Americans Agree It Is Fair To Ask Millionaires and Billionaires To Pay Fair Share
October 5, 2011
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the American Jobs Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Franklin Roosevelt said that no man can truly be free without economic security.
With 14 million people out of work in America, there are far too many people living in the richest nation in the world yet unable to enjoy the full freedom and independence for which America stands.
So this Congress has no greater challenge – and no more important responsibility – than to enact the policies that help American businesses flourish and grow, put American citizens to work and get our struggling economy back on the track to prosperity.
So I was disappointed yesterday when Republicans chose to play political games with not one but two pieces of important job-creating legislation.
The bill before the Senate would even the odds for American workers and manufacturers in the global marketplace by stopping unfair currency manipulation by the Chinese government.
It would support 1.6 million American jobs, and it has the support of Democrats, Republicans, labor leaders and business groups. We should pass it quickly, so we can move on to other important work facing the Senate this month.
But yesterday Republicans threatened to derail this legislation – even though they overwhelmingly support it – and allow China to continue to tilt the playing field.
Also up for debate this work period – which ends in two short weeks – is common-sense jobs legislation proposed by President Obama.
His plan would invest in roads, bridges and dams.
It would put construction crews back to work building and renovating schools.
It would extend unemployment insurance for Americans who are still struggling to find work.
It would expand a popular payroll tax credit that will provide immediate relief to middle-class families and businesses.
And it would revitalize communities that have been devastated by foreclosures.
The President’s plan includes some ideas proposed by Republicans, and others offered by Democrats. And, no matter what, it will be fully paid for.
We may have different ideas for how to pay for it, but we know the President's legislation is a smart, effective way to spur job creation.
Americans from every corner of the country and every walk of life agree. Democrats, Republicans and Independents agree. Asked if they support a plan that would require people making more than $1 million a year to contribute a little more to ensure this country’s economic success, the results were resounding: three-quarters of Americans said yes.
Wealthy Americans agree. Two-thirds of people making more than $1 million a year said they would gladly contribute more.
A supermajority of Republicans agrees, with two-thirds saying they supported the idea.
And even a majority – 52 percent – of members of the Tea Party agreed.
So when Democrats bring this common-sense jobs legislation to the floor, we will also ask Americans who make more than $1 million a year to contribute a little more to help this country reduce its jobs deficit.
I am sure that my Republican colleagues would like the opportunity to debate how this Congress tackles the most important issue facing our nation today: the unemployment crisis. So I will happily work with Republican leadership to ensure a fair process that gives Senators the opportunity to be heard.
That is why I was so disappointed yesterday when my friend, the Republican Leader, attempted to snuff out debate and prevent a bipartisan discussion about how to move the American Jobs Act forward.
Rather than debating this bill on the floor, as we usually do, he wants to tack this important job creator onto an unrelated measure as an afterthought.
I was willing to proceed to debate on the legislation yesterday, but Republicans blocked that request. Instead, they demanded an immediate, up-or-down vote, with no opportunity for debate, amendments or discussion.
Again and again during the last few weeks, Republicans have rejected an “all or nothing approach” to this legislation. So imagine my surprise when they were unwilling to engage in the thoughtful debate this bill deserves.
Instead they took the very “all or nothing approach” they were so concerned with a only hours earlier.
M. President, This nation’s unemployment crisis is serious business. But Republicans are more interested in partisan games and political stunts than seriously legislating.
Fourteen million unemployed Americans deserve better.
We live in a nation founded on the principle that every American has a right to personal liberty.
But if Franklin Roosevelt was correct that no man is free who lacks economic security – and I believe he was – then we must do better as a Congress and as a country.
I assure you that Democrats will do whatever it takes to heal our ailing economy, even if it means the richest of the rich in American have to contribute a little bit more tomorrow than they do today.