WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the benefits Americans continue to see from the Republican pro-opportunity, pro-growth agenda:
“Economic data continue to confirm what we’ve been hearing from American workers and job creators for two years now: This is a pro-worker, pro-family, pro-opportunity economic moment. Hardly a day goes by without new headlines highlighting the new prosperity in communities the last administration’s policies overlooked and the red-hot market for American workers.
“Since January 2017, Republican policies have focused on letting the American people control more of their own money and letting American businesses create jobs more easily. The results? On our watch, unemployment has fallen to near 50-year lows — and stayed there. Underemployment has fallen too. Wages are growing. Month after month, we’ve had more job openings nationwide than Americans looking for work. Specifically, there are currently about 1.6 million more job openings than Americans looking for work, the widest margin ever recorded.
“Now, these aren’t Washington D.C. accomplishments. They’re the American people’s accomplishments. But public policy can change the conditions. Government can either create the conditions that help lead to success, or to stagnation. For example: Bad public policies under the Obama administration helped explain why the insufficient and unfair economic ‘recovery’ left so many places behind. High taxes. Heavy regulation. A hostile climate for business. These things added up. They took a real toll in many places.
“Take my home state of Kentucky, for example. Kentucky is proud of our diverse economy. We’re proud of our great healthcare and aviation sectors. We’re proud that we’re a tourist destination. It turns out bourbon and horse races are a winning combination. And we also take huge pride in the kinds of industries that liberal policies tend to either forget about or actively work against. I’m talking about manufacturing, and agriculture, and mining, and coal-fired electricity. The things that keep the lights on in America’s heartland. We could not be prouder of the huge role these sectors play in our Commonwealth.
“So it is not surprising that left-wing policies dreamt up in places like New York City and San Francisco for places like New York City and San Francisco were not too kind to Kentucky. Growth that was too slow. Jobs that were hard to come by. Some so-called experts said that it was just the ‘new normal.’ But we knew better. We knew Kentucky could get back on track if we could only get a fair shot and fewer hurdles from Washington. We needed the government to stop creating headwinds and maybe even create a few tailwinds.
“And that’s exactly what’s happened over the past two and a half years. Since January 2017, Republicans in Congress have partnered with the Trump administration to get our nation’s opportunity economy going and growing again — for everyone. We passed the first comprehensive overhaul of the federal tax code in more than a generation. We cut regulations that had reduced liberty and stifled our competitiveness. We helped American workers and entrepreneurs hang up a big, bright neon sign saying ‘Open For Business.’ And – no surprise here – working Americans have taken the ball and run with it.
“I’ve already read the national statistics. But I’m even prouder about this: Instead of being left behind, Kentucky is helping lead the charge. The state’s unemployment rate has hit and sustained its lowest level on record. Again, that’s record-breaking low unemployment. Last year Governor Bevin helped Kentucky welcome more than $5.3 billion of planned business investment. And this new growth isn’t just concentrated in urban centers. Rural communities in the Bluegrass are seeing more jobs, investment, and expansion as well.
“But of course, it takes more than two years to unwind the mistakes of the past. Parts of Kentucky are still struggling from the effects of liberal policies. And this Republican Senate, the administration, and leaders in Frankfort are laser-focused on continuing to invest in and fight for recovery. In many communities, particularly in rural Kentucky, the lingering pain has been hard to shake. The damage to the coal industry. The devastation caused by opioid and substance abuse.
“So more work is needed. And I’m honored to lead the charge in Washington to help Kentuckians confront these challenges. Through programs like the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Abandoned Mine Land pilot program, we’re investing hundreds of millions of dollars into struggling areas and out-of-work Americans. In Eastern Kentucky, Congressman Hal Rogers and I have partnered with local organizations to secure federal resources for everything from skills training to water infrastructure improvements.
“I’ve helped secure tens of millions of dollars to aid the retraining efforts of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program and job-creating programs like the Kentucky Highlands Community Development Corporation. We’ve also secured grants to bolster good jobs, support the environment, attract tourism, and promote healthy lifestyles. These are just a few examples from just one state. There are stories like this all over our country. While the previous administration left these men and women behind, Republicans recognize their skills and drive. We’re investing in their futures.”
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