Mr. OBERSTAR. I thank the distinguished Chair of the Appropriations Committee, my good friend from across the waters in Wisconsin, Mr. Obey, and I applaud him for his extraordinary persistence and leadership in bringing to us this Jobs for Main Street Act. He has been consistent, persistent, forceful, vocal, and very laser beam-oriented on creating jobs.
Madam Speaker, in this Jobs for Main Street, $39 billion is allocated to additional transportation and infrastructure investment to create and sustain family-wage construction jobs and, at the same time, rebuilding the Nation's highways and bridges and wastewater treatment systems.
We extend in this provision the highway and highway safety and transit programs through September 30, 2010. There is $27.5 billion for highways, $8.4 billion for transit, as in the current Recovery Act. There is $800 million for Amtrak, $500 million for airports where an extraordinary success was achieved with nearly all of the airport projects being either completed or under contract on the job, improving our airport capacity. There is $1 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Funds
to improve wastewater treatment facilities and to build new ones where they don't exist today. There is $715 million for the Corps of Engineers, and there is $100 million for ship construction to help our maritime interests.
We have a highly successful record on that portion of the stimulus that comes from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure from which both Mr. Obey and the distinguished Republican leader are graduates.
There are 220,000 direct jobs on over 8,000 projects. There are 630,000 direct jobs and jobs in the supply chain, supplying asphalt, cement, pipe, concrete, and culverts for this program. There is $10 billion paid in payroll checks and $179 million in unemployment insurance compensation checks avoided, and there is $230 million in taxes paid to the Federal Government by those on these jobs, and there is more to come.
The results: There are 28,000 miles of highway pavement--improved, widened, expanded--underway right now. That is what we have achieved to this day, and we have more to come. There are 1,200 bridges restored, repaired, replaced, and with this addition in the Jobs for Main Street Act, we will have 56,000 miles of pavement rebuilt in the coming year. That will be 10,000 miles more than the entire Interstate Highway System just in this one bill.
That is an investment in America.
I assure my colleagues that this Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will continue its vigorous oversight and accountability and transparency. Every month, every Member has received this report from our committee, a report with 14 categories of progress for each State under these key programs. You can track how many funds are associated with projects completed, how many projects are underway, the total job hours created and sustained, and the total payroll for hours created or sustained
in every month for every State.
We are making this clear that we are accountable and that we are investing in America and that we will continue to do this under the Jobs for Main Street program.
Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Madam Speaker, I want to say, in January, the President rushed through a massive stimulus bill of $787 billion, which was supposed to be targeted and timely for shovel-ready projects. We had to do this to keep unemployment from going to 8 percent. Well, now it's at 10 percent. Rather than going back into the stimulus program and doing major surgery, we are adding yet another spending bill from a different account.
To begin with, the stimulus bill only had about 27 percent in public works-type projects. Most of it went to plus-up pet political projects of Congress and to create 31 brand new Federal Government programs. Even then, 12 percent of the money is all that has left town. Most of it is still in Washington, D.C.
To give you some examples, there is a Smart Grid program of $4.5 billion. None of the funds have been spent. There is a $2.2 billion alternative fuel program. None of those funds have been spent. There is a $4 billion energy innovative technology loan program. Only $2 million has been spent. There is an $8 billion high-speed rail project of which zero funds have been spent. There is $1 billion for the COPS grants program, and no funds from it have left Washington, D.C.
Before we go spending additional money, wouldn't it make sense to try to figure out what the logjam is?
You can go to the Web site of the stimulus program, and you can see the jobs that were created in the 99th District of the Virgin Islands or in the 42nd District of Connecticut. The only problem is there are no such districts. They are fictitious numbers. You could go to Augusta, Georgia, and look at the housing projects where 317 jobs were created. Only it really wasn't for creating jobs. It was a bonus for existing employees. Again, from the administration's Web site, $937 million was spent
on 10,000 projects from which no jobs were created. The stimulus program is not working. We need to revamp it.
Another reason we don't have jobs under this administration is because of the cap-and-trade policy.
Mr. KINGSTON. The cap-and-trade proposal is a scheme based on some phony numbers, not all of the numbers. Incidentally, I don't recommend Al Gore's book to anybody, but if you have time for reading today, keep that one in mind. It's going to run jobs overseas. We need to take a look at it. Particularly, it needs to be based on real numbers, not on phony numbers.
The health care policy is an 8 percent tax on small businesses with a myriad of new rules and regulations with the possibility of lawsuits. There is the banking bill, which is just going to crunch credit all over America. This is not the right thing to do at the last minute.
Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank him for all of his work on this legislation.
Madam Speaker, today, Congress has the opportunity to continue the effort to rebuild the American economy. We have made significant progress since January when more than 600,000 people were losing their jobs. Last month, it was 11,000--a dramatic improvement. In fact, in November, a year ago, it was over 700,000 people who were losing their jobs. I don't know what the figure has to be before the Republicans decide they ought to help Americans keep their jobs, to find new jobs, and to get jobs
so they can support their families.
The fact is, every day, as to the Recovery Act, which they want to continue to lampoon and the rest of it, more and more economists and more and more fiscal analysts of the markets in this country are telling us that the Recovery Act is the reason that we have moved from a negative GDP to a positive GDP. It is the reason we have saved or created more than 1.6 million jobs. Those aren't our words. Those are the words of the people who are in the private sector who are talking about this market.
What are they warning us about now?
It's not just the traditional jobs. It's a question of--and this comes again from private analysts--whether or not local governments which are somewhere between $200 billion and $300 billion underwater because of the economy, because of the recession and because of their loss of receipts and revenues can create a wave of unemployment that will swamp the good news that is taking place and the news that we hope will get better and that we think will get better. It can overwhelm the positive job
numbers that we are starting to see, and it can create that kind of problem.
It also means that, once again, we can see--and what this legislation prevents--is that wave of layoffs in teachers, in firefighters, in police, and in first responders because we know that that's about keeping our communities healthy and safe. It's about making sure that our kids do not become the victims of this economy because of the layoffs, the shorter school days, the larger classes that are taking place, and the shorter school years. The States are going to struggle with this.
We know from the private sector, if you look around at what has taken place in this recession, that the leaders in the private sector decided, in this kind of economy, this is when you want to invest in your future. That is what we are doing. We are investing in the future of our children and of our young people going to college. We are creating additional slots so they can get into community colleges, so that they can get job training, and so that they can have teachers and decent class sizes.
That is what this legislation is about.
It's about trying to create job opportunities, and it's about holding onto job opportunities for American families. It's also to make sure that their children do not lose a year of educational opportunity and so that they do not slide back from the progress that we're seeing. All across this country, as the test scores are getting better and as proficiency is getting better among fourth graders and eighth graders, that is the progress that we have made. This recession could wreck it all, and
we've seen it all across the country.
Rio Vista, Texas, laid off 15 percent of its teachers. Dearborn, Michigan, just approved 200 teacher layoffs. The LA Unified School District laid off 2,000 teachers and maybe another 1,500 teachers next year.
