U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate Floor Monday regarding The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which would extend temporary tax relief to working Americans, prevent more job losses by blocking new regulations on U.S. manufacturers, and facilitate the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs through the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Without reform, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's director would be unaccountable to Congress or the American people and oversee a budget that is not subject to congressional oversight. Months ago, Republicans sent the president a letter explaining their concerns about this lack of transparency and accountability in an agency that is supposed to be protecting consumers. Now the president has nominated a director for this agency without making any effort to respond to Republicans' concerns. No director should take over the CFPB until these serious structural concerns are addressed and the agency is made accountable to the American people.

Over the past three years, the president has taken a bad economic situation and made it worse. Despite hundreds of billions in so-called stimulus legislation, our economy has continued to struggle. Now the president has chosen to postpone the creation of 20,000 jobs -- and the potential for up to 250,000 more -- to give himself political cover with interest groups important to his reelection. If the president is serious about job creation, he will immediately approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and put 20,000 Americans to work.

In the Weekly Republican Address, Maine Senator Olympia Snowe explains why a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution is needed.

The text of Republicans' proposed balanced budget amendment can be found here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/52020805/GOP-Balanced-Budget-Amendment-Text

Sen. Snowe says, "In the coming days, the United States Senate will have a long overdue debate and vote on a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. And let there be no mistake, we have no greater duty than to once and for all obligate the government to live within its means and spend no more than what it takes in. I have been a longtime champion of a balanced budget amendment in both the House and Senate to prevent precisely the kind of fiscal quagmire we are enmeshed in today, as our federal government borrows an astounding 40 cents of every dollar we spend."

"The fact is," she explains, "debts and deficits do matter. We have now entered what some have called an 'economic danger zone.' Our outstanding debt, which has now reached $15 trillion, has stunted economic growth, costing millions of American jobs. Just as disturbingly, the government currently pays a staggering $200 billion per year in interest to foreign countries that hold our treasury bonds...countries like China, and Russia. And that number is projected to increase to $1 trillion per year by 2021. Indeed, in the three short years since President Obama has taken office, the national debt has increased by nearly $5 trillion."

Sen. Snowe continues, "[L]et's be clear. The impending vote to amend the Constitution represents a choice between changing business as usual in Washington, or embracing the status quo that we can no longer afford. The status quo that has led to an inexcusable 950 straight days without passing a federal budget...the status quo that has brought us the first ever downgrade of America's sterling triple-A credit rating...and the status quo that was exemplified by the so-called supercommittee's inability to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next 10 years. Even the automatic cuts resulting from the supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement could all be undone by this or any future Congress -- unless we pass a balanced budget amendment like those already adopted by 49 other states, which will bind each successive Congress in perpetuity. "The bottom line is, the real reason many lawmakers don't want a balanced budget amendment is the exact reason why it's so essential. They don't want their hands tied...they want to continue to spend without restraint. Their way has been to break budgets and amass more and more debt...all the while promising Congress will one day balance the budget. Well, as we sadly know, the promises were empty, the debt is astronomical, and their way hasn't worked. Now, it's time for our way."

Concluding, Sen. Snowe asks Americans to support this balanced budget amendment, and to ask their senators to support it. "For too long, the burden has fallen to supporters of the balanced budget amendment to justify its necessity. Today, at this moment when our debt has exceeded the size of our entire economy, I ask you, the American people, to place the burden squarely where it belongs...on those who would oppose this measure. In typical Washington fashion, they're hoping you won't notice this historic vote is occurring. They are banking on you thinking it doesn't matter. Well, with the national debt at $15 trillion and rising, let me suggest there are 15 trillion reasons to prove them wrong. Fifteen trillion reasons to make a stand. Fifteen trillion reasons to contact your Senators and urge them to support our balanced budget amendment...Senate Joint Resolution 10...so that we finally seize the fiscal reins, and reclaim our future for our children and our grandchildren."