Senate Democrats

Republicans Must Stop Putting The Tea Party Ahead Of America’s Economy

Washington, D.C.Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the transportation jobs bill and legislation to repeal subsidies for big oil companies raking in record profits. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Tens of thousands of bridges and millions of miles of roadways across the country are in a state of disrepair.

But, rather than putting Americans to work fixing those roads and bridges – and repairing crumbling train tracks, highways and sidewalks across the nation – House Republican leaders are pandering to the Tea Party.

As if putting the Tea Party ahead of efforts to repair our nation’s crumbling infrastructure wasn’t bad enough, House Republicans are risking 2.8 million jobs in the process.

I was disappointed to hear last week that House Republican leaders will pursue a three-month extension of the Highway Bill. They should be voting on the two-year transportation bill passed on an overwhelming, bipartisan vote by the Senate.

Their short-term Band-Aid bill is no solution. Communities and contractors need certainty – especially going into the summer construction season – that their projects won’t grind to a halt in three months because the House once again refuses to act.

The American people will know who to blame if chaos in the House Republican caucus costs us almost 3 million jobs. One week remains until thousands of projects around the country lock their gates and lay off their workers.

It is time for House Republican leaders to do the responsible thing: take up the Senate-passed transportation bill, which is strongly supported by Senate Republicans.

The American people are watching, and time is wasting.

While House Republicans are squandering precious time and risking American jobs, the Senate will move forward with a bill to repeal billions in subsidies to big oil companies.

Last year, Big Oil raked in $137 billion in profits – more than ever before – but still received billions in taxpayers-funded giveaways.

Even with domestic oil production at its highest level in almost a decade, prices at the pump are rising.

Oil companies are making money hand over fist. When the price of a gallon of gas goes up by a single penny, quarterly profits for the five major oil companies go up by $200 million.

Yet this country continues to give taxpayer dollars to some of the most profitable corporations in the world – corporations that don’t need our help. It’s time to end this careless corporate welfare.

The only real way to bring down prices at the pump is to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. That will take additional responsible, domestic oil exploration anhgd smart investments in clean energy technology.

The Senate will vote this evening to advance the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act.

This legislation ends more than $2 billion a year in tax breaks for Big Oil. And it invests the savings in the clean energy industry, where it will grow our economy and create jobs.

Repealing wasteful subsidies won’t cause oil and gas prices to rise. But reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil will cause prices to fall.

I hope my Republican colleagues will join Senate Democrats and repeal subsidies for Big Oil. It is time we worked together to move this nation toward its clean energy future.

But if Republicans continue to stand up for oil companies making record profits, one thing will be obvious: Republicans care less about bringing down gas prices than about helping big oil companies that don’t need the help.

Congress should pass this legislation quickly, before another taxpayer dollar is spent on wasteful handouts to Big Oil.

The Senate must also move quickly to reform our postal system. And in the coming weeks the Senate must reauthorize of the Violence Against Women Act, pass additional job creation measures and take up a crucial cybersecurity bill.

The Pentagon says passing cybersecurity legislation is the single most important action Congress can take to improve national security. That’s why I will bring a bill to the floor very soon.

Bipartisan efforts to craft comprehensive cybersecurity legislation have been ongoing for several years, but the time to act is now.

It is time for Republican colleagues who have been involved in this effort from the start to sit down at the negotiating table and help us settle on a final approach. The next few weeks will set the path ahead.

Both parties agree this legislation is a priority. And Senators interested in getting involved should act now, before time runs out.

As always, I hope Democrats and Republicans will be able to work together to forge a path forward.