You can stop that from happening. You can stop that from happening by voting for this legislation.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Madam Speaker, there is no question that the American people are hurting. Since the start of this recession in 2007, 6.9 million people have lost their jobs. A third of those without jobs have been unemployed for more than 6 months. That's a post-World War II high.
Clearly Congress needs to find a way to spur private sector job creation, a bipartisan way, not one rammed through without public hearings. Madam Speaker, a famous son of New Jersey once said, and that's Yogi Berra, ``It's déja 2 vu all over again.''
Congress and the President enacted in February a trillion-dollar stimulus package with the promise that its shovel-ready spending would keep unemployment from exceeding 8 percent. While the Nation's official unemployment is 10 percent, the real unemployment and underemployment now exceed 17 percent.
Yet the majority is suggesting that we double down on spending borrowed dollars in many of the same areas touched by the first stimulus. For example, only 7 percent of the $2 billion in the stimulus bill for the Army Corps of Engineers civil construction has been spent. Yet this bill adds another $750 million.
Only 8 percent of the $1 billion in the stimulus for Bureau of Reclamation water projects has been spent. This legislation includes another $100 million.
The stimulus contained $4 billion for Energy Innovation Loans. Just 10 percent has been spent since February. So let's make sure to approve another $1 billion.
Of the $36 billion the Department of Energy has been given, about $955 million has been spent and only $17.5 billion has been obligated.
If this isn't bad enough, where is the funding coming from? It's coming from the TARP program, Troubled Asset Relief Program. That money, when it is paid back, is supposed to go to reduce the deficit. Here we are spending.
I rise to oppose this bill. This bill needs to be opposed.
Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate you giving me a minute to speak on this.
This is the single most important issue facing the American people, jobs. You talk about troubled assets, what greater troubled assets do we have than jobs and homes? These are the troubled assets that the American people want us to respond to.
Throughout the length and breadth of this country, small towns, country towns, from Michigan, Ohio, throughout wherever it is, people are concerned about jobs. The misery index is high, the depression index is high. Do you know what a job means?
Here we have got $75 billion. What better place to put it than in small businesses, into the heart and the soul of the American economy, at the middle and at the bottom where people will spend it.
Ladies and gentlemen of this Congress, this is Christmastime. Next week is Christmas. What better Christmas gift can we give the American people than this jobs bill that will put our people back to work, that will build our homes, that will help our families, that will give them hope where they need it. They deserve this Christmas present this day.
Mr. TIAHRT. I thank the gentleman from California.
Madam Speaker, 10 months ago we stood here and told you the stimulus bill would not help the economy recover. We told you it would not work because the $787 billion plus interest would only grow the size of government. You can't grow the economy from the government down. You have to grow it from the ground up.
By any standard, we were right. Now we have news accounts of how the money was spent, mostly on government workers writing more government regulations. Then there was the news about the pay raises for Head [Page: H15459]
Start teachers and the buyouts for university professors and unemployment is double digits. It's 10 percent.
Today on the floor we have the ``son of the stimulus'' bill. It's another $154 billion of failed economic policies that will only prolong the economic pain.
This bill includes another $750 million for green jobs on top of the previous bill's $750 million. So far, no green jobs have been created.
The ``son of the stimulus'' adds $23 billion to State and local governments on top of the $53 billion in the stimulus bill.
You can't isolate State and local governments from the recession. If you do, they will do nothing to help with the recovery. History tells us what works. When we have the opportunity in America, new ideas come into the marketplace and the economy will grow. When the economy grows, the Federal revenue grows without raising taxes.
Here is how you create opportunity: stop spending, stop borrowing. You can't grow the economy from the government down. Freeze regulations, audit every one of them and only keep the ones where the benefit exceeds the cost.
Keep taxes low. When you do, people save. They invest; they spend. All of that's good for the economy. Lower health care costs, not by taking over with the government, but by addressing defensive medicine, by addressing tort reform and by incorporating free market principles and then become energy independent. That alone would solve your unemployment problem.
Now, it's true that providing the opportunity for the economy to grow does not pay back the government unions for all they have done for you in the last election. Government unions should be pleased with this bill, but the American taxpayers should not. They should be angry.
For those that are unemployed workers, well, we are sorry, because this bill will not do anything for the unemployment rate. It's a failed economic policy that only pays back those who invested in the last election for the majority party.
Madam Speaker, I would ask my colleagues to vote ``no'' on this legislation and, instead, do something that will help the economy recover by providing opportunity for the unemployed workers.
Mr. OBEY. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 2 minutes.
Madam Speaker, when President Bush left office, we were losing over 700,000 jobs a month. We passed the economic recovery package, and we have gotten that down to about 11,000 jobs a month. That's not enough, but it's terrific progress.
I am somewhat bemused, however, by all of the comments by our friends on the minority side of the aisle denouncing the recovery package and saying that it didn't work. Not a single one of them voted for it on this House floor.
But if you check newspaper accounts around the country, you will see, for instance, that the minority leader, in a June 15 press statement, said that he was pleased that Federal officials stepped in and ordered Ohio to use all of its construction dollars for shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs.
The minority whip vowed to shed partisan politics to help the economy. He met with transportation officials about how his home State of Virginia could apply for stimulus grants to build a rail line.
The minority chief deputy whip, in his own press release, outright praised the courthouse in his district receiving funds from the recovery package to build a new courthouse. He said, ``I applaud this funding for the Bakersfield Federal courthouse.''
My Republican colleague from New Jersey (Mr. Lance) announced by a press release that his district received $13 million from the Recovery Act for local flood control projects. ``This is outstanding news,'' he said. He even sent a letter to President Obama asking for speedy release of those recovery funds.
Another of our colleagues from Michigan on that side of the aisle issued a press release saying he was pleased to announce that his international airport would receive $12.7 million from funds received by the Recovery Act.
Mr. OBEY. I yield myself 1 additional minute.
Another of our colleagues on the minority side from Illinois said, ``There is no question these grants will be of assistance in creating jobs.''
I can go on and on and on citing Member after Member who denounced the bill on the House floor and then went home to their districts and issued grandiose press releases expressing their support for the results of the recovery package.
I have a little difficulty following that ping pong ball when it's bouncing on both sides of the table. I have a little difficulty following the folks on that side of the aisle when they decide to fall off both sides of the same horse. I wish you would make up your mind: which do we believe, your statements that you make at home or the statements and the votes you cast on this House floor?
Mrs. EMERSON. Madam Speaker, I want to say a couple of things first. Number one, I don't know if the American people realize that since 2007 this Congress has increased spending on nondefense, nonveterans discretionary spending and, including the stimulus in that, by 85 percent, 85 percent. In so doing, we still have 30 percent unemployment in the construction trades in the State of Missouri, and there is no excuse for that. This bill does very little to help that, very, very little.
As a matter of fact, some of the stimulus money that went to create new jobs in my congressional district--actually, our job training people were told that anybody who is in job training counted as a new job. Now that's disingenuous at best, and it's not fair to a person who is being counted as having a job and one is not there waiting for them when they graduate.
I really want to talk today about my concerns about the use of TARP funds to offset additional government spending. You know, when we debated this legislation, we were told the funds were going to be repaid and that in the long term the Federal Government could make money on the TARP program.
