Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded to President Obama’s State of the Union address with remarks on the Senate floor Thursday. The Senator had sensible, cooperation-minded things to say about the energy development and expanded exports the President promoted the previous evening. From The Congressional Record, McConnell:
The President called for increased exports and for the Congress to pass trade agreements that have languished under the current majority in the Senate. Republicans agree with the need to increase trade and with the need to ratify trade agreements with Colombia and other important trading partners that so far have met resistance on the other side of the aisle. We also support passing a sensible bill to help Pakistan establish reconstruction opportunity zones that actually increase trade and do not impose self-defeating restrictions.
We agree with the President’s call to pass these agreements. We agree that these agreements will lead to more American jobs. The Congress should act on these agreements.
The President also called for producing more American energy. This is an area with a huge opportunity for American jobs that cannot—cannot—be sent overseas. We agree with his call for more clean energy produced here in America. We agree with his call for building more nuclear plants. We agree with his call for increased offshore exploration for oil and gas. We agree with his call for development of clean coal technologies. We should build a new generation of clean nuclear plants in this country.
Senate Republicans support building 100 new plants as quickly as possible. We hope Democrats will join us in that effort, particularly now with the President’s call to action. The President could start by moving forward on the nuclear loan guarantee program that was included in the bipartisan 2005 Energy bill. He could also put forward a plan for dealing with the waste that comes from these plants in a safe and secure manner.
The President and I agree on the need to meet in the middle to find bipartisan agreement to grow jobs. I have outlined two specific areas where the President and Republicans in Congress agree. We know that increased American energy, without a new national energy tax, will grow good jobs.
We know that increasing markets for our farmers, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers overseas through trade agreements will grow good jobs. We can get these done, and I hope the President will join us in calling on the majority to bring these issues to the floor in the Senate.
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