In a Senate floor speech Thursday, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called out his Democratic colleagues for stalling a vote on the bipartisan Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act while “scheming” to highlight wedge issues.
The legislative package has been heralded by Republican lawmakers as a way to ignite the economy by removing government regulatory barriers. One provision of the bill that’s come under criticism would ease disclosure requirements for smaller companies when they register with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
However, the bill has been supported by President Obama and easily passed the GOP-controlled House by a 390-to-23 vote.
Citing a report in Politico, McConnell says Senate Democrats—specifically U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-Ny.—are more interested in 30-second campaign attacks than supporting a jobs plan that has support in both parties and the White House.
“They want to pick a fight, rather than get this bill to the president’s desk,” he says. “Their plan isn’t to work together to make it easier to create jobs, but to look for ways to make it easier to keep their own. Then use it for campaign ads in the run-up to the November elections. I mean, if you’re looking for the reason Congress has a 9 percent approval rating, this is it.”
As the chief Democratic political strategist, Schumer announced plans to highlight wedge issues in Republican bills for the remainder of the year to paint the opposition as “anti-women, anti-Latino and anti-middle class.” With the Senate makeup favoring Democrats by a slim 53-to-47 margin, there are those who believe control of the chamber is on the line this November.
Since 2008, Schumer and McConnell have been political rivals who haven’t wasted any opportunity to throw barbs at one another publicly with the dispute sometimes getting personal. On his website, McConnell’s campaign brags about Schumer’s young brother contributing $1,000 to his re-election bid.
On the Senate floor, McConnell went as far as to enter the Politico story into the official record while criticizing Schumer for putting politics above fixing the economy.
“At a moment of economic crisis, the number three Democrat in Senate—the Democrat in charge of strategy over there—is sitting up at night trying to figure out a way to create an issue where there isn’t one, not to help solve our nation’s problems, but to help Democrats get reelected,” he says.
Critics have said the proposal eliminates key regulatory items that cover important disclosures, but observers expect the Senate will pass the JOBS Act in some form.