Mrs. MALONEY. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2847, include my statement for the Record, and also submit to the Record excerpts from recent joint economic hearings underscoring the need for targeted, timely action to boost employment.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Madam Speaker, I ask that all Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous materials into the Record.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in support of H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. The HIRE Act is about our three most important priorities in this Congress: jobs, jobs, and jobs. The HIRE Act builds on legislation that the Senate passed last week, including direct hiring tax incentives for business, support for Recovery Act bond incentives that put local dollars to work creating jobs all across this country, and transportation funding that improves
our communities, builds infrastructure, and supports local businesses. All told, more than 1 million jobs will be created by this legislation.
This bill really is help for small businesses on Main Street and millions of Americans who are ready to see the benefits of a growing economy. Across this great country, our economy is showing signs of recovery. But consumers need more confidence, and employers need incentives to hire workers. Today, we give business direct incentives to hire new workers. I am pleased that the HIRE Act accomplishes this in a responsible manner.
Not only does it fully pay for all of the important investments in job creation, but it actually contributes to reduce our deficit by nearly $1 billion. Let me repeat that again, reduce the deficit by $1 billion. The bill is a good step to rebuild our job market, but we still have a ways to go. I expect that this will just be a downpayment on our continuing work to create jobs and restore our economy.
This bill includes, as you have already heard, about $77.15 billion of investment in surface transportation projects. It also reauthorizes Federal highway public transit initiatives and highway safety funding that is needed all across America. When extensions were blocked last week in the Senate, transportation projects across this country were held up and almost 2,000 employees were furloughed. Today, we are going to take action not only to make sure that doesn't happen again, but that we create
jobs by investing in local priorities across this country, not only transportation projects that need to be moving in our communities, building on infrastructure and providing jobs for America, but also the HIRE Act that creates tax credits for local businesses.
Representative Steve Kagen and myself introduced a bill back in January for tax credits to hire new employees. This bill builds on that. It is a little different than what we had, but it makes a difference. Despite some economic growth in recent months, the unemployment rate around the country remains high. Too many Americans are unemployed. In my State, it is above the national average, almost 11.2 percent. Just this past week, I visited an employment office where people were saying
all we need is a hand up, not a handout; give us an opportunity to go to work.
In addition to that, we are providing funds for making sure that our qualified school construction bonds in the Recovery Act that we passed last year will work. This bill really is about jobs. I can say to you when we are talking about jobs, we are talking about education. I happen to believe education is the one thing that levels the playing field for everyone. Today we are going to have the opportunity to put our stamp on and vote for a piece of legislation that will provide good places for
teachers to teach and children to learn.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SESSIONS. Madam Speaker. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Madam Speaker, I want to reiterate that this House of Representatives is made up of 435 Members who take time every week to come here to Washington. Perhaps they live here, but they still come to work, I believe, with a sense of obligation and duty, all 435 of us, to be fully participatory and to be a part of a moving body and a process that should work for the American people.
We are now in our fourth year of leadership that denies the American people and the Members of this body an opportunity, I believe, to even participate; not just fully participate, but to participate.
This bill that is on the floor again today is an example of a process that is very deceptive, because our friends, the Speaker and the Democratic leadership, talk about being open and honest, and yet the bill is here today with just hours' notice, with no one up in the Rules Committee on behalf of the Democrat leadership even explaining what is in the bill. I believe, again, the American people will reject this kind of leadership when the American people want to be engaged and Members of Congress
want to be engaged.
So, today, Republicans are going to ask that we reject this, and we should reject this, because we know that Republicans have better ideas.
At this time I yield to the gentleman from Ohio, the Republican leader (Mr. Boehner).
Mr. NUNES. Madam Speaker, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That seems to be the Democrats' creed and motto.
There wouldn't be any need for today's bill if the failed trillion-dollar stimulus package last year actually worked. A year ago the Democrats promised the American people their so-called stimulus would keep unemployment at 8 percent, but a year later we are near 10 percent.
Put simply, you cannot create jobs by dumping a trillion dollars into Federal agencies. The administration claims that $1.5 billion in stimulus moneys saved or created 1,664 jobs in California's San Joaquin Valley where I live. Even if one charitably assumes the accuracy of these numbers, the Federal Government has spent a whopping $900,000 to save or create one job in the San Joaquin Valley. Despite spending $900,000 per job, there are still communities in the valley that suffer from 20 to 40
percent unemployment. In fact, in the wake of the stimulus, we saw 3 million additional Americans lose their jobs rather than the 3.7 million jobs that are now being promised by the Obama administration. Sadly, a record 16 million Americans are now unemployed because the stimulus promises were empty and unaffordable.
