September 16, 2010
Scott Mulhauser/Erin Shields
Baucus Floor Statement Regarding the Small Business Jobs Bill
Mr. President, Theodore Roosevelt once said: "Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing."
Americans prize hard work. We value a day's pay earned at honest labor, and that is one reason the great recession that started in 2008 has been particularly hard on Americans. The great recession robbed eight million Americans of one of the best prizes that life offers--their work.
That is why for two years now we have been working hard to create jobs. We worked to create jobs by passing the Recovery Act at the beginning of last year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that the Recovery Act "increased the number of full-time equivalent jobs by two million to 4.8 million compared with what would have occurred.''
We worked to create jobs by passing the HIRE Act in March of this year. The Treasury Department found "an estimated 4.5 million workers who have been unemployed for eight weeks or longer were hired by employers who are eligible for the HIRE Act payroll tax exemption.''
We have been working to create jobs with this small business bill before us. We have been working to pass this bill since June. That is right, since June. Here it is September. Finally we are going to get this bill passed--I hope.
The economists tell us that this small business jobs bill could help small businesses create as many as half a million new jobs.
This small business jobs bill would provide small businesses with access to capital. It would create incentives for investment. It would support innovation and entrepreneurship. This small business jobs bill would give small businesses $12 billion in tax cuts. It would increase small business lending. It would help small business owners get private capital to finance expansion and hire new workers. It would reward entrepreneurs for investing in new small businesses. It would help Main Street businesses compete with big companies. All these things would help small businesses to create as many as half a million more jobs.
The Joint Committee on Taxation has prepared a technical explanation of the bill which expresses the Finance Committee's legislative intent behind the tax provisions. It is available on the Joint Committee's website.
This small business jobs bill has been hard work. For something this common sense, it has been harder work than we thought it would be. Some folks on the other side of the aisle have thrown obstacles in the way. Some have thrown in our way pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. Today they are throwing the kitchen sink in our way as well.
Today, before we can vote on this targeted small business jobs bill, some on the other side have resorted to the last refuge of delay. They are proposing motions to suspend the rules of the Senate. They are throwing two more votes in the way.
But in case anyone is taking these last-minute antics at face value, let me set the record straight. These motions to suspend the rules are not serious legislating. These motions are not the way the Senate enacts law. We do not enact law by suspending the rules.
Rather, these motions are the way that folks score points. These motions are the way folks try to embarrass other people. These motions, quite frankly, are stunts.
If you take them at face value, these motions address two tax provisions that expired at the end of last year. They are two examples of what folks around here call tax extenders.
Here is the irony: We have been trying to extend these and other expiring tax provisions for months. Yes, literally for months. We took up the extenders bill in March, and we have been trying again and again to pass a package of all the expiring provisions pretty much all year since then.
To make it entirely clear, I will try again today. Before the vote on the motions to suspend the rules, I will ask unanimous consent to take up and pass the full set of expiring provisions. In a few minutes, I will ask unanimous consent to take up and pass a paid-for, responsible set of expiring provisions. One way or another, Congress will address these expiring provisions. We always do. We will do so again this year.
But no one should be misled. These motions to suspend the rules today are not serious legislating. They are merely two more in a series of delays thrown up in front of this bill. We should reject these delaying tactics. We should get on with passing this bill to create small business jobs.
Creating jobs is what people sent us here to do, and now is the time to do it.
Thanks to Tuesday's vote, we are finally bringing this debate to a close. It is certainly time. It is time to get this work done. It is time to help small businesses. It is time to help create up to half a million new jobs. This bill has been hard work, but this bill is work worth doing. So let's bring this debate to a close. Let's reject the transparent efforts to delay some have thrown in the way, and let's target this targeted tax relief to small businesses today.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.