Here in The Arena, we like to give our readers a chance to hear both sides of public policy issues. Brother Keith Rouda just finished giving us an interesting series of articles about “What McConnell won’t tell you about unemployment,” in which he attempts to put a bit of lipstick on President Obama’s pig of an economy. With detailed charts and some snarky hyperbole, Rouda characterizes Senator Mitch McConnell’s “…utter lack of concern for the unemployed,” and opines that “Their suffering does not keep Senator McConnell awake at night.”
Well, to steal a line from the late Paul Harvey, “And now, for the rest of the story.” Let’s hear from Kentucky’s senior senator in his own words:
McConnell on Fox's Special Report with Bret Baier:
And, on Thursday last, the Senate Republican Leader made the following statement on the Senate floor Thursday regarding a vote on the bipartisan Withholding Tax Relief Act:
“Everybody in this body knows that the American people want us to do something about the jobs crisis. What Republicans have been saying is that raising taxes on business owners isn’t the way to do it.
“So what we’ve done is we’ve combed through the President’s latest stimulus bill looking for things we can actually support, for things that don’t punish the very people we’re counting on to create jobs. In other words, since the President never asked if there was anything in this legislation we could support, we’ve done it ourselves. And it turns out there’s a very sensible provision in there that would help businesses across the country.
“In fact, it’s identical to a bill Senator Brown introduced with 30 co-sponsors earlier this year, many of them Democrats: Senator Begich, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Pryor, Senator Tester, Senator Franken and Senator McCaskill—they’re all co-sponsors of Senator Brown’s bill. What this bill does is it repeals an existing requirement that government agencies at the state, local, and federal level withhold three percent of every payment to any contractor they do business with.
“This is money contractors may very well end up getting back from the IRS at some point long after the job is done, but in the meantime, the government gets to hold on to it instead of allowing the businesses to invest it in jobs and the economy. This is money these companies could be putting toward hiring workers and growing their businesses, but it’s going to the IRS instead, basically as a zero-interest loan to the federal government in Washington.
“Now, I know that members on both sides of the aisle are hearing from constituents about how burdensome this regulation is. That’s why President Obama himself already embraced delaying its implementation in his first Stimulus bill, and proposed delaying it again in his latest stimulus bill. And that’s why Senator Brown got so many Democrat sponsors when he proposed a full repeal.
“Like the President’s bill, this bill is fully offset. And the offset we’re proposing has been supported by our friends across the aisle. In fact, the last time it saw a vote, I think 81 Senators voted for it. So the bill we’re proposing is bipartisan, and the offset we’re proposing is bipartisan. There’s no reason in the world that Democrats — including the President — should oppose it. If delaying this legislation was a good idea before, repealing it should be an even better idea now.
“This bill is supported by hundreds of business groups representing job creators across America. We should come together and act right now; make it easier for them to create jobs for a change, not harder. The President asked us to come together and pass pieces of his bill. Here’s one that all 100 Senators should agree on.
“Let’s vote on it, and prove the skeptics wrong by acting in a bipartisan fashion on something that the job creators in this country actually want.”
And finally, for those readers who got a kick out of Mr. Rouda’s informative charts (from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis), here’s one he left out of the mix:
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