Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Republican opposition to middle-class tax cuts. Below are his remarks as prepared:
Seventy years ago, the attack on Pearl Harbor changed our country forever. It also hardened our resolved to become a better, stronger nation.
The example of the USS Nevada epitomizes that resiliency. While in the port of Oahu on December 7, 1941, the battleship was hit by several bombs and a torpedo. Sixty Americans were killed.
Less than a year later that battleship returned to service.
Today we honor the living Pearl Harbor veterans for their courage and sacrifice.
We also remember the nearly 2,400 Americans who lost their lives that day, and the hundreds of thousands more who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II.
These service members were true heroes. They set a fine example for the men and women who protect our freedoms today. And we will never forget their courage.
Republicans like to claim they are the Party of tax cuts.
But as Democrats propose more tax relief for working families, Republicans are showing their true colors. They only support tax cuts that benefit the rich.
Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell say they agree with Democrats that we should prevent a $1,000 tax hike on middle class families.
But it has become clear that the caucuses they lead do not.
Tea Party Republicans oppose our plan to cut taxes for nearly every family in America. But Republican leaders recognize taking $1,000 out of middle-class pockets during these hard times is political suicide.
Reports today say the bitter division has thrown the House Republican caucus into disarray.
Faced with rebellion in their caucuses, Republican leaders have two options: they can work with Democrats to forge a compromise that can pass, or they can move even further to the right to appease the Tea Party.
As we have seen before, when faced with a choice between the middle class and the Tea Party, Republicans will choose the Tea party every time.
Tomorrow the Senate will vote on whether to move forward with confirmation of Richard Cordray, the nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
My Republican colleagues have signaled that they will block Mr. Cordray’s nomination – but not because he’s unqualified.
For the first time in Senate history, Republicans are poised to block a qualified nominee solely because they don’t like the federal agency he will lead.
Senate Republicans have no problem with Richard Cordray. He has bipartisan support and a long history of fighting unfair practices by financial predators.
Instead Republicans are trying to cripple the new consumer agency altogether by depriving it of a director.
Their attempts to hamstring the consumer watchdog will leave Americans vulnerable to scams and rip-offs.
It is shameful that Republicans would leave consumers in the dark about the risks they face when making financial decisions only to prove a political point.
For 45 years Medicare has been improving and extending the lives of seniors.
Passing the Affordable Care Act ensured Medicare would stay strong for future generations of retirees. But health care reform is also helping today’s seniors by beginning to close the doughnut hole.
This year, more than 2.5 million Medicare recipients, including thousands of Nevadans, saved nearly $600 apiece on prescription drugs.
For some seniors on fixed incomes, those savings prevented difficult choices between food and live-saving medicine.
Medicare recipients have saved more than $1.6 billion so far this year thanks to this provision.
And more than 24 million seniors got free physicals this year because of health care reform.
That’s progress Democrats can be proud of.