Is it any wonder why the American people continue to ask, Where are the jobs?
It appears that the stimulus was not very stimulating outside of Washington. So here we are back again with yet another multibillion-dollar plan slapped together by the Democrats that will probably, once again, fail.
Madam Speaker, the Soviet Union experience, sadly, taught us that just because you're going to grow 1 billion bushels of potatoes does not mean that there will be potatoes on the shelves. Similarly, just because the Democrats have chosen to message this as a ``jobs'' bill does not mean that it will actually create a job.
The centerpiece of the Democrats' new bill is a payroll tax exemption, a hiring credit for employers to bring on new workers. While I give the Democrats credit for acknowledging that tax cuts are preferable to spending increases, the sad reality is that this is a political charade and it won't work. How do we know? Because the same idea didn't work when Jimmy Carter tried it in the late 1970s.
Numerous studies by noted economists from all across the political spectrum have confirmed that these temporary hiring incentives will have little, if any, positive effect on jobs. It is beyond ridiculous to claim that you can have a meaningful impact upon a $14 trillion economy by spending $13 billion on gimmick tax cuts. Let's think about it: If you're an employer, are you really going to hire someone for a permanent position because you get a modest, temporary tax incentive?
We could have improved this bill had the Ways and Means Committee actually held a hearing and a markup, but once again we see significant tax legislation taken directly to the floor without a committee hearing, without a committee markup, and without an opportunity to even offer amendments.
I understand that there was a change in the chairmanship on the Ways and Means Committee yesterday, but, in fact, this bill on the floor today proves that it's a political sham. It is far from serious to enact sound policy to improve our economy when you can't even decide who the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee is going to be.
You don't have to read Adam Smith to know that markets cannot thrive [Page: H1139]
with uncertainty. What employers really need from Washington is the assurance that the Democrats' massive Big Government tax-and-spend agenda isn't going to drive them out of business.
Employers face uncertainty about the Democrats' massive takeover of the health care system, about the new $1 trillion cap-and-trade energy tax. They face uncertainty with environmental regulations like those that have driven 84 saw mills from California since 1989, and they face uncertainty about the largest tax increase in American history that will be enacted this year.
Madam Speaker, employers don't need more Federal spending to create good private sector jobs; they already know how to create good jobs if Washington would just get out of the way.
Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Madam Speaker, I would remind the gentleman that I was a small businessman in the 1970s when this tax credit was in before. Not only did we use it and create jobs; we had tremendous growth in this country.
I talked to two chambers of commerce in the last month. They are tickled to death that somebody is willing to help them instead of doing the very thing the Senate did last week and hold everything up. It's time we moved on and got something done.
I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman, Mr. Oberstar, who knows something about infrastructure.
Mr. OBERSTAR. I thank the gentleman for his time and will use this brief moment to be very specific.
Under the programs in the stimulus, under the jurisdiction of our Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, we can account for 1,091,005 jobs in the past year, 1 year from date of enactment. We have this documented in 14 consecutive monthly hearings on progress made by State DOTs, transit agencies, metropolitan planning organizations and State Revolving Loan Fund organizations, as well as the other portions of our stimulus for which we have documented the funding investments that have created
jobs. These are real jobs, building trades, associated general contractors who are putting people to work, putting their equipment to work on job sites where they were shut down the previous year.
With those jobs, those workers are paying $353 million in Federal taxes, avoiding $279 million in unemployment compensation checks because they're getting a payroll check instead of an unemployment compensation check. We have 25,000 direct, on-project, full-time equivalent jobs in the Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund program, and paved 24,000 lane miles of highway and restored or replaced 1,200 bridges. That highway mileage is equivalent to half of the interstate highway systems that took 50 years
to build. This was done in a year.
This extension of funding for the surface transportation program will provide $77 billion to continue SAFETEA-LU for the next 15 months for the 15-month period. That is this fiscal year and 3 months beyond. It is a $21 billion increase over the funding levels of the continuing resolution.
It restores the $8.7 billion rescission that occurred September 30 that everyone was wringing their hands about, but required by the Bush administration and consented to by House and Senate Republicans in the last meeting of the House-Senate conference on SAFETEA-LU. That money is restored. We said that we'd do it. It's done.