However, today we are debating whether to use TARP funds, which the administration really had no plans to spend, as an offset for yet more government spending. This is a gimmick extraordinaire.
We just debated a bill to increase the debt limit to $12.4 trillion. Using this budget gimmick as an offset for $75 billion in new spending is not going to reduce the debt one bit. Every economist in America says if we don't reduce the debt in this country, then our economy will go away.
It is going to ensure, this bill does, that our government debt is going to continue to grow, increasing our dependence on China, on other foreign investors and increasing the financial burden on our children and grandchildren.
Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Rangel).
(Mr. RANGEL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. RANGEL. Chairman Obey, let me thank you for not just saying what are we going to do about the jobs, but bringing this all together and doing something about it. One of our great Presidents, Jack Kennedy, once said that sometimes your party just asks too much of you.
I know that's what my Republican friends must feel today, because there is no question in my mind that they have just as much compassion in their heart for those jobless people as we do. They know, as we do, that those who have lost their homes, lost their dignity, lost their job, didn't do it by being Democrats or being Republicans.
I recognize that when you go in a room and make a decision to say ``no,'' you are kind of stuck with it, so we are not naive enough to believe that I can change your mind about what you already decided, but I do hope that when [Page: H15460]
you go back to your home districts, and you recognize what is happening to people who are jobless, many of whom are hopeless, many have lost their skills and many who hope soon it will not continue, have lost what it's like to
believe that in this great country there is no limit to how far that you could go.
So maybe next year would be different. Maybe the guys in the street will be following you around, as we find people grabbing Members of the Congress, saying, Hey, my dad needs a job, Congressman, Congresswoman, can you help?
We're trying to help. It was a big crisis and a lot of blame to go around. But collectively someone thought that TARP would work. Well, it had some successes. One thing is certain: We're not going back there. This time it's not the banks. It's not Wall Street in my area. It's now going to be Main Street, so that once again you have an opportunity to explain what are you doing in the Congress.
Well, I know it didn't go over big to say that you were bailing out banks. It certainly didn't go over in my district. How about we're trying to bail out our people. We're trying to restore the hope and confidence they had. We're trying to keep kids in school. We're trying to put food on their table. Sure, we talk about food stamps and food pantry, but we're trying to restore that dignity that make Americans so much different from other people.
In the Ways and Means Committee, where we have jurisdiction over COBRA, this is another step to have dignity. You lose your job, you lose your health care. What a terrible thing to be looking for work and you're sick and you can't even go to the doctor. Worse still, if there are sick people in your family and you don't have the insurance. Well, the Federal Government comes in not with handouts but saying can we give you a hand with your responsibility to provide health care? And that's what we've
done on our committee.
We've taken unemployment benefits. You know, you can get enough checks for the length of time----
Mr. RANGEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In any event, we got aid out there for school construction. It's not just to make certain that we have a place for our kids to learn to become the leaders of tomorrow but also that people can get bricks and mortar and rebuild those schools and renovate those schools, and that's what we're doing.
We've been able to make certain that at least the Ways and Means Committee can join in with the other committees, under the leadership of our great Speaker and DAVE OBEY, to be able to say this is not all that we want to do; this is all that we can do.
Maybe over the holidays you might be able to get back to your leadership and say, We've been faithful. But we've found out that many in our districts have lost jobs, lost their home, lost their health insurance, and really lost hope. Just saying ``no'' is not going to work.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Madam Speaker, it is my honor to recognize the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, the gentleman from Kansas, for 3 minutes, Mr. Tiahrt.
Mr. CAMP. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Albert Einstein once said, ``The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.''
Yet even though their stimulus bill hasn't created a single job and has resulted in 10 percent unemployment, House Democrats have brought to the floor today a stimulus II bill that explicitly amends, continues, or expands numerous provisions of their failed stimulus I bill.
And here's a graphic depiction of this insanity.
How does spending more on the Bureau of Reclamation create jobs now when it didn't before? How does transit capital assistance create jobs now when it didn't before? And how do more loan guarantees create jobs now when they didn't before?
This is a ``son of stimulus'' bill. Let's stop the insanity. Vote ``no.''
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Madam Speaker, the assertion that the economic recovery bill, the stimulus bill, has created no jobs is, I must say, one of the least intellectually supportable statements I have heard on this House floor, and I've been here a long time. There's an argument about how much and how little, but no competent economist denies that it helped create jobs.
Here's where we are: The fact is that the Obama recovery from the Bush recession has been going more slowly than many of us would like, but it is undeniable by every statistic it is going forward.
Now, if you listen to my Republican colleagues, you learn that the third worst day in American history was January 21, 2009. The worst day, of course, was Pearl Harbor, and then we had the terrible mass murders of 2001. But to pick a day when there were no mass deaths, what was the worst day? January 21, 2009, because according to this debate, guess what happened on January 21, 2009? The Federal budget, which was apparently in surplus, all of a sudden punched into deficit. Unemployment suddenly
appeared. The war in Afghanistan, by the way, was going wonderfully until January 21, 2009. There were no bailouts until January 21, 2009. Some of you may have thought they
happened in September of last year, but, no, apparently it all started on January 21, 2009.
And not only that--and I have to say I'm quoting my partner, Jim, here--it was one of the worst outbreaks of disease in American history. Mass amnesia seized the Republican Party on January 21, 2009. They forgot that the Bush recession started under President Bush in 2007, after they had controlled both the House and the Senate and the Presidency for the longest time. They forgot that the deficit had mushroomed under them. They forgot that trying to pay for two wars with five tax cuts was kind
of a bad idea, and at least you shouldn't be surprised it resulted in a deficit.
So what we are now doing is trying to undo that. And adults understand that you cannot go from a terrible decline to rapid increase without passing through a transitional period. We are passing through it by every economic statistic.
Now, I agree the situation was worse than we thought, and it is getting better more slowly than we had hoped, but it is clearly getting better. And, again, if you listen to my Republican colleagues, the world began on January 21, 2009. I know some of them thought it started 4,000 years ago, and they didn't believe in evolution. I didn't think they thought it all started when Barack Obama became President.
We do try here to help. I was astounded to hear the gentleman from Michigan say it hasn't created one job. Madam Speaker, tell that to the cops and firefighters in my district who were rehired because of this. Tell that to the people now working to clean up a Superfund site in my district which was funded by this bill. This denial of reality to evade responsibility for the dilemma we are in is breathtaking.
So I want to congratulate the gentleman from Wisconsin, who has been the most consistent advocate of social fairness and economic effectiveness that we've had, for a wonderful bill.
Mr. HENSARLING. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
You know, repeating failure over and over might be amusing if it wasn't for the fact that so many of our countrymen are suffering.
I heard the distinguished chairman of the Financial Services Committee share with us his history lesson, but also I might add if we look at press reports, clearly Democrats have had trouble counting jobs in America.
What we do know is that the Department of Labor says that we still have double-digit unemployment under this President and this Democratic Congress. What we know is that the Department of Labor says that since the first stimulus bill was passed, to add an [Page: H15461]
extra trillion dollars of spending and debt for future generations to pick up, that 3.6 million of our fellow countrymen have lost their jobs.
