Thursday, November 3, 2011

McConnell Contrasts Jobs and Infrastrucure Bills

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the floor of the Senate today in which he contrasted the starkly different approaches of the two parties regarding creating jobs to fix our crumbling infrastructures.

Louisville readers will be particularly interested in McConnell''s comments about bridge construction and repair:  the Republican bill takes unspent money and allows the states to use it to, for example, fix the Sherman-Minton Bridge rather than build bike paths. The Republican bill allows for immediate repairs; the Democrats, in contrast, take longer to do less and yet spend more money.

The Republican bill strips away the red tape that delays such projects; that's what it takes to make a bill "shovel ready."

Here's the video of  McConnell's statement, and here's the text:

“We’re going to see two very different approaches to infrastructure and job creation today. The American people can decide for themselves which one makes more sense.

“The Republican proposal extends the current highway bill for another two years, giving states and contractors the certainty they need to start new infrastructure projects and create jobs.

“The legislation Senator Hatch is proposing today puts an end to that uncertainty for the next two years.

“This proposal also gives states the authority to decide how this money is spent. If folks in Ohio or Kentucky want to build a bridge, Washington can’t force them to build a bike path.

“The Republican proposal accelerates the review period and clears away the bureaucratic red tape. The President admitted a few months ago that the shovel-ready projects in his first stimulus bill didn’t turn out to be as shovel-ready as he thought. Our proposal helps make sure they are.

“Our bill prohibits the EPA from imposing burdensome and unnecessary new regulations on American cement producers and domestic boilers, so the cost of American-made materials for the projects paid for through this highway bill don’t skyrocket just as they’re set to begin. This bill keeps those costs down.

“Best of all, it’s fully paid for through funds that were originally appropriated for another purpose but not spent. Whatever’s left over after these projects are funded goes to pay down the deficit.

“The Democrats are taking a different approach.

“First, according to the CBO, the Democrats’ proposal will do little for the economy and putting people back to work in the short-term because the money will be spent gradually.

“According to the CBO, less than one tenth of the funds in the Democrat proposal will be spent next year. And roughly 40 percent won’t be spent until after 2015. This hardly matches the President’s calls for doing something ‘right away.’

“Second, it costs another $57 billion we don’t have.

“Third, they want to pay for this temporary spending bill with a permanent tax hike on job creators.

“And fourth, they already know that Republicans and yes, some Democrats, don’t think we should be taxing job creators, particularly at a time when 14 million Americans are looking for a job — and that we’ll vote against any proposal that does so.

“In other words, the Democrats have deliberately designed this bill to fail.

“So the truth is, Democrats are more interested in building a campaign message than in rebuilding roads and bridges. And frankly, the American people deserve a lot better than that. The people of Kentucky deserve better than that.

“The people in my state have serious, time-sensitive bridge projects– Brent Spence, the I-69, the Louisville bridges, Sherman Minton.

“They deserve better than this.

“The Associated General Contractors of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have already spoken out against the Democrat proposal.

“The rest of the American people can decide which approach they prefer: our proposal, which doesn’t add to the deficit, doesn’t raise taxes, empowers the states to make decisions on the local level, and is designed to gain bipartisan support.

“Or the Democrat’s top-down approach, which perpetuates uncertainty, raises taxes on businesses at a time when we should be giving them more reasons to hire not less, and which was designed in coordination with the White House political team to fail.

“These are the two approaches on display in the Senate today.

“The choice should be obvious.”

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