Text of Senator McConnell’s statement:
“Over the past week, President Obama has been traveling around the country trying to set a record for the number of times he can say the words ‘pass this bill right away’ in a single five-minute speech.
“And today, he’ll bring his act to a 50-year-old bridge that connects my own state of Kentucky with Ohio.
“Now, the purpose of this visit is clear: The President’s plan is to go out to this bridge and say that if only lawmakers in Washington would pass his second stimulus bill ‘right away’, then bridges like this one would get fixed — and that the only thing standing in the way of repairing them is people like me.
“Well, I would just make a couple of points about all this.
“First, I find it hard to take the President’s message all that seriously when his own Communications Director is over at the White House telling people he’s no longer interested in legislative compromise; and when the leaders of the President’s own party in Congress are treating this bill like an afterthought.
“We’d be more inclined to look at this so-called jobs bill if the President’s own staff and the members of his own party in Congress started taking it a little more seriously themselves.
“Second, I’d remind the President that the people of Kentucky and Ohio have heard this kind of thing before. Don’t forget: the President made the same promises when he was selling his first stimulus. It’s a message he brought to Ohio repeatedly.
“Here’s what he said two years ago this week at a stop in Warren, Ohio: ‘All across Ohio and all across the country, rebuilding our roads and our bridges … that’s what the Recovery Act has been all about.’
“Yet two and a half years later, what do we have to show for it: politically-connected companies like Solyndra ended up with hundreds of millions in taxpayer-backed money, and bridges like the one the President’s at today still need to be fixed.
“It’s worth noting, in fact, that this one company blew through more taxpayer money than the first stimulus allocated for every road and bridge in the entire state of Kentucky — combined.
“The President told Ohioans and Kentuckians the first stimulus would keep unemployment below 8% too.
“Yet two and a half years later, unemployment in both states is still above 9 percent.
“So we’ve heard these promises before, and I don’t think the President should expect anybody to fall for them again.
“I mean, how many stimulus bills do we have to pass before these bridges get fixed?
“How many Solyndras do we have to finance?
“How much money do we have to waste before the President makes good on the promises he’s already made?
“If a bridge needs fixing, by all means, let’s fix it.
“But don’t tell us we need to pass a half a trillion dollar stimulus bill and accept job-killing tax hikes to do it.
“Don’t tell the people of Kentucky they need to finance every turtle tunnel and solar panel company on some bureaucrat’s wish list in order to get their bridges fixed.
“And don’t patronize us by implying that if we just pass this second stimulus, that bridges will be fixed ‘right away.’
“The American people heard the same thing when the administration was selling the first stimulus, only to turn on their television sets two and a half years later to see the President having a big laugh over the fact that all those shovel-ready projects weren’t quite as shovel-ready as he thought they were.
“So I would suggest, Mr. President, that you think about ways to actually help the people of Kentucky and Ohio, instead of how you can use their roads and bridges as a backdrop for making a political point.
“If you’re truly interested in helping our state — if you really want to help our state — then come back to Washington and work with Republicans on legislation that will actually do something to revive our economy and create jobs. And forget the political theater.”
“Mitch McConnell” Image credit: Gage Skidmore