75 Percent of Americans Support Democrats’ Plan to Put Teachers, First Responders Back to Work and Ask Millionaires to Pay Their Fair Share
October 19, 2011
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding overwhelming public support - even among Republicans - for Democrats’ plan to put 400,000 teachers, police and firefighters back to work. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
This week my Republican colleagues have railed against the Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, Democrats’ latest proposal to create hundreds of thousands of American jobs.
They point to a similar program with a proven track record of keeping 422,000 teachers in the classroom for a year as evidence this legislation will be “a failure.” But that’s because they’re using a different benchmark for success than we are.
Democrats’ number one priority is to create jobs. So to us, putting hundreds of thousands of people back to work teaching children, patrolling our streets and fighting fires constitutes a success.
But Republicans’ number one priority is to defeat President Obama, and their strategy is to keep the economy weak as long as possible. So they oppose legislation we know beyond a shadow of a doubt will support 400,000 American jobs without adding a penny to the deficit.
Never mind that Republicans have yet to propose a single idea of their own to get 14 million people working again. Never mind that in the past they have supported every one of the job creation measures that we’ve proposed.
Republicans get up every day and come to work to oppose the policies that will turn our economy around for one reason and one reason only: politics.
To me – and to most Americans – putting politics ahead of this country’s economic future is so far outside the mainstream it’s barely on the map.
But Republicans have been very candid about their goal this Congress. My friend, the Minority Leader, said this: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”
Defeating job-creating legislation, defeating the economy and defeating the President – that’s how Republicans measure success. But Americans don’t share those values.
Like Democrats, they believe there are some things more important than politics, even in an election year. Creating jobs is one of those things.
To Democrats – and to the vast majority of Americans – there is no goal more important than getting our economy humming once more.
That’s why Americans overwhelmingly support our plan to retain or rehire 400,000 teachers and put more cops on the beat nationwide.
In Nevada, this legislation will provide an additional $260 million to keep teachers in the classroom and maintain class sizes. It will support 3,600 education jobs in the state, and pump much-needed money back into the economy.
Seventy-five percent of Americans believe we should help state and local governments put teachers, police and firefighters back to work. And 76 percent of Americans agree the wealthiest people in this country should help get our economy back on track.
I repeat: three out of four Americans – including two-thirds of Republicans – support the Democrats’ Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act.
Republicans in Congress aren’t just out of touch with America – they’re out of touch with other Republicans.
Fifty-four percent of Republicans support Democrats’ plan to create jobs building modern roads, bridges and schools.
Fifty-eight percent of Republicans support our plan to extend the payroll tax for American workers and businesses.
Sixty-three percent of Republicans support our plan to put teachers in the classroom and police officers on the beat.
And 56 percent of Republicans even support our proposal to ask millionaires and billionaires to contribute their fair share to pull our nation out of this terrible recession.
The trend is clear: Americans overwhelmingly support Democrats’ plan to create jobs, with even Republicans supporting our ideas by a wide margin.
And yet my friend, the Republican leader, said this yesterday on the Senate floor: “There's a growing bipartisan opposition to trying the same failed policies again. And there's bipartisan opposition to raising taxes especially at a time when 14 million Americans are out of work.”
Well, I say to my friend, the Republican Leader, as the saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts.
There is not bipartisan opposition to legislation that will create and save jobs for teachers and first responders. On the contrary, there is bipartisan support for the legislation.
Republicans, like the rest of Americans, do not oppose our proposal to ask millionaires to contribute their fair share. On the contrary, they support the proposal.
It is only here in Congress that Republicans oppose job-creating legislation and fair tax policy for the sake of politics.
In the rest of the country Republicans – like other Americans – are focused on where their next paycheck will come from and how they’ll make the mortgage.
And, like Democrats, they’re tired of Republicans in Congress rooting for the economy to fail instead of working with us to secure our economic future.