Unemployment Insuranceby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2014-01-13
McCONNELL. Mr. President, my friend the majority leader is
talking about the crush of nominations. Of course, the reason we have a
crush of nominations is because of the decision of the majority to
break the rules of the Senate to change the rules of the Senate last
year, which produced the inevitable, entirely predictable consequence
of sending an enormous number of nominations back down to the
administration at the end of the session.
So the decision of the majority to run roughshod over the minority has a lot of consequences, one of which is pretty clear already: that it didn't streamline the nomination process as it was sold to the minority to do. It only made it more difficult.
On another matter, I would like to say a word about unemployment insurance.
The reason for the holdup should be pretty obvious at this point. Republicans have a lot of good ideas on how to pay for this extension. We also have a lot of proposals for getting at the root of the problem, proposals that would make it easier for folks who are struggling in this economy to actually find stable and fulfilling work or get retrained so they can find good jobs. That is a goal on which I expect we could all agree.
Unfortunately, up until the weekend the majority leader wasn't terribly interested in any of these ideas. He only seemed to want to extend the program without really paying for it, without doing much of anything to help private sector job creation, and without creating opportunities for targeted training that would help folks who are currently receiving unemployment assistance actually find a job.
So I think this is unfortunate. There is clearly no shortage of creative, constructive proposals out there which speak to the underlying problems, which speak to the urgent need to create more stable, good-paying jobs, and which make sure we don't increase our already out-of-control Federal debt. Some of these ideas actually come from Democrats. The Presiding Officer's senior Senator from Connecticut has an idea to create a program that subsidizes employment for low- income Americans so they aren't stuck in neutral while they search for permanent work. This is an idea which actually deserves debate and a vote.
As I have indicated in recent days, the majority leader should give other Senators more of a say in what we do around here, including members of his own conference. So hopefully his comments a few moments ago and over the weekend are a sign that we may be able to work this out in a way that the Senate can function the way it used to, which was that Members were able to actually offer amendments and get votes before we moved to final passage on important legislation.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.