Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor outlining Senate plans to move forward with legislation to spur job creation among America’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Last night a bipartisan group of senators, led by Senator Pryor and Senator Alexander, talked about the need to bring appropriations bills to the floor.
I am a long-time member of the appropriations committee, as is the Republican Leader, and we understand the importance of working on these bills.
In recent years we have done omnibus and minibus spending bills instead of individual appropriations bills. We have to get away from that.
For the integrity of the Senate, Democrats and Republicans must agree to cooperate to get this important work done.
I commend Senator Warner, Senator Hagan, Senator Isakson, Senator Boozman and Senator Graham, who joined Senator Pryor and Senator Alexander on the floor for last night’s colloquy.
I applaud their work, and look forward to working with my Republican colleagues to bring appropriations bills to the floor in regular order.
When President Obama took office three years ago, the auto industry was on life support. And Republicans wanted to pull the plug.
One man seeking the Republican nomination for president said we should “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.”
He called the death of American auto manufacturers “virtually guaranteed.”
And he argued we should let Detroit go bankrupt.
He wasn’t alone. Some Republicans in this Chamber agreed.
But Democrats weren’t willing to give up on American manufacturing.
Because saving the auto industry wasn’t about saving corporations. It was about saving millions of Americans who work for those corporations.
It wasn’t about saving the people who own race cars. It was about saving the people who work on assembly lines making parts to keep those race cars running.
There was no way Democrats would walk away from millions of Americans whose jobs were on the line – Americans who work in dealerships and distribution centers and manufacturing plants across the country.
So we didn’t give up the fight to save the auto industry. We didn’t give up even when one Senate Republican called our efforts “a road to nowhere.”
The verdict is in – we were right to fight.
The American auto industry has added 160,000 jobs over the last two years.
Last year General Motors reported record profits and sold more vehicles than any other car company in the world.
Chrysler is profitable again, and growing faster in the U.S. than any other major automaker.
So when a Republican presidential frontrunner said we should “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye,” he couldn’t have been more wrong.
We all get one wrong occasionally. The test of character is admitting when we make a mistake.
And it’s time for Republicans to recognize that saving American auto manufacturers – and millions of middle-class jobs – was the right thing to do.
Good news from the auto industry and 23 months of private sector job growth are evidence our economy is headed in the right direction.
But too many Americans are still hurting financially or struggling to find work. And it is crucial Congress continue efforts to create jobs and rebuild our economy.
So Democrats are moving forward with a bipartisan package of jobs bills that will spur small businesses growth.
These measures will improve innovators’ access to capital. And they will streamline how companies sell stock through initial public offerings or IPOs.
These pieces of legislation will also protect the rights of investors.
Next week Chairman Johnson, the Senior Senator from South Dakota, will hold a Banking Committee hearing on this issue. It will be the third hearing on these measures since December.
Senate Democrats have been working on these measures for months.
I am glad to see House Republicans joining Democrats to move this legislation. Common-sense issues like these should not have to turn into knock-down, drag-out fights.
I look forward to moving these measures and our economy forward with the help of my Republican colleagues.