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Job Creation

Sen. Richard J. Durbin

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Madam President, I see my colleague from Colorado is on the floor, and he is going to speak to an amendment which is very important. The Republican leader addressed an aspect of it. I will make a brief comment.

If we want to create jobs in this country, we know how to do it. We passed a bill here last week, 74 to 22--a bipartisan bill. What a miracle. A bipartisan bill passes the Senate, a bill that would create 2.6 million, maybe 2.8 million jobs--create and save that many jobs in this economy--a bill that will help the American economy expand in the 21st century. What could it possibly be? It is called the Federal transportation bill. We do it every 5 years. If we do not do it--if we do not build the roads, the bridges, the airports, sustain passenger rail service and Amtrak, make certain we have mass transit and buses around America--our economy starts to contract instead of grow.

We passed this bill with a strong bipartisan vote, thanks to Senators Boxer and Inhofe. A Democrat and a Republican, a progressive and a conservative, came together on the bill. We sent it over to the House of Representatives and they said: Sorry, we are not going to take it up. We will not vote on it. We are going to send you a bill that allows people to create new startups, these new private companies, and we are going to eliminate the regulation that makes sure investors do not get fleeced. That is how we want to create jobs.

Well, that is like hoping America has amnesia. We remember the subprime mortgage mess when a lot of unsuspecting people were dragged into offices and into mortgages they had no idea were going to explode when the balloon burst.

Now, once again, the Republicans have said: The best way to create jobs in the future is to let that happen when it comes to the sale of stock in new companies. I am with Mary Schapiro, the Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. She has warned us, we need to put protections in this bill. It is not going to create the jobs they talk about. It is going to endanger investors.

I yield the floor for the Senator from Colorado.

The Senator from Colorado.

Sen. Michael Bennet

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Thank you, Madam President. And I thank the Senator from Illinois for his leadership and agree it is vital we pass the transportation bill.