The history lesson that I hope my friends on the other side of the aisle would learn is that you cannot spend your way into more jobs. You cannot borrow your way into more jobs. And you cannot bail out your way into more jobs. And, Madam Speaker, the legislation they bring before us does exactly that. It's more of the same. It is ``son of stimulus.''
Spend another $150 billion of taxpayer money. How many more jobs have to be lost? It wasn't an hour ago that this body just voted for $290 billion more of debt ceiling, borrowing the money from the Chinese, sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. How many more jobs have to be lost? Bailout funds, bailout funds for the States, bailout funds for the municipalities. How many more bailouts, how many more jobs have to be lost?
In this economy, small business, they want to create the jobs, but take away your trillion-dollar takeover of health care, take away your $600 billion national energy tax, take away your perpetual Wall Street bailout bill, and jobs will come back to America.
Those are the policies that we need, Madam Speaker.
Ms. DeLAURO. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this jobs bill.
We have seen 23 straight months of job losses. What does this mean? It means that families are under a huge stress. It means there are hungry children in the United States of America. It means a lost generation of American workers.
We owe a response to those families contending with joblessness and the financial havoc it wreaks on their lives. It is not only the moral thing to do; it is our obligation as legislators and as citizens.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill. It redirects $75 billion of TARP funds, money that was spent on Wall Street, and it moves it toward key infrastructure investments, which will provide jobs now. It provides a foundation for long-term prosperity. It helps to stabilize our public sector workforce. It supports teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public servants. And as important, it cuts taxes for 16 million struggling families by making the child tax credit available to
working families with children.
They lost their jobs. They lost their health benefits. Their work hours were cut short. And, yes, their child tax credit was decreased. Refundable tax credits are the most fiscally stimulative policies that we can put into place. Don't listen to me. Listen to economists. And it puts money into the hands of families who are living today paycheck to paycheck, and their spending in turn leads to a strong boost in job creation. Let's put that TARP money to work where it always belonged, in the hands
of the American people.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill. We need to get America back to work.
Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman from California.
Madam Speaker, Winston Churchill once said that, ``All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.''
Today it is apparent that Congress has not learned anything. The bill on the floor today is just another round of spending that doubles down the failure of last February's so-called stimulus plan while ballooning the deficit.
The first stimulus plan and bill failed to hold down unemployment, but it successfully increased our reliance on borrowed money. Worse, a lot of the money designated for infrastructure, those shovel-ready projects we all heard about, hasn't even gotten out of Washington yet. Why is it still here if it was designed to create jobs?
Sadly, pouring billions into the very same programs will meet a similar dismal fate. Just as bad, this legislation continues to fall hopelessly short of providing real relief to small businesses so they can resume hiring, investing, and expanding.
Now is not the time to spend an additional $150 billion we don't have. It's time to come together to ease the burden on small businesses and to start giving them a sense of certainty so they can go about the business of creating jobs and prosperity.
Madam Speaker, I urge a ``no'' vote on this so-called ``jobs'' bill.
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. Only the lack of clarity and poor eyesight can call this the so-called jobs bill, because if we've looked over the last year, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped save 3.5 million jobs. They named Chairman Bernanke as the person of the year, but his twin was the work that was done on this floor by the Democratic leadership to invest in America. My district has a 9 percent unemployment. In Saturday's Washington Post, three parents were seen with lights out
and children who are hungry. Oh, yes, this sounds like spend, spend, spend, but I tell you, if we can invest a billion dollars in infrastructure, we create 27,800 jobs, and I'm proud to invest 35 billion of those dollars in fixing the highways and the roads of America.
I am glad 150,000 Americans will now be able to get training in high professional jobs, and I am glad that we are working on a metro system that will create jobs in our district.
Vote for this bill. It's jobs, jobs, jobs. Get good glasses and you'll see that.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Madam Speaker, by way of inquiry of my chairman, aside, Mr. Chairman, from the unprecedented and secretive process by which this bill was put together and is being brought to the floor, the rule before us contained a most unusual provision to allow the chairman to submit a report explaining the legislation. It would be very helpful to all Members before we vote on over $154 billion in spending to actually have the benefit of the chairman's explanation.
I, for one, have not only not seen this report, I didn't even know he was writing one. Therefore, I would ask the chairman, is there a copy of this report, and will you make it available now so that Members will have a chance to see it before we vote on this bill?
Mr. OBEY. Well, I find it very interesting that the gentleman has not raised this point with respect to the Defense appropriations bill. But let me simply say that the explanatory statement for this bill is very short. It is on our Web site. It was posted there this morning.
Mr. LEWIS of California. The chairman certainly might have given us the courtesy of communicating that that was his intention ahead of time. And it's very clearly stated within the report that the Members would have it available to them. Obviously, the chairman has chosen to ignore that side of the responsibility.
With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FATTAH. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation. The Republican minority has been fairly consistent. When we focused on health care, they said, well, 85 percent of the people in the country have health care, so let's not turn things upside down, let's not sacrifice too much to try to deal with the tens of millions who don't have it; 85 percent have it.
On the jobs front, 90 percent of the people in the country have jobs. So I can see their lack of empathy for the 10 percent who don't, and they don't see a need for us to act. But as we come to this holiday season, as we look and see many of our citizens who not only have not a job at this moment, mainly because of policies enacted, this unwarranted war in Iraq and fiscal policies that have had us a double-digit national debt in the trillions before [Page: H15462]
Obama was sworn into office, but they don't really see a need for us to do a great deal of effort here to try to put Americans back to work.
I want to thank the chairman for authoring this legislation which is bifurcated, both focused on jobs and also in helping people in a difficult moment. That's what I think America ought to be about. I rise in support of this legislation.
Mr. LEWIS of California. I think it would be very important for the Members to know, Madam Speaker, that up to this point, only about 15 percent of the first piece of this package has been spent, so Stimulus I is a long ways away from being spent. And I think we all know that the agencies are awash in money coming through the pipeline, and they wonder where it's going to go from here. It's significant to know that as we spend the people's money in this process, with very, very little information
available to our Members, the majority is choosing to push another $150 billion down that pipeline, regardless of what has been spent already.
It seems to me that one of the lessons to be learned here is that the American people are much smarter than we give them credit for. They know that just throwing money at every perceived problem out there is no way to solve such a problem. In the meantime, I will listen with interest to my chairman's closing remarks.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. OBEY. Madam Speaker, we have heard three times at least now our friends on the minority side indicate that only 12 percent of the original stimulus funding has, quote, left the Treasury. That's a very slippery way to put it, because the fact is that what ``left the Treasury'' means is that after funds are obligated to those who will actually spend it, and after the bills have been paid by those recipients, then the money has, indeed, left the Treasury. The real term to focus on is what has
been obligated. And the fact is that for the programs in this bill, 70 percent of the funds previously appropriated to those programs have already been obligated. So much for that argument.
Example: The minority press release states, ``No funds out of the $1 billion provided for COPS has left the Treasury.'' The fact is, all of that funding has been awarded.
The minority press release states, ``Only $235 million out of the $6.4 billion for EPA wastewater grants has left the Treasury.'' The fact is, 99 percent of that funding has already been provided to the States. So much for that straw man.
