Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the confirmation of two ambassadors and Republican opposition to keeping payroll taxes low for middle-class families. Below are his remarks as prepared:
Today the Senate will vote on two nominations: those of Norman Eisen to serve as ambassador to the Czech Republic and Mari Carmen Aponte to serve as ambassador to El Salvador.
These nominees are accomplished, qualified public servants who will continue to represent their nation with distinction.
For my Republican colleagues, however, being qualified and dedicated is no longer enough.
Last week they blocked the nomination of a “brilliant legal mind,” Caitlin Halligan, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
And they blocked the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau despite his obvious qualifications for the job.
He has a long history of protecting the middle-class against unfair practices by financial predators. And he would have been a great asset in our fight to protect Main Street from the kind of Wall Street greed that caused the 2008 financial crisis.
Yet Republicans denied Mr. Cordray’s confirmation to weaken the agency he was nominated to lead.
I hope Republicans will not turn every confirmation process into a political three-ring circus. These candidates – in particular Ms. Aponte – have jumped through enough hoops already.
Ms. Aponte’s accomplished record as ambassador to El Salvador over the last 15 months speaks for itself. And experts on the region from across the political spectrum support her confirmation.
The same enthusiasm is there for Mr. Eisen.
If Republicans block the confirmation of these qualified candidates, it will be for nakedly partisan reasons.
Also under partisan assault this month is a Democratic proposal to prevent a $1,000 tax increase on working families.
Senate Republicans have blocked four proposals to protect middle-class pocketbooks.
Every hour they delay and every day they filibuster is one more the Senate will stay in Washington to get its work done.
Republicans have opposed our plan to pay for this legislation with a tiny surtax on a tiny fraction of America’s highest earners.
The tax would only apply to the second million the wealthiest Americans earn.
But Republicans say the richest of the rich in this country – even those who make millions every year – shouldn’t contribute more to get our economy back on track.
They call our plan a tax on so-called “job creators.” Yet every shred of evidence contradicts this red herring.
National Public Radio went looking for one of these fictitious millionaire “job creators.”
A reporter reached out to business groups, the anti-tax lobby and Republicans in Congress hoping to interview one of these millionaires. Days ticked by with no luck.
Millionaire job creators are like unicorns – impossible to find.
That’s because only a tiny fraction of people making more than $1 million – about one percent – are actually small business owners. And only a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction is traditional job creators.
Most of those business owners are hedge fund managers or wealthy lawyers.
They don’t do much hiring. And they don’t need more tax breaks.
Finally, the NPR reporter looked for millionaire job creators hiding on Facebook. This time, she actually found some.
And they actually supported our plan to ask the richest of the rich to pitch in to improve the economy for all Americans.
This is what Jason Burger, owner of a contracting company that is “hiring like crazy” said about our proposal: “It’s only fair that I put back into the system that is the entire reason for my success.”
Mr. Burger may be a millionaire, but he isn’t one in a million. A majority of people who make more than $1 million a year say they would gladly contribute more to improve the economy.
It’s often said that what is good for business is good for America. But I hope my Republican colleagues remember, as Mr. Burger does, that what is good for America is also good for business.