President Should Work with Congress on Bipartisan Jobs and Reform Measures

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the President’s State of the Union tonight:

“Tonight, we’ll welcome President Obama to the Capitol.

“We look forward to hearing what he has to say.

“We're looking forward to Senator Ernst's address too. Joni Ernst understands the concerns of hardworking families in a way much of Washington hasn't. That's why the people of her state sent her here, to fight for them. She'll explain the commitment of this new Congress to work for policies aimed at the good jobs and better wages Americans deserve.


“Tonight is a big moment for the president -- and for our country.

“The tone he strikes, and the issues he highlights, it will tell us a lot about what to expect in his presidency’s final act.

“There's a lot riding on it. We'll be listening closely.

“One option is the path he's been on for so many years.

“I sincerely hope he makes a different choice. The American people just spoke in clear terms about this direction: they called for a new one. We should work together to make Washington focus on their concerns.

“Working with the new Congress for positive change — that’s the second option for President Obama. It’s the one struggling families and serious policymakers urge him to choose.

“The new Congress has already started to take up smart, bipartisan ideas focused on jobs and reform. But when we’ve asked the White House for constructive engagement, what we’ve seen so far has been discouraging.

“We need to change this dynamic. Let's turn the page. The State of the Union offers that opportunity.

“The American people aren’t demanding talking-point proposals designed to excite the base but not designed to pass. What they said they’re hungry for is substance and accomplishment. They want Washington to get back to work and focus on a serious jobs and reform agenda. They said they’re ready to see more constructive cooperation, especially on bipartisan jobs initiatives.

“Bipartisan jobs initiatives like the Keystone infrastructure bill.

“Keystone has support in both parties. It’s an important piece of infrastructure for our country. And, according to what the Obama Administration’s own State Department has said previously, constructing the pipeline would support thousands of jobs.

“It’s already passed the House. We’re currently working to pass it through the Senate.

“It will be on the president’s desk before long. We see no reason for him to veto these jobs.

“But whatever he decides, we’re going to keep working for positive, middle-class jobs ideas here in Congress.

“As I’ve said before, we’re not here to protect the president from a good idea.

“And if the president’s willing to work with us, there’s much we can get accomplished for the American people.

“We’ve already identified several areas of potential cooperation.

“Like tearing down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. And building jobs with comprehensive, pro-growth tax simplification. And working to prevent cyberattacks.

“On each of these issues, the president has previously sent some positive signals. Now we need his constructive engagement.

“We’ll be looking for signs of that in the speech he delivers.

“What I hope for tonight is that he presents some positive, bipartisan ideas of his own that can pass the Congress Americans just voted for.

“Give us new ideas to prevent Iran from becoming a country with nuclear weapons, or to confront the threats posed by terrorism, or to remove regulations that hurt struggling coal families.

“Challenge us with truly serious, realistic reforms that focus on growth and raising middle-class incomes—reforms that don’t just spend more money we don’t have.

“And, if the president is ready for a new beginning beyond cancelled health plans and partisan executive overreach, work with us to pursue an achievement that history will remember.

“Reach across the aisle to allow us to save and strengthen Medicare. Cooperate with both parties to save Social Security. Tell America your plan for responsible reforms that aim to balance the budget — not just more tired tax hikes.

“Achieving important reforms like these would represent a win for hardworking families. It would deliver the kind of common-sense progress Americans deserve.

“So we welcome the president tonight.

“We look to his address with interest.

“And if the president is ready to ‘play offense,’ then we urge him to join the new Congress in playing offense on behalf of the American people.”

Related Issues: Energy, Jobs, Entitlement Reform, War on Terror, State of the Union, Free Trade, Obamacare, Restoring the Senate, Keystone XL Pipeline, Taxes, Health Care