The bill also restores $19.5 billion of interest foregone since 1998 when we had to agree to a concession insisted upon by then-Speaker Gingrich and then the Clinton administration Treasury Department to forego interest on the trust fund. That interest is restored, repatriated to the trust fund and in the future will collect interest like all other trust funds.
Mr. OBERSTAR. But there are two issues in this bill that I was very concerned about. The Senate passed a bill that had a funding formula that was very, very discriminatory. Four States benefited with 58 percent of the funding and 22 States got nothing. Senator Reid has consented in a letter he sent to me and to Speaker Pelosi to restore the House funding formula that we proposed in a subsequent bill that will pass the Senate this month to distribute those additional highway
formula funds as we proposed in a formula distribution.
Mr. OBERSTAR. The letter to Senator Reid from Senator Boxer, the chair of the Senate Public Works Committee, and Senator Murray on the Appropriations Committee, that letter will be available at this desk to show that we will restore the funding formula the way it is intended in SAFETEA-LU.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Madam Speaker, I rise to speak on the highway provisions of H.R. 2847. I think it's important that my colleagues understand that the bill before us isn't a clean extension of SAFETEA-LU highway and transit programs, but includes new policies that would continue the program on the current road to ruin.
I support a strong surface transportation bill; I worked with Mr. Oberstar for years in connection with that. I know our constituents depend upon this program to keep our roads and transit systems open and safe and to help keep economic investments coming to our communities. But we also know that the highway trust fund is badly broken; it has been broken for some time. The trust fund has been in a nosedive for years due to overspending, but nothing was ever done about that.
Ms. BERKLEY. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this jobs bill.
Nevada is experiencing unprecedented economic challenges and an unemployment rate of well over 13 percent. It is essential that this Congress pursue policies and programs that will spur long-term economic growth and create the jobs that the people of Las Vegas and across the United States so desperately need. This legislation is a positive step in that direction.
Incentives such as the payroll tax holiday, a tax credit for retaining workers, and the extension of enhanced expensing for small businesses will all help create conditions for increased hiring and retention of new employees.
In addition, the extension of funding for highways and surface transportation projects will provide employment both today and in the future by continuing the infrastructure investments that are critical to long-term economic growth.
And, finally, the direct payment option for certain tax credit bond programs will enable the Clark County School District, which I represent, to increase school construction and continue to fund essential projects.
Nevada, and the Nation, needs the jobs and other support provided in this bill. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes,'' a resounding ``yes'' on this piece of legislation.
Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. I thank the ranking member for allowing me to speak.
On behalf of the American taxpayer, I am deeply disappointed that the Democrat majority is not allowing me to offer a commonsense amendment to protect the American taxpayer.
The amendment was simple: It would require businesses seeking to use a hiring tax incentive in the bill before us to check the legal status of potential new hires through the E-Verify program--you have seen that in the papers lately, it hasn't been used properly--a voluntary employment verification system. While not perfect by any means, E-Verify is certainly far better than the current paper-based verification method.
If the majority insists on moving forward with this flawed bill that in the end I believe will do little to create [Page: H1140]
new jobs, we must ensure that this hiring tax break isn't used to hire those here illegally. The American taxpayer and the unemployed American worker deserve nothing less. This is the right thing to do.
Now more than ever in these tough economic times we need to ensure that the American worker, and not illegals, is our first priority.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, I appreciate the courtesy of my friend, the gentleman from North Carolina, in permitting me to speak on this.
This piece of legislation is, sadly, a product of our time with a breakdown with our friends on the other side of the Capitol seemingly unable to proceed with regular order. We saw, sadly, this last week one person bring the transportation funding in this country to a halt, hold up unemployment benefits affecting literally hundreds of thousands of Americans in the most negative way, and that is passing for regular order over there. This bill is an opportunity for us to break that impasse.
It is significant in three ways: first of all, there were five Republicans who were willing to join with the majority to be able to move things forward. In some sense I think we ought to try and reward that sense of at least breaking the tyranny of the 60-vote majority requirement.
Second, the real job generator in this legislation is to be found in extending the transportation funding through the end of the year. Madam Speaker, the most effective job-generating legislation that we could put forward at a time of 40 percent unemployment in many metropolitan areas in the construction trade is to put Americans to work rebuilding and renewing America.
