[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 157 (Wednesday, October 19, 2011)]
[Senate]
[Pages S6702-S6703]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                              JOB CREATION

  Mr. REID. Madam President, my friend the Republican leader--and I 
will talk in more detail in a few minutes--is complaining about a tax 
of one-half of 1 percent--one-half of 1 percent on people who make more 
than $1 million a year to pay for a program that would stop teachers 
from being laid off and rehire some of the teachers who have been laid 
off.
  The massive layoffs we have had in America today of course are rooted 
in the last administration. It is very clear that private sector jobs 
have been doing fine. It is the public sector jobs where we have lost 
huge numbers. That is what this legislation is all about. It is 
unfortunate my friend the Republican leader is complaining about that.
  I would also note that my friend said the House passed another bill. 
Well, they pass lots of bills, but they rarely go anyplace. A report 
led by Henry Waxman of California, long-time Member of the House, 
indicated last week that the House has voted 168 times to roll back 
regulations on clean air, clean water. These safeguards are important 
to have a healthier America. But the Republican response has been 
cutting back environmental and health safeguards, I guess hoping that a 
sicker, more polluted country is a better place to create jobs. It is 
not.
  I am going to talk a little bit today about the legislation that I 
moved to on Monday dealing with, as I have indicated, maintaining jobs 
for teachers, firefighters, and police officers. Seventy-five percent 
of Americans support this legislation. This is not a poll that some 
Democratic pollster did, it is a CNN-Gallup poll.
  This week, my Republican colleagues have rallied against teachers and 
first responders. That is our latest proposal, to create hundreds of 
thousands of American jobs and save other jobs. Republicans point to a 
similar program with a proven track record keeping 422,000 teachers in 
the classroom. That is important. They are using this as evidence that 
our programs are a failure.
  I know the American Recovery Act saved Nevada from going into 
bankruptcy. The money we got there, hundreds of millions of dollars, 
allowed the Governor, a Republican Governor, to save Medicaid. Money is 
fungible. It saved teachers. It saved a lot of programs in Nevada.
  So I say again, they call Democratic legislation--my Republican 
colleagues, my friend the Republican leader--legislation that created 
hundreds of thousands of jobs a failure. That is because they are using 
a different benchmark for success than we are.
  Democrats' No. 1 priority is to create jobs. There are 14 million 
Americans out of work today. So to us, putting hundreds of thousands of 
people back to work teaching children, having more police patrolling 
our streets, firefighters fighting our fires, doing the rescue work 
they do so well, is our priority.
  It seems that the No. 1 priority of my Republican colleagues is to 
defeat President Obama. Their strategy is to keep the economy weak as 
long as possible, so they oppose legislation with a solid record of 
creating jobs. Never mind that Republicans have yet to propose a single 
idea on their own--a single idea--to get 14 million people working 
again. Never mind that in the past they have supported every one of the 
job-creating measures we have proposed. We have a bill that was 
defeated, so we have taken pieces of that legislation, and virtually 
every piece of that legislation Republicans, in the past, have 
supported.
  It appears that Republicans suit up every day and come to work with 
the sole purpose of defeating President Obama instead of suiting up 
with the sole purpose of creating jobs. And they oppose the policies 
that will turn our economy around for one reason and one reason only: 
politics and defeating President Obama.

[[Page S6703]]

  The famous author Gore Vidal once said: ``It is not enough to 
succeed. Others must fail.'' It seems this is the Republican motto this 
Congress. To me and to most Americans, putting politics ahead of this 
country's economic future is so far outside of the mainstream, it is 
barely on the map. That is where the Republicans have headed.
  Republicans have been candid about their goal this Congress. My 
friend the minority leader said:

       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 is how Senate Republicans measure 
success. But it is not how Republicans in the rest of the country 
measure success. The rest of America doesn't share those out-of-touch 
values. Like Democrats, the rest of the country believes there are some 
things more important than politics, even in an election year. Creating 
jobs is that most important thing.
  To Democrats and the vast majority of Americans, there is no goal 
more important than getting our economy humming once again. That is why 
Americans overwhelmingly support our plan to retain or rehire more than 
400,000 teachers and put more cops and firefighters back doing the 
things they do to keep our communities safe.
  In Nevada, this legislation will provide an additional $260 million 
to keep teachers in the classroom and maintain class size. It will 
support 3,600 jobs in my 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 that the wealthiest people in this 
country should help get our economy back on track. I repeat, three out 
of four Americans--actually, it is a little more than that: 76 
percent--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 
are out of touch with other Republicans. Fifty-four percent of 
Republicans support the Democrats' plan to create jobs building 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. Fifty-six percent of 
Republicans even support our proposal to ask millionaires and 
billionaires to contribute their fair share--one-half of 1 percent--to 
pull our Nation out of this terrible recession.
  The trend is clear: Americans overwhelmingly support the Democrats' 
plan to create jobs, even with Republicans supporting our ideas by a 
wide margin. 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, 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. I have just gone over those numbers. Republicans, like 
the rest of Americans, do not oppose our proposal to ask millionaires 
to contribute their fair share. On the contrary, they support that 
proposal--a one-half of 1 percent surtax on people making more than $1 
million a year. It is only 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 will 
make their mortgage payment. Like Democrats, they are tired of 
Republicans in Congress rooting for the economy to fail instead of 
working with us to secure our economic future.

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