Let me, Madam Speaker, simply make this observation: we have before us a bill that determines to redirect $75 billion, which had initially been directed to help Wall Street, and we want to, instead, redirect that money to help Main Street. So we provide $27 billion, for instance, for highway infrastructure projects to put people back in construction. You're either for it or you're against it.
We have provided enough funding in this legislation to assist more than 670 communities address their growing backlog of water and sewer repairs and put people to work in the process. You're either for it or against it.
We've provided $27 billion from Wall Street to Main Street to try to stabilize public service jobs. We're trying to preserve 250,000 teaching jobs over the next 2 years, for instance. You're either for doing that or you're against it.
We're trying to use $500 million to preserve the jobs of thousands of firefighters all across the country. You are either going to help or you're not.
We are trying to provide 250,000 disadvantaged youth with summer employment opportunities. You're either going to help them or you're not.
We're trying to provide 250,000 students with additional college work study funds so they can stay in school. You're either going to help those students or you're not.
We're trying to provide funding for approximately 150,000 individuals in high-growth and emerging industry sectors where we know there are job growth possibilities. You're either going to help support that or not.
We are trying to provide unemployment insurance for 6 months rather than the 2-month extension that was in the previous bill today. You're either going to help those people or not.
We are trying to provide $23 billion to extend the higher Federal match for payments to doctors, or we're not.
So, basically, it's about time to decide where you're coming from. An article in the New York Times today described what happens when you lose your job. It pointed out that more than half of the Nation's unemployed workers have had to borrow money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. They've had to cut back on doctor visits. That same article indicates that a quarter of those polled had said they'd lost their home or been threatened with foreclosure. They also noted that half of
the adults surveyed admitted to feeling embarrassed or ashamed as a result of being out of work. And nearly half of the respondents said they no longer had health insurance. The question is, are you going to help those people or not?
We can argue what our economic philosophy is until the cows come home, as they say in my area, but it seems to me that the question simply is, We've got a problem; what are you going to do about it?
JOBS FOR MAIN STREET ACT, 2010
THE JOBS CRISIS
A jobs bill is urgently needed because of the worst job situation since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The vast majority of fair-minded economists have concluded that the Recovery Act has had a positive effect on the job situation and they also agree that sizeable and targeted deficit spending makes sense at this time of unusually high unemployment, low inflation, and low interest rates, but not after the economy recovers.
The current recession has been especially severe in the labor market:
The unemployment rate has reached 10 percent. Almost every age and education group is experiencing higher unemployment than at any time since the 1930s.
This dismal unemployment situation is not expected to improve any time soon. The Blue Chip consensus of economic forecasters expects the unemployment rate to get worse early next year and still be 9.9 percent at the end of 2010.
The number of people unemployed has more than doubled in the last two years, from 7.2 million to 15.4 million, an increase of 8.2 million. 10.6 million more people would have a job today if employment growth had simply kept up with population growth over the last two years.
The crisis in the job-market goes beyond the increase in unemployment. The number of people working part time but seeking full-time work has doubled in two years, from 4.5 million to 9.2 million. The number of people who want a job but are too discouraged to look for work has risen by 1.4 million or 30 percent in two years.
The total number of people who are either unemployed or working part-time for economic reasons or have dropped out of the labor force but want a job has risen by 14.2 million in just two years.
Other indicators make the case for a jobs bill:
For the first time since the 1930s, manufacturing is using less than two-thirds of its capacity. So much unused capacity means that production can be very responsive to new demand without increases in prices.
With its Federal funds rate at virtually zero, the Federal Reserve's capacity to stimulate the economy is limited.
The rates on Federal government borrowing remain unusually low.
The evidence is overwhelming that the Recovery Act has made the job situation substantially better than it would have been without the Recovery Act:
The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that, as of September, the Recovery Act had already raised employment by 600,000 to 1.6 million. All major private forecasters have made similar estimates.
The rate of job loss has declined from 700,000 a month for the three months before the Recovery Act to just 11,000 job losses last month.
A recent Wall Street Journal survey of economic forecasters found that a clear majority supported additional jobs measures, a [Page: H15463]
position that they would not have taken unless they believed the first round had worked.
Continued high unemployment takes a toll on those unemployed and their families who experience the frustration of not finding work. Local communities also suffer a loss of tax base which forces cutbacks on education and other services vital to everyone in the community.
It makes sense for the Federal government to invest more in expanding training opportunities at times of high unemployment. State and local governments face pressures to cut back on all spending, including education. On the other hand, the lack of work opportunities gives many people more time to devote to education and upgrading job skills.
Faster reduction of unemployment is in the long-term interest of the Nation's economy. When people have jobs, they have money to spend that has a multiplier effect on the economy generally. In addition, prolonged unemployment causes workers' skills to erode which reduces the Nation's productive capacity.
TITLE I--INFRASTRUCTURE AND JOBS INVESTMENT
CHAPTER 1--DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Community Oriented Policing Services
(INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS)
The bill provides $1,179,000,000 for Community Oriented Policing Services grants for the hiring and rehiring of an estimated 5,500 law enforcement officers.
CHAPTER 2--ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT
CORPS OF ENGINEERS--CIVIL WORKS
DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
Corps of Engineers--Civil
(INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS)
The bill provides an additional $715,000,000 for Construction to support an estimated 7,800 jobs. This funding will support the construction of water resource projects in areas where they can quickly create jobs. Unemployment in the construction industry in November was 19.4 percent, up from just 6.2 percent two years ago. The projects will also provide long-term economic benefits through lasting infrastructure improvements. The Corps is directed to consider the following criteria when allocating
funds: programs, projects or activities that can be commenced quickly; programs, projects or activities that will create high and immediate employment; programs, projects or activities that will be executed by contract or direct hire of temporary labor; and programs, projects or activities that are located in a state with high unemployment.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Reclamation
WATER AND RELATED RESOURCES
(INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS)
The bill provides an additional $100,000,000 to support an estimated 1,000 jobs for the programs of the Bureau of Reclamation. This funding will support the construction of water supply projects in areas where they can quickly create jobs in the construction industry. Unemployment in that sector was 19.4 percent in November, up from just 6.2 percent two years ago. The Bureau is directed to consider the following criteria when allocating funds: programs, projects or activities that can be commenced
quickly; programs, projects or activities that will create high and immediate employment; programs, projects or activities that will be executed by contract or direct hire of temporary labor; and programs, projects or activities that are located in a state with high unemployment. Additionally, funds are provided to respond
to drought in western and southwestern United States by expediting projects and activities that supplement existing water supplies such as through the title XVI program, meeting fish and wildlife needs, adding flexibility to water delivery systems, or addressing other factors to reduce conflict over limited water supplies.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program
The bill provides an additional $2,000,000,000 for the cost of guaranteed loans authorized by section 1705 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This funding should support an estimated 22,000 jobs in the renewable energy sector, providing a boost to the construction industry as well as contribute to the Nation's goals for energy independence. Most renewable energy funds are spent on materials and workmanship to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on costly energy imports. Further, as
we build manufacturing capability in the United States, renewable energy technologies developed and built here can be sold overseas, providing a boost to the U.S. trade deficit.
