The number among seniors and Independents is sky high in opposition to the Republican plan to change Medicare as we know it.

There is no mystery to why they oppose it. The Republican plan to end Medicare would put insurance company bureaucrats between seniors and their doctors. It would raise drug prices from day one. And it would increase the cost of cancer screenings and treatments for 7 million seniors – and more.

Seniors can’t afford this dangerous plan, nor can America. The Senate can’t afford to waste any more time. It’s our job to create jobs. And it’s time for Republicans to leave Medicare alone and let us get back to work.