Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act—Motion to Proceedby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2014-09-16
McCONNELL. Mr. President, 1 year ago today, just a few blocks
from here, a lone gunman slipped into the Navy Yard and tragically took
12 lives. It was one of the deadliest such attacks on a U.S. military
base in American history. We have not forgotten those who fell that day
in Building 197, and all of us in the Senate send our condolences to
their families and everyone who loved them. They are not forgotten.
The Economy Mr. President, the Democrats who run Washington have had almost 6 years to fix the economy. They have already tried just about everything their ideology will allow to fix it. They raised taxes on everything from lifesaving medical devices to personal medical expenses. They have piled up record debt and shoveled billions in subsidies to the well connected, and they have empowered bureaucrats to cancel health care plans for the middle class, declared war on the jobs of vulnerable Kentucky families and--through EPA's Waters of the United States proposed rule--they are trying to regulate every last pond and ditch in our country. None of this has worked.
According to a recent Gallup survey, a solid majority of Americans believes the economy is actually getting worse, not better. Let's not forget that for several years the Democrats had supermajority control of Washington, could have passed anything they wanted, and all too often they did.
Since then, a Republican-led House of Representatives has tried to advance solutions on its own by passing dozens of jobs bills--many with strong bipartisan support over in the House. But the Democratic majority in the Senate simply refuses to take them up, and it is hard to understand why. It is hard to know if today's Washington Democratic Party is blinded by ideology or if they are so obsessed with the never- ending campaign that they cannot be bothered to govern.
Whatever the reason, the simple truth is this: Washington Democrats had a choice between helping the middle class and bowing to campaign pollsters and the left. It is obvious whom they chose.
The American people are worried about ISIL and the continuing threat of terrorism. They see a humanitarian crisis at the border. Many struggle every month to pay the bills. Millions still can't find work.
How do Democrats respond? They bring up a bill that would take an eraser to the First Amendment. So the hard left is clearly in the driver's seat on the other side. That is clear every time the Democratic majority ignores the concerns of our constituents to turn to yet another one of their so-called messaging bills, such as the recent one on eroding free speech, and it is truly a shame. That is not why the American people sent us.
It is long past time for Democrats to drop all the designed-to-fail bills and turn to serious job-creation ideas instead. There are literally dozens of House-passed jobs bills on the majority leader's desk. Why not pick up some of them and pass them. Let's get them to the President. Let's work together on a serious energy policy. Let's join hands to erase the strain on working moms and dads. Let's work toward sensible health care reform that doesn't hurt the middle class as ObamaCare does. Let's help college graduates find full-time work and start marching toward the careers they have always dreamed of. That is just a start.
If the Democratic Party is truly interested in getting serious, they should look at the many commonsense policy ideas advocated by Senators on my side of the aisle.
NLRB Reform Mr. President, my friend the senior Senator from Tennessee has always been a strong advocate for smart reform policies. He will discuss another one of those in just a moment. It is a bill that would go a long way toward remedying a serious problem that has been caused by the politics-at-all-cost mentality I have just described.
Here is the issue: Everybody is familiar with the President's unconstitutional effort to pack the National Labor Relations Board with liberal partisans back in early 2012. Some people are also familiar with the NLRB's more recent effort to undermine secret ballots for union elections, allow labor bosses access to sensitive employee information without their consent, and prevent companies from building factories in States with laws the President's picks don't like.
The NLRB is trying to destroy the franchisee model that has allowed so many Americans to own and operate their own businesses. They want to take away independence from small business men and women--such as decisions on whom to hire, how much to pay them, and how to run their business--and put it in the hands of corporate bosses. The so-called joint employer standard is all about politics and appeasing the left.
Big Labor bosses want it because it helps them expand and acquire more dues at the cost of small business owners who employ so many Americans. This is simply not right. For many in the middle class franchising represents a ticket to the dream of opening their own business. For many it may be their only chance to live that dream.
This is how one single mom and second-generation franchisee put it: To have my franchiser take over greater control of my daily operations would not only change my relationship with them, but it would ruin the dream of small business ownership for many hardworking Americans.
This is what a hotel franchise in Lexington had to say: My family came to the United States in search of the American dream and we found it as hoteliers and franchisees. The current franchise model has been instrumental in providing my family and me with opportunities for entrepreneurship and the ability to employ over 300 hardworking Kentuckians.
But this Kentuckian warned that this action by the NLRB could end his independence as a small business owner by ceding decisions to a far-off corporate headquarters. The NLRB action could have ``devastating impacts on my ability to create jobs, grow my businesses and support my community,'' he said.
Extreme, politically motivated proposals such as these hurt our constituents.
It is time to restore the balance to the National Labor Relations Board. Let's take the politics out of it. That is just what the legislation of my friend from Tennessee seeks to do. I will let him explain it, but here is the key: It would restore the NLRB to its proper role as an umpire instead of an advocate for the right or the left. It is the kind of thing our constituents want to see us doing-- standing up for reform and against entrenched political interests.
I am asking our Democratic friends to please shelve the designed-to- fail playbook and work with Republicans on a designed-to-succeed agenda instead. Six years of failure is quite enough.
Ebola Epidemic Today President Obama will visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to announce new efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. The U.S. Africa Command will stand up a Joint Force Command in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide command and control of U.S. military activities and help coordinate international relief efforts. Current estimates are that 3,000 military personnel will establish an intermediate staging base for supplies and equipment, set up a training site to prepare 500 health care workers per week to provide medical care to patients, and stand up a [[Page S5597]] field Defense Department hospital to care for any of our health care workers who become ill. Also contributing to our national reaction to this epidemic is the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The CDC has deployed personnel to Africa, and the National Institute of Health is developing an investigational Ebola vaccine. CDC is also working with Customs and Border Patrol to identify travelers showing any signs of infectious disease.
I support these efforts to contain the Ebola epidemic and know we will monitor this humanitarian crisis in the weeks ahead.