(Senate - February 14, 2013)

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[Pages S722-S723]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          A FAMILIAR SCENARIO

  Mr. McCONNELL. In just 15 days significant across-the-board cuts are 
set to take effect unless the President and the Senate Democrats come 
up with a plan to replace them with smarter, targeted spending 
reductions. The President and the Senate majority have known about this 
deadline for more than a year. Yet here we are just days before the so-
called sequester is set to hit, and a familiar scenario is playing out 
once again. It goes something like this:
  Phase 1. Republicans identify a challenge and actually propose a 
  Phase 2. Liberals sit on their hands until the last minute.
  Phase 3. They offer some gimmicky tax hike designed to fail and then 
blame everybody else when it does.
  Phases 1 and 2 have gone exactly according to plan. House Republicans 
proposed and passed plans to replace the sequester months ago. As if on 
cue, Senate Democrats have doggedly refused to consider any of them, 
much less offer any of their own. Here we are again at phase 3. That 
means it is now time for them to swoop in with the gimmick.

  That is why our friends on the other side have been huddled behind 
closed doors with pollsters and PR spinmeisters. They have been busy 
devising the most appealing-sounding tax hikes they can think of.
  Don't believe me? Just watch what happens now. Later today, Senate 
Democrats are expected to roll out the gimmick. Remember, this is not a 
solution. Even they know it can't pass. But that is the idea. It is a 
political stunt designed to mask the fact they have offered no 
solutions and don't plan to offer any solutions. It is a total waste of 
  For nearly 2 months, I have been coming to the floor to ask Senate 
Democrats to work with us on a bill that could pass both Houses of 
Congress. If they were the least bit serious about a solution, they 
have had more than a year to write a bill in committee, bring it to the 
floor, vote on amendments, get it to the House and fix this.
  Instead, they have waited right up until the moment of crisis, just 
as they always do, and then they get together not with the goal of 
finding a solution but to hatch an escape plan aimed at making 
Republicans look like the bad guys. Their whole goal here isn't to 
solve the problem, it is to have a show vote that is designed to fail, 
call it a day, and wait for someone else to pick up the pieces.
  My message this morning is quite simple: There won't be any easy off-
ramps on this one. The days of eleventh hour negotiations are over. 
Washington Democrats have gotten used to Republicans bailing them out 
of their own lack of responsibility. But those days have passed. Look, 
they run the Senate; they run the White House. It is time they started 
acting like it.

[[Page S723]]

  As a first step, Senate Democrats need to honor their pledge to 
return to regular order. Legislation that passes through this Chamber 
should be written with input from both parties. It should get a fair 
public vetting in committee, and Senators should get a chance to offer 
amendments. Just yesterday, the President's own Treasury nominee called 
for a return to regular order.
  So it is time for the President and Senate Democrats to put the games 
and gimmicks aside. It is time they stopped waiting until the last 
minute to get things done around here. People are tired of it. I know 
my constituents in Kentucky are certainly tired of it. They have had 
enough of the political theater. It is time to put the stunts aside and 
actually work on real solutions. That is what we were sent here to do, 
and we should do it.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.