Kentucky’s senior senator, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, rose to the podium on the Senate floor last Thursday, and spoke about the need to view the upcoming debt limit vote as an opportunity to reduce Washington spending, reform entitlements and grow the economy. “With each passing day,” said Sen. McConnell, “the American people grow more concerned about our nation’s future. A Washington Post ABC news poll this week said that by a ratio of two to one, Americans believe we’re on the wrong track and nine out of 10 rate the economy negatively. And yesterday’s CNN poll found that many Americans expect another Great Depression.”
Noting that President Obama recently told the nation that he “wakes up every morning and asks himself what he can do to spur job creation,” Sen. McConnell said that he had a number of suggestions for him. “The fact is,” he said, “many Americans have a hard time believing the President is focused on jobs when so many of his policies seem designed to destroy them. And in some key areas, like trade, energy, and debt, the President himself has acknowledged that a reversal of his policies would create jobs and spur recovery.”
On the issue of foreign trade, McConnell recalled that President Obama, in his State of the Union address last January, declared that he’d finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that would support at least 70,000 American jobs; yet he refused to sign the agreement into law unless Congress approved billions more in government spending first.
The senator criticized the president on the administration’s proposed national energy tax, which, by some estimates, could cost millions of jobs. He went on to remind his fellow senators that under Obama’s leadership, the nation’s national debt has skyrocketed 35%, from $10.6 trillion to $14.2 trillion; amounting to a deficit that is three times bigger than the biggest annual deficit during the Bush Administration.
“So there’s a pattern here,” said McConnell. “The President likes to say that he’s concerned about the economy and jobs, but his policies tell a different story. He can talk all he wants, but he can’t walk away from what he’s done, and the things he’s failing to do right now to create private-sector jobs and get our economy moving again. Chief among them is his refusal to do anything to lower the debt and deficits he’s done so much to create. “
“The solutions,” suggested the senator, “are right in front of us.” “The administration acknowledges that free trade agreements, expanding domestic energy exploration, cutting regulations, providing tax certainty, and reducing the debt will lead to a dramatic increase in jobs. Why won’t it follow through?”
McConnell concluded by saying, “So looking ahead, the key to success, in my view and in the judgment of others … is for everyone involved to view the upcoming debt limit vote as an opportunity — an opportunity to reduce Washington spending now and to save the taxpayers trillions of dollars over the long term. It’s an opportunity to put our fiscal house in order, and to prevent the fiscal crisis that we all see coming. We know what we need to do. It’s time to do it.”
Read more: Sen. McConnell’s June 9, 2011 floor speech
Watch Sen. McConnell: “Democrats Refuse to Tackle Fiscal Crisis”