INCENTIVES FOR INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES LOAN GUARANTEE PROGRAMS
Section 1201 includes a provision modifying the Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorization for the Department of Energy's Innovative Loan Guarantee Program.
CHAPTER 3--HOMELAND SECURITY
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Firefighter Assistance Grants
This bill provides $500,000,000 to retain, rehire, and hire an estimated 2,500 firefighters across the United States and directs the Department of Homeland Security to make these awards within 120 days. The Secretary may transfer any unused funds to firefighter assistance equipment grants subject to notification.
CHAPTER 4--INTERIOR AND THE ENVIRONMENT
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Bureau of Land Management
Management of Lands and Resources
The bill provides $20,000,000 as an additional amount for ``Management of Lands and Resources'' to support an estimated 1,000 term jobs. These funds should be used to increase term employment for activities on all Bureau of Land Management lands including maintenance, resource management, invasive species management, and inventory and monitoring.
UNITED STATES FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
The bill provides $30,000,000 as an additional amount for ``Resource Management'' to support an estimated 1,500 term jobs. These funds should be used to increase term employment for activities funded under this heading, including activities on all national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries such as maintenance, invasive species management, inventory and monitoring, and for high priority habitat restoration projects.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Operation of the National Park System
The bill provides $50,000,000 as an additional amount for ``Operation of the National Park System'' to support an estimated 2,700 term jobs. These funds should be used to increase term employment for activities on all national park units such as maintenance, interpretive, and resource management activities including invasive species management, inventory and monitoring, restoration of historical resources, and work with the National Register of Historic Places.
Wildland Fire Management
The bill provides $20,000,000 as an additional amount for ``Wildland Fire Management'' to support an estimated 1,000 term jobs. These funds should be used to increase term employment for activities on all Interior Department lands, particularly for hazardous fuels reduction and related activities including necessary inventory and monitoring.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
State and Tribal Assistance Grants
(INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS)
The bill provides $2,000,000,000 for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements, of which $1,000,000,000 is for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1,000,000,000 is for the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. This funding will support approximately 44,000 jobs and will assist more than 670 communities and cities construct vitally needed projects to address the ever growing backlog of sewer and water repairs and rehabilitation. The bill provides that half of the funds include
additional subsidies such as principal forgiveness and grants, making it easier for more communities to have access to this program.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
STATE AND PRIVATE FORESTRY
The bill provides $75,000,000 as an additional amount for ``State and Private Forestry'' to support an estimated 3,800 term jobs. These funds are for financial assistance to States and other authorized cooperators, to increase term employment for activities, including reducing wildfire hazards, forest health management, restoring and rehabilitating forests damaged by pests or invasive species, enhancing urban and community ecosystems, and providing cooperation and technical assistance. The Forest
Service should not require cost share for the use of these urgently needed funds.
NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM
The bill provides $40,000,000 as an additional amount for ``National Forest System'' to support an estimated 2,000 term jobs. These funds should be used to increase term employment, including management, protection, improvement and utilization activities on the National Forest System, and including maintenance, resource management, visitor services enhancement, forest health, habitat and watershed enhancement, invasive species management, and necessary inventory and monitoring.
WILDLAND FIRE MANAGEMENT
The bill provides $35,000,000 as an additional amount for ``Wildland Fire Management'' to support an estimated 1,800 term jobs. These funds should be used to increase term employment for Forest Service authorized activities, including hazardous fuels reduction and related activities, such as necessary inventory and monitoring.
GENERAL PROVISIONS--THIS CHAPTER
Section 1401 allows funds for management and oversight provided to the Environmental Protection Agency in this Act to be available until September 30, 2012, and the funds may be transferred to the ``Environmental [Page: H15464]
Programs and Management'' account as needed.
Section 1402 requires the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture to utilize, to the maximum extent practicable, the Public Lands Corps, Youth Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association, Job Corps, Corps Network members and other related partnerships with Federal, State, local, tribal or non-profit groups that serve young adults, underserved and minority populations, veterans and special needs individuals.
CHAPTER 5--LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Employment and Training Administration
training and Employment Services
The bill includes $500,000,000 for a summer employment program for youths. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for teenagers (age 16-19) reached 26.7 percent in November 2009--the highest level recorded since BLS began collecting data. These funds will support summer youth employment for approximately 250,000 disadvantaged youths.
High Growth Jobs
The bill includes $750,000,000 for competitive grants to support job training for approximately 150,000 individuals in high growth and emerging industry sectors, particularly in the health care and green industries that are adding jobs despite difficult economic conditions. Grants for job training in green industries will focus on programs that train workers living in areas of high poverty.
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Education Jobs Fund
The bill includes $23,000,000,000 for an Education Jobs Fund to help States cope with the most dramatic decline in State tax receipts on record--due to the worst recession in 30 years. These funds will help States to save or create an estimated 250,000 jobs over the next two years. Of the total appropriation, 95 percent of the funds will be allocated by States to school districts and public institutions of higher education to retain or create jobs providing early childhood education, elementary,
secondary, or postsecondary education services or for modernization, renovation, and repair of facilities. The remaining 5 percent of funds is reserved for State education-related jobs and administration of the Education Jobs Fund.
Student Financial Assistance
The bill includes $300,000,000 to support the College Work Study program, which supports low- and moderate-income undergraduate and graduate students who work while attending college. Together with institutional matching funds, this appropriation will support work-study jobs for approximately 250,000 financially needy students.
Corporation for National and Community Service
(INCLUDING TRANSFERS OF FUNDS)
The bill provides $200,000,000 for AmeriCorps programs and the National Service Trust, which will support an additional 25,000 AmeriCorps Members. This funding will enable these individuals to serve their communities while earning an education award to further their education or pay off student loans. AmeriCorps members conduct vital services for nonprofits and communities including financial counseling, disaster response, housing support, and after school programs. The Corporation has seen an
unprecedented level of interest from States, localities, and nonprofit organizations in its programs. Between November 2008 and April 2009, AmeriCorps received 76,404 online applications, up 230 percent compared to the same period in the year before.
GENERAL PROVISIONS--THIS CHAPTER
Issuer Allowed Refundable Credit for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABS) and Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs)
Section 1501 includes several provisions pertaining to QSCBs and QZABs, which finance public school construction, rehabilitation, and repair. Because the market for tax credits on QSCBs and QZABs currently is small given economic conditions, the bill would allow a State, local government, or tribal government issuing QSCBs or QZABs to elect to receive a direct payment from the Federal government equal to the amount of the tax credit that would have otherwise been payable on these bonds. The bill
also includes a technical correction that clarifies that large local school districts are allowed to carry their 2009 and 2010 allocations of QSCBs into future years if they are not issued.
CHAPTER 6--TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Federal Aviation Administration
GRANTS-IN-AID FOR AIRPORTS
The bill provides $500,000,000 for the Federal Aviation Administration to provide discretionary airport grants to repair and improve critical infrastructure at our Nation's airports. Projects funded under this Act, as well as under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, use the criteria established for grants under the AIP program and provide long-term economic, safety and capacity benefits to the Nation's airport system. This funding will support an estimated 5,000 jobs.
