Floor Updates

Reid, Durbin, Schumer, Murray

Farm bill (S. 3240)

Jun 07 2012

12:24 PM

Senator Reid: (11:43 PM)
  • Spoke on GOP obstructionism.
    • SUMMARY "The last Congress was the most productive in the history of the country. Some say not the most productive. Certainly, no one disagrees the most productive since Franklin Roosevelt was President during his first term. With this new majority of the House, this Congress has been altogether different, and that is an understatement. Consistently, this Congress has taken weeks or months to pass even simple, commonsense legislation, proposals that would previously have passed in minutes. The Senate has wasted literally months considering bipartisan bills only to have those bills smothered to death under piles of non-relevant Republican amendments. And congressional Republicans have held even the most important jobs measures hostage to extract votes on unrelated ideological amendments, despite the Minority Leader's own call to "stop all the showboats." Those were his words. Democrats and the American people have endured this blatant obstruction all year. In fact, for 18 months. What is this we're talking about obstruction. If you look in the dictionary, it says it all. I did that this morning. The dictionary says that obstruction is a condition of being clogged or blocked. Now, doesn't that define what's happened here in this wonderful body we call the United States Senate? Republicans have clogged or blocked everything we have tried to do, even things they have agreed on. And yesterday, we read that we'll have to endure every day for the rest of the year, every day for the rest of this Congress and this came from congressman cantor, the number two person in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. House Republican leaders admit they have given up on actually.. track and continue 27 months of private sector job growth, they say they're done legislating for the year. In spite of the fact that the President is working to create 4.3 million private-sector jobs. But listen to this report from the political publication POLITICO yesterday, "Serious legislation is all but done until after the election. The rest of this year, Cantor said, will be likely about sending signals." Let's try that again because it is truly hard to comprehend that somebody who is supposedly running the other body would say such a thing, but he did. "Serious legislation is all but done until after the election much. The rest of this year, cantor said, will likely be about sending signals." So, rather than work with democrats to strengthen our economy and create jobs, congressional Republicans will put on a show designed to demonstrate extreme, ideological direction in which they would lead this country. The Majority Leader Cantor's statement is frightening. He said out-loud what every Republican on Capitol Hill has been thinking all along, they care more about winning elections than creating jobs."

Senator Durbin: (11:54 AM)
  • Spoke on the Highway bill.
    • SUMMARY "The fact is, as of today, maybe tomorrow, the House is gone for a week. So in this critical period of time when we're up against a July 1 deadline, when millions of American jobs are on the line, the House is leaving. And Eric Cantor said, it doesn't make any difference if we stay because we're not going to do anything significant. We're just going to politic and posture. How do you explain this to the families across America, workers who need a job at a time when the economy is tough, people living paycheck to paycheck, now have to I guess, accept this furlough that the Majority leader has announced for the rest of the year. There's important work to be done here Majority leader Cantor has announced that school's out for the House Republicans, they're finished for the year. But America isn't finished. Our agenda is still there. I want to commend the Senate Republicans who have joined us in passing this Transportation bill and I want to say to Speaker Boehner, when you return from the next recess next week, roll up your sleeves and get to work. Put 2.8 million Americans to work with this bipartisan transportation bill, have the courage to bring it for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives so we can put America to work and make certain they know that we take our jobs seriously."

Senator Schumer: (12:03 PM)
  • Spoke on GOP obstructionism.
    • SUMMARY "Many of us have been frustrated lately by the glacial pace of activity in the House of Representatives. The Senate is supposed to be the cooling saucer, but these days, the House is where jobs bills and other important measures go to die. They are dragging out negotiations on a Highway bill that would put millions to work. They refuse to even allow a conference on a bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization, even though the senate passed a bill with 68 votes. They refused to authorize a bill that cracks down on china's unfair currency practices, something their own party's nominee for President claims to support. Why the stalling? Well, we got our answer in the pages of POLITICO two days ago. Eric Cantor, who controls the floor schedule in the House, has decided to forego legislating in favor of politicking full time. Despite all the major challenges that this congress faces, despite the crisis of confidence that may hit our markets in the fall due to uncertainty over the looming fiscal cliff, Eric Cantor has declared a moratorium on any serious legislating until after the fall elections. The House of Representatives is like a computer that has been turned on sleep mode and it doesn't plan to be rebooted until after November. This is a breathtaking admission by the number 2Republican in the House. I wouldn't be surprised if Leader Cantor wishes he could take his statement back. It contradicts the rhetoric from many on his own side. Just last month in a speech at the Peterson Institute, the Speaker of the House made a great show of calling on the administration and Congress to tackle tax cuts and the debt ceiling now, before the el election. Here's what Speaker Boehner said. "It's about time we roll up our sleeves and get to work." Unfortunately, Leader Cantor's comments seem to reflect House Republicans' true intentions more so than Speaker Boehner's quote. And that's a terrible shame. Leader Cantor and the House Republicans are shrinking from a potentially historic moment. I have a message for Leader Cantor, you may have abandoned any intention to legislate this year but we will not bow to election-year politics here in the Senate. The nation needs us and we have too much to do."

Senator Murray: (12:12 PM)
  • Spoke on GOP obstructionism.
    • SUMMARY "If Republicans can set aside politics and stand up to their tea party base, we can protect victims of domestic violence. We can pass a Transportation bill. We can stop those tuition hikes. We can pass our Appropriations bills. In fact, we can even come together on the big issue that House Republicans have indicated they believe can only be resolved after an election. If Republicans are ready to admit that it will take a balanced and bipartisan deal to avoid that fiscal cliff, we could make a deal tomorrow. But on this issue, Republicans haven't just refused to meet us in the middle. They won't even come out of their corner. We all know a bipartisan deal is going to be required Unfortunately, Republicans are singularly focused on protecting the wealthiest Americans from paying a penny more in taxes. Democrats are ready, we are willing to compromise, we know it's difficult, but we have to have a partner to do that. Republicans need to understand that the fiscal cliff is not simply going to disappear if they close their eyes and wish hard enough. We have to act. And Republicans shouldn't let politics stop them from working now on a balanced and bipartisan deal. Middle-class families today expect and deserve. Statements like the one made by the House Majority Leader only reaffirm what American families fear the most, that at a time when they deserve a government at their back, they are being abandoned. In the Senate, we have shown here that we can come together around bipartisan solutions but we cannot do it alone. House Republicans need to send the American people a clear message they are willing to be a partner in compromise. It's time for them to take up our bipartisan legislation to protect women and put workers back on the job. It's time to work with us in the appropriations process and to help our nation's students. It's time to realize that a solution to the impending fiscal cliff will require a balance. It is certainly not time to give up."