Videos & Speeches

Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, rightfully so, the focus in this Congress is very much about the economy and job creation, and it is appropriate that we have before the Senate a piece of legislation dealing with small business. We know small business and entrepreneurship is a path to job creation.

We are spending a lot of time in this Senate, in the House, and in Washington, DC, discussing the economy, and one of the things that is front and center today is the need for us to be much more responsible in our spending habits. In my view, the Federal Government is financially broke. Rightfully so, we ought to pass a continuing resolution that reduces spending for the remaining 6 months of this fiscal year. We ought to quickly move to a budget and to an appropriation process that allows for the give-and-take, the consideration of those things that we can afford to spend money on, the things that are appropriately the role of the Federal Government, and find those places in which we can again significantly reduce spending. That is an important aspect of whether we are going to get our economy back on track and jobs created.

I think often we write off what happens in Washington, DC. The American people see us as just Republicans and Democrats having one more battle about spending and deficits. It’s  things I have heard, topics I have heard discussed my entire life coming from Washington, DC. The reality is, this is an important issue at an important time in our country's history. In the absence of an appropriate resolution of this spending issue, in my view, the standard of living Americans enjoy today will be reduced, inflation will return, the value of the dollar will be diminished, and the standard of living we have become accustomed to as Americans today, as I say, will be diminished. But worse than that, the opportunity for our children and grandchildren to pursue the American dream is certainly less than what we want it to be, certainly less than what I experienced as an American growing up in this country.

And yes, it is no fun for us, as elected officials, to talk about things that need to be cut, spending that needs to be reduced. I certainly stand willing to work with my colleagues and with the President and others to see we accomplish that goal of reducing spending, and the consequence of that being a better budget picture and a reduced deficit. But there is a positive aspect of what we can do to reduce our budget deficit that goes beyond just cutting spending; that is, to create jobs, to create economic expansion.

The optimism this country needs can be restored by decisions we make in here in the United States Congress. Those decisions revolve around a business or an entrepreneur, a small business man or woman's decision that it is time to expand their plant, it is time to invest and put in more plant equipment, that it is time to hire an additional employee.

In my view, one of the reasons that is not happening is the tax environment that has been created, the uncertainty that we have with what our Tax Code is going to be, the lack of access to credit, the uncertainty our bankers and other financial lenders face in determining whether they can make a loan to a creditworthy customer, and especially the one I want to talk about just briefly today, which is the regulatory environment that the business community finds itself in.

This effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, in my view, does two very negative things toward job creation in two ways: One, it increases the cost of being in business, and that occurs at a time in which we don't expect other countries to abide by the same regimen that we may create--that our Environmental Protection Agency may create--around the world, that we would not expect other countries to abide by those same rules and regulations the EPA is putting in place.

That means, once again, American workers, American business is at a competitive disadvantage in comparison to those who make decisions about where plants are located, and we lose access to world markets because somebody else can sell something cheaper than we can because of rising costs of production.

So even if there is an effort that excludes agriculture or small business from this legislation, the cost of production goes up, because in addition to the direct effect of having those regulations apply to your business, there is the indirect increase in cost related to fuel and energy costs--electricity and gas.

And so, clearly, to me, if you care about job creation you would make certain that the Environmental Protection Agency does not head down the path that it is going, because of the increased cost of being in business and the consequences that has for American business to be able to compete in a global economy.

The second aspect of that is, and I think it is one of the real drags on today's recovery from the recession, is the uncertainty. No business person feels comfortable today in making a decision to expand or to put more people to work, to hire an additional employee, to invest in plant or equipment, because they do not know what the next set of regulations are going to do to their bottom line.

So even the uncertainty of this issue, we have had the drag upon our economy with the thought that Congress might pass the legislation labeled cap and trade. It became clear when the Senate adjourned at the end of 2010 that that was not going to happen. But then the uncertainty became, but what is the Environmental Protection Agency going to do?

As I visit plants, facilities across Kansas and talk to family owners of small businesses, manufacturers, the most common question I get from a business owner is, what next is government going to do that may put me out of business? It is unfortunate; seems as though government is no longer even neutral in regard to the success of a business in the United States but has become an adversary.

And so, Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to support the McConnell amendment. I think it is a clear statement that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot do what it intends to do. It eliminates the uncertainty that a business person faces, and it reduces the cost of being in business in a way that says, we are going to grow the economy and put people to work.

We are going to have a lot of conversation on the Senate floor, we are going to have discussions with the administration, with our colleagues in the House of Representatives, about what spending we are going to cut. And those are difficult conversations. But I come back to the point that we as Americans have the opportunity to be optimistic. What we need to do for us to have a bright future, what we can do to have a positive conversation with the American people about what good things are yet to come, revolves around the fact that we will get rid of onerous regulations that serve no valid purpose in improving our environment and create great uncertainty and ever increasing costs for being in business.

We can have this conversation in a vacuum. But the reality is, our economy does not operate in a vacuum. Our business folks in Kansas and across the country have to compete in a global economy. This legislation that Senator McConnell and Senator Inhofe have offered eliminates that uncertainty, reduces the cost of being in business, and allows us to have optimism about the future of the American economy and, most importantly, optimism for the people who sit around their dining room table wanting to make certain they either can keep a job or can find a job.

So, Mr. President, I see the McConnell amendment as that moment of optimism. The message we send to the American worker, to those who are employed and to those who are unemployed, that this United States Senate understands that unless we get rid of the impediments toward growing an economy, we have little optimism about the future of job creation.

The McConnell amendment sends that message. It does it in a way that makes a lot of sense for the American economy and for the American worker.