Federal Highway Administration
HIGHWAY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
The bill provides $27,500,000,000 for additional highway infrastructure investment to support an estimated 299,000 jobs. Funds are distributed by formula, with a portion of the funds within each State being suballocated by population areas. Set asides are also provided for: management and oversight; Indian reservation roads; park roads and parkways; forest highways; refuge roads; ferry boats; on-the-job training programs focused on minorities, women, and the socially and economically disadvantaged;
a bonding assistance program for minority and disadvantaged businesses; Puerto Rico and the territories; and environmentally friendly transportation enhancements.
Federal Railroad Administration
CAPITAL GRANTS TO THE NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION
The bill provides $800,000,000 for capital grants to the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) for fleet modernization, including the rehabilitation of existing and acquisition of new passenger equipment, including fuel efficient locomotives. The Secretary of Transportation is directed to give priority to domestically manufactured equipment, including components and subcomponents used for rehabilitation. In addition, new acquisitions should be part of a larger strategy to work with
domestic manufacturers to create a standardized next generation corridor equipment fleet. This funding supports an estimated 9,000 jobs.
Federal Transit Administration
TRANSIT CAPITAL ASSISTANCE
The bill provides $6,150,000,000 for urban and rural formula grants to support an estimated 67,000 jobs. Within the total amount, 80 percent of the funds shall be provided through the Federal Transit Administration's (FTA) urbanized formula; 10 percent shall be provided through FTA's rural formula; and 10 percent shall be provided through FTA's growing states and high density formula. In addition, the bill provides 2.5 percent of the rural funds for tribal transit needs and includes $100,000,000
for discretionary grants to public transit agencies for capital investments that will assist in reducing the energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions of their public transit agencies.
FIXED GUIDEWAY INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
The bill provides $1,750,000,000, to support an estimated 19,000 jobs, to be distributed through an existing authorized formula for capital projects to modernize or improve existing fixed guideway systems, including purchase and rehabilitation of rolling stock, track, equipment and facilities.
CAPITAL INVESTMENT GRANTS
The bill provides $500,000,000, to support an estimated 5,000 jobs, to be distributed on a discretionary basis for New Starts and Small Starts projects that are already in construction or are nearly ready to begin construction.
MARITIME GUARANTEED LOAN (TITLE XI) PROGRAM ACCOUNT
(INCLUDING TRANSFER OF FUNDS)
The bill provides $100,000,000 for the Maritime Guaranteed Loan (Title XI) program to allow vessels and shipyards to obtain long-term financing for growth and modernization projects.
GENERAL PROVISION--DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Maintenance of Effort
Section 1601 ensures continued State investment in certain identified programs for which the State receives funding in this Act and requires grant recipients to report regularly on the use of those funds.
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
Public and Indian Housing
PUBLIC HOUSING CAPITAL FUND
The bill provides $1,000,000,000 for the Public Housing Capital Fund for additional repairs and rehabilitation of public housing, including increasing the energy efficiency of units and making critical safety repairs. The Secretary is directed to award these funds competitively to public housing agencies that submitted applications in the competition for funds conducted in fiscal year 2009. In that competition, HUD received applications totaling approximately $3,700,000,000 for Capital Fund projects,
but was only able to fund $1,000,000,000 in awards. This funding will spur construction quickly, especially since HUD has ready-to-go applications for projects on hand. This funding will support an estimated 10,900 construction jobs.
Community Planning and Development
HOUSING TRUST FUND
The bill provides $1,000,000,000 for the National Housing Trust Fund to provide communities with funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very low income households; and $65,000,000 for project-based vouchers to support units built by the Trust Fund. Nationwide, for every 100 extremely low income renter households, there are only 37 [Page: H15465]
homes they can afford, further, capital expenditures for housing
will create jobs in the construction industry. This funding will support an estimated 19,000 construction jobs.
CHAPTER 7--GENERAL PROVISION
Section 1701 reduces the ceiling on loans, investments and other assistance under the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) by $150,000,000.
Section 1702 provides that all funds under this title shall be subject to section 1604 of division A of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Section 1703 makes appropriations in this title subject to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act reporting and transparency requirements and Inspector General oversight.
TITLE II--SURFACE TRANSPORTATION EXTENSION
This title extends the authorization for the highway, transit, highway safety and motor carrier safety programs of the Department of Transportation until September 30, 2010. In addition, the bill includes language that provides 100 percent federal share for the transportation programs authorized in the title, repeals the provision that prohibits Highway Trust Fund balances from earning interest, and restores $20,000,000,000 to the Highway Trust Fund.
This title also strengthens the Buy America requirements for highway and transit projects, and provides greater transparency for Buy America waivers.
TITLE III--UNEMPLOYMENT AND OTHER EMERGENCY NEEDS
CHAPTER 1--AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Department of Agriculture
GENERAL PROVISION--THIS CHAPTER
Relief for Discrimination in a Credit Program of The Department of Agriculture Under The Equal Credit Opportunity Act
Section 3101 extends the statute of limitations for claims of discrimination in USDA's credit programs that have been pending at USDA.
CHAPTER 2--FINANCIAL SERVICES AND GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Small Business Administration
Business Loans Program Account
The bill provides $354,000,000 to the Small Business Administration (SBA), to continue two temporary enhancements to SBA loan guarantee programs made by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and which are nearly out of funding. One of the enhancements being extended allows the SBA to guarantee 90 percent of certain small business loans, instead of the 75 percent allowed under permanent law (or 85 percent for small loans), thereby encouraging banks to make these loans by reducing
the amount they have at risk and the reserves they must hold. The other reduces fees paid by lenders and borrowers. The funding provided in the bill is estimated to be sufficient to continue both items through the end of fiscal year 2010. The bill also extends the expiration date of the authorization for the 90 percent loan guarantees to September 30, 2010.
GENERAL PROVISION--THIS CHAPTER
Section 3201 rescinds funds that will lapse at the end of fiscal year 2010.
CHAPTER 3--LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION
GENERAL PROVISIONS--THIS CHAPTER
Assistance for Unemployed Workers and Struggling Families
Section 3301 provides a six-month extension of expiring UI benefit provisions that were established or continued in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, 100 percent Federal funding for the Extended Benefits program, and the extra $25 weekly UI benefit.
Extension and Improvement of Premium Assistance for COBRA Benefits
Section 3302 extends the 65 percent COBRA health insurance subsidy from nine to 15 months for individuals who have lost their jobs. The job lost eligibility date is extended in the provision through June 30, 2010.
Extension of Recovery Act Increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP)
Section 3303 extends for six months, through June 2010, the FMAP provision in the Recovery Act, which increases the Federal match for Medicaid for all State programs.
Repeal of Earned Income Threshold for Determining Refundable Portion of Child Tax Credit
Section 3304 increases the eligibility for the refundable portion of the child tax credit. The bill would increase the eligibility for the refundable child tax credit in 2010. For 2009, the child tax credit is refundable to the extent of 15 percent of the taxpayer's earned income in excess of $3,000. The bill would eliminate this floor for 2010.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines
Section 3305 includes a provision to freeze the HHS poverty guidelines at 2009 levels in order to prevent a reduction in eligibility for certain means-tested programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child nutrition, in 2010.
