Opinion: Weekly remarks: Mitch McConnell says Democrats tune out Americans; Obama likes clean energy

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Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House
Over the past twenty months, we’ve been fighting not just to create more jobs today, but to rebuild our economy on a stronger foundation. Our future as a nation depends on making sure that the jobs and industries of the 21st century take root here in America. And there is perhaps no industry with more potential to create jobs now – and growth in the coming years – than clean energy.

For decades, we’ve talked about the importance of ending our dependence on foreign oil and pursuing new kinds of energy, like wind and solar power. But for just as long, progress had been prevented at every turn by the special interests and their allies in Washington.


So, year after year, our dependence on foreign oil grew. Families have been held hostage to spikes in gas prices. Good manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. And we’ve seen companies produce new energy technologies and high-skilled jobs not in America, but in countries like China, India and Germany.

It was essential – for our economy, our security, and our planet – that we finally tackle this challenge. That is why, since we took office, my administration has made an historic commitment to....

...promote clean energy technology. This will mean hundreds of thousands of new American jobs by 2012. Jobs for contractors to install energy-saving windows and insulation. Jobs for factory workers to build high-tech vehicle batteries, electric cars, and hybrid trucks. Jobs for engineers and construction crews to create wind farms and solar plants that are going to double the renewable energy we can generate in this country. These are jobs building the future.

For example, I want share with you one new development, made possible by the clean energy incentives we have launched. This month, in the Mojave Desert, a company called BrightSource plans to break ground on a revolutionary new type of solar power plant. It’s going to put about a thousand people to work building a state-of-the-art facility. And when it’s complete, it will turn sunlight into the energy that will power up to 140,000 homes – the largest such plant in the world. Not in China. Not in India. But in California.

With projects like this one, and others across this country, we are staking our claim to continued leadership in the new global economy. And we’re putting Americans to work producing clean, home-grown American energy that will help lower our reliance on foreign oil and protect our planet for future generations.

Now there are some in Washington who want to shut them down. In fact, in the Pledge they recently released, the Republican leadership is promising to scrap all the incentives for clean energy projects, including those currently underway – even with all the jobs and potential that they hold.

This doesn’t make sense for our economy. It doesn’t make sense for Americans who are looking for jobs. And it doesn’t make sense for our future. To go backwards and scrap these plans means handing the competitive edge to China and other nations. It means that we’ll grow even more dependent on foreign oil. And, at a time of economic hardship, it means forgoing jobs we desperately need. In fact, shutting down just this one project would cost about a thousand jobs.

That’s what’s at stake in this debate. We can go back to the failed energy policies that profited the oil companies but weakened our country. We can go back to the days when promising industries got set up overseas. Or we can go after new jobs in growing industries. And we can spur innovation and help make our economy more competitive. We know the choice that’s right for America. We need to do what we’ve always done – put our ingenuity and can do spirit to work to fight for a brighter future. Thanks. #### Weekly remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell, as provided by Republican congressional leadership
Good morning. This is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Over the past 19 months, we’ve witnessed something truly remarkable in Washington.

We’ve seen a governing party basically tune out the American people who elected them and aggressively advance an agenda that most Americans vehemently opposed.

In fact, the more Americans spoke out against government takeovers, government-run health care, wasteful spending, and debt, the more Democratic lawmakers seemed to dig in.

This is a pretty risky approach in a nation where the government, to quote the Declaration of Independence, derives its powers from the consent of the governed. It’s also the main reason most people expect Republicans to do pretty well in the upcoming November elections.

But Republicans aren’t under any illusions. We know voters are primarily interested in stopping the government freight train and sending a message to both parties this November.

They want all of us to know that we work for them, not the other way around.

And they want us to do something about jobs. Because chronic unemployment is not a second-tier issue: it’s a national crisis.

At the moment, nearly 15 million Americans are currently looking for work and can’t find it.

Another 11 million are working below their skill levels.

Yet virtually every single piece of major legislation Democrat leaders in Washington have proposed over the past 19 months has made it either harder for businesses to hire new workers or retain the workers they already have. And now they want to make it even worse.

Earlier this week, Democrat leaders who’ve spent the past year and a half working tirelessly to expand the reach of government, left town without doing the single most important thing they could have done for jobs.

Too preoccupied enacting the rest of their agenda, they neglected to pass or even propose legislation that would prevent one of the largest tax hikes in history.

As a result, at the stroke of midnight on December 31st, every American who pays income taxes is set to get a tax hike that Democrats have had two years to prevent.

The lowest income taxpayers will see a 50% increase in their federal income tax rate on their first $8,000 of income.

Middle class Americans will get hit hard — at the worst possible time.

Parents will see the child tax credit they’ve enjoyed for nearly a decade cut in half.

Many young people with college degrees will see the deduction they get on their loan interest vanish.

The death tax will rocket from 0 percent to 55 percent, meaning many Americans will soon have to hand over more than half of everything they have to the federal government before leaving it to their families.

Hundreds of thousands of small businesses will get socked with a job-killing tax hike.

And young couples will be penalized even more than they already are just for getting married.

All of these changes would overturn provisions that have been the law of the land for nearly ten years. And allowing them to happen at a time when so many are struggling makes no sense at all if you want to help the economy — something even the President admitted in the past.
That’s why I proposed a bill last month that would extend current law and prevent any of these tax hikes from taking place, S.3773, the Tax Hike Prevention Act.

Unfortunately, Democrats weren’t interested.

In the final days of the session, they had other priorities.

And whenever they were asked about this looming tax hike, they just blamed the Republicans.

They said that Republicans will be to blame for some people getting a tax hike because we didn’t think anyone should get a tax hike …

Now, I don’t get it either.

The fact is, the best way to help individuals and small businesses and the economy is to give them all the certainty that their taxes won’t be going up at the end of the year.

But Democrat leaders in Washington appear to have other plans with your money.

As the President recently said, and I’m quoting him directly: ‘I’ve got a whole bunch of better ways to spend that money.’

So after maxing out the national credit card on a failed Stimulus bill and a government-run health care bill, they want even more. And that’s why they are now holding middle class Americans hostage in a pursuit of their foolish desire to tax America’s job creators in the middle of a recession.

It makes you wonder who they’re listening to. I’m Mitch McConnell. Thanks for tuning in. ####

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