Refunds Disregarded in the Administration of Federal Programs and Federally Assisted Programs
Section 3306 provides, for one year, the exclusion of tax refunds as income for the purpose of assessing eligibility for means-tested programs supported by Federal funds.
Section 3307 permanently authorizes a provision to help Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability claimants retain professional representation.
CHAPTER 4--GENERAL PROVISION--THIS TITLE
Section 3401 provides an emergency designation and PAYGO emergency designation.
TITLE IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS--THIS ACT
Section 4001 establishes a period of availability for funds.
Section 4002 requires Buy America requirements.
DISCLOSURE OF EARMARKS AND CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING ITEMS
Pursuant to clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, neither the amended bill nor the explanatory statement contains any congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits.
With that, I would yield to the Speaker to conclude my remarks.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Madam Speaker, I certainly would not object, but I had asked the chairman about additional speakers, and clearly I would never, ever detract from our Speaker, but in the meantime, a little straightforward discussion would be helpful.
Mr. OBEY. If the gentleman would yield. Well, he doesn't have the time. I will simply take the time to say that if I had known that the Speaker had been able to come to the floor, I certainly would have told the gentleman. I simply didn't know, and I trust that he believes me.
Ms. PELOSI. Madam Speaker, I thank the distinguished chairman for yielding, for his unyielding work on behalf of America's working families, and in this case today for the creation of jobs, to grow our economy and to help those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
I am grateful to the distinguished ranking member, Mr. Lewis, for his courtesy. Yes, my apology. I didn't realize the debate would go to this point. But I did want to take the opportunity to talk about jobs to our colleagues and to this Congress in general.
Just to put it in perspective, 1 year ago, in January, the job loss was 740,000 jobs for that 1 month alone. Fast forward to now, and the job loss for November is 11,000 jobs. Seven hundred forty thousand 10 months ago; 11,000 jobs this month. We don't want to lose any jobs. But we are on the road to recovery, and we are there because this Congress made some very important and difficult decisions to take us there. We are on the road to recovery because of the leadership of President Barack Obama,
who stood on the steps of the Capitol on his inauguration and asked for swift, bold action now so that we could take the country in a new direction and create jobs and grow our economy.
One week and 1 day from the President's inaugural address, this House of Representatives passed the Recovery Act. We were able to do so because we were ready. We had been ready with job creation packages, but we could not get the resources until we had a new President to make the investments, which took us from 740,000 jobs lost in January, in the first month of this year--the President, I am reminded, was inaugurated on January 20, toward the end of that month--and then 11,000 jobs.
I also want to call to our colleagues' attention back to the first quarter of 2009, and the GDP rate of growth was a negative. It was a minus 6.4 percent, a result of the failed economic policies of the previous administration. As of November 24, 2009, the GDP has a positive 2.8 and is growing; a swing of 9.2 percent in the GDP from negative, minus 6.4 to positive 2.8. [Page: H15466]
At the same time, I call to the attention of my colleagues that because of this new direction to grow our economy, the stock market was at a nadir. The first of 2009, we're at 7,000. We are now over 10,000, an increase of over 3,000 points in the stock market. Economists tell us that some of this change is directly related to the recovery package that we passed in January, the fiscally sound budget that we passed 100 days after the President's inauguration, which was a blueprint for the future,
a statement of our national values that talked about how we could create jobs, lower taxes for the middle class--over 95 percent of the American people got a tax cut--and how we could reduce the deficit. It's all about job creation and reducing the deficit.
Three pillars of changing the economy in that budget were investments in health care, in education, and in energy to prevent climate change, to create new green jobs for the future, and to do so through science and innovation. Innovation begins in the classroom and is central to our competitiveness--innovation to reduce the cost of health care to families, to businesses, to our budget, and to our economy to make us competitive and keep us number one in the world's economy. All of this was passed
by the House of Representatives: energy, climate change, education, and health care.
Then finally, this past week, we passed the regulatory reform legislation. Mr. Frank is here, our chairman. It is the work of many people in this Congress. We passed regulatory reform to hold Wall Street accountable, to say that the party is over, to say that we are creating jobs for Main Street, not just wealth for Wall Street. We respect the creation of wealth and what it means to an economy and how it relates to the creation of jobs, but we cannot have a creation of wealth at the
exploitation of the American worker. We did pass this regulatory reform without one Republican vote to hold Wall Street accountable, without one Republican vote.
So here we are today, after this plan that started on the steps of the Capitol--the inauguration of our new President--that had deep seeds in what we had tried to do before we had a Democratic administration but what we had been working for, so we were ready. And now today we want to pass this legislation which does two things: It creates jobs and saves jobs by investments in building the infrastructure of America. It doesn't do everything we would want, but what we do in there is paid for, building
the infrastructure of America.
What it also invests in is to help States, cities, and localities keep their fiscal soundness so that they don't have to lay off teachers, firefighters, police officers, and people who work to meet the health needs of people in our community. This is important not only for public safety. That is self-evident. It is not only important because we don't want to lose our teachers. It is about the education of our children and how seriously that can be undermined with the layoffs and the uncertainty
in the local and State budgets.
But on top of all of that, while we're concerned about what this does to working families and how important it is for people to have their jobs--they are also consumers--to the extent that they lose their jobs, our economy loses consumers. And when our economy loses consumers, we're in big trouble, economic trouble. We cannot let that happen.
So today, we have before us that package for job creation and job retention which is fiscally sound and which is paid for by using TARP funds, the unused TARP funds which were the subject of great debate but which, I do believe, saved us, pulled us from the brink of the financial crisis we were in as our recovery package later pulled us from the brink of economic disaster.
In addition to that, we have some safety net provisions about the extension of unemployment insurance, of COBRA to meet the health needs of those who are unemployed, which all expire the end of December, and other issues that relate to the well-being of America's working families, to address the concerns of the unemployed but, in addition to that, to create jobs in a fiscally sound way.
Fiscal responsibility is very important to us. It is our responsibility to our children not to increase the deficit, and that is why our health bill does not add one dime to the deficit; in fact, it decreases the deficit. I see Chairman Rangel shaking his head. It is an important part of paying for that legislation. And Mr. Miller and Mr. Waxman were so much an important part of that health care bill.
So here we are today with an opportunity to modestly and in a paid-for way address the issue of jobs. It's a four-letter word. Let's use that four-letter word everyplace we go--jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.
I urge my colleagues, while some of your districts and some of your States may be doing better than other parts of the country, this is the time for us to recognize that we are a national economy and that what happens in one State has an impact on our national recovery.
I thank Chairman Obey for his great leadership in putting this package together. I urge our colleagues to act on behalf of America's working families through the creation of jobs in a fiscally sound way, to honor our responsibility of public safety by protecting our first responders and our responsibility to our children to make sure that their education does not have a gap, because we have a budgetary gap, and understanding the role that consumers play in our economy. I hope that we
will have a strong ``yes'' vote on this legislation.
With that, Mr. Chairman, I commend you again.