This legislation provides $77 billion towards that objective, fully funding the first 6 months of this year and extending it through the full 15-month cycle through the end of this calendar year. This will give certainty to the men and women who are dealing with our transportation systems, roads, bridges, transit, the whole range. It will save hundreds of thousands of jobs. It will incite economic activity. And maybe, just maybe, it will be a signal that we bring together a larger vision of rebuilding
and renewing America and putting our fellow citizens back to work.
Mr. NUNES. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 15 seconds.
I just want to clarify, I heard the other side of the aisle say that this bill was going to create 1 million jobs. We are going to spend $13 billion to create 1 million jobs. The $1 trillion stimulus bill last year was promised to create 3.7 million jobs. At some point, I would like to--
Mr. BLUMENAUER. What I said, and I want to be clear if I misrepresented it, is that the $77 billion in transportation funding will protect or create hundreds of thousands of jobs. That's what I said.
Mr. NUNES. Reclaiming my time, actually, Mr. Blumenauer, my good friend, spoke about the jobs. Earlier, I had heard another gentleman on the other side of the aisle speak about 1 million jobs. I'm just trying to figure out the math. This is about a $13 billion to $15 billion bill to create 1 million or hundreds of thousands of jobs. Last year we spent $1 trillion to create 3.7 million jobs, and we lost 3 million jobs.
Mr. BLUMENAUER. The bill includes $77 billion of transportation funding. That was my reference. I think the experts agree that it would be hundreds of thousands of jobs, if not 1 million, saved or created with that transportation funding.
I appreciate the gentleman's courtesy.
Ms. GINNY BROWN-WAITE of Florida. Madam Speaker, I want to make it clear from the start that there are some items in this bill, some provisions, that everyone in this Chamber could probably support. Providing tax relief to small businesses is really a good idea, but this very fact raises an important question:
If the majority recognizes that lowering taxes for businesses is good for employment and is certainly good for the economy, then why do they insist on dramatically raising taxes everywhere else every single chance the Democrats get?
I also think that it is worth discussing the nefarious accounting gimmicks in this bill. I voted for the principle of PAYGO because I believed in it; but no sooner did the Democrats finish patting themselves on the backs for passing PAYGO than they turned around and came up with waiving it and, in this instance, kind of Bernie Madoffing it, if there is such a word. I think I just created a new word, Madam Speaker. I don't want to get too far into the technical weeds here, but this bill is PAYGO-compliant
only because of some accounting gimmicks. In the fourth quarter, move a little first quarter money into future years, and presto-change-o, the bill becomes PAYGO-compliant. The American people know we can't spend the same money twice; so let's take a closer look.
The official cost estimate of the bill does not include a $20 billion transfer from the general fund to the highway fund, meaning we will have to find that money someplace else. We will have to find that general revenue money someplace else, probably from China. The cost estimate doesn't reflect $142 billion in a new spending authorization for transportation projects that we don't have a source of revenue to pay for. Maybe that's why we were only given a few hours to read the bill before the
vote is to take place on it.
While we're on the subject of transportation funding, I did hear Mr. Oberstar say that the Senate was going to fix this, but the bill before us is not one that is good for transportation for the various States.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the acting chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Levin).
(Mr. LEVIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. LEVIN. I thank my friend for yielding.
Madam Speaker, the theme of this bill is very clear: Back to work. I would think that would unite us and not divide us.
Recently, we have seen economic growth. What we have not seen enough of at all is growth in jobs, and that's what this is really all about. There is no easy or perfect way to bring this about. It takes a number of steps. The tax credit in this bill is one approach. We are going to need additional steps.
Another way that it relates to economic growth and jobs is through infrastructure. We can argue about how many jobs and about what the estimates are as to how many millions will be created, but it's clear. The Secretary of Transportation has said that he can verify $60 billion to $70 billion in infrastructure--roads, bridges--ready to go this spring and this summer. We should be united in providing the authorization for this to happen. It should not divide us.
There is money also, as has been said, for school construction bonds and energy bonds. Also, very importantly, it relates to the expensing by small business, which is very much within the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means [Page: H1141]
Committee. That also should unite us and not divide us, and it is critical that we expend that provision.
So, for all of these reasons, I urge that we join together, rather than divide, and pass this bill.
Mr. MICA. Madam Speaker, with record national unemployment in my State, 11.8 percent unemployment, one of the top 10 unemployment States in the United States, I would love to come before the Congress and say, ``Pass this bill,'' titled the ``jobs'' bill, but I can't do that today for several reasons.
First of all, let me say to those who have come before us who have said that just getting more money even in a short-term Transportation bill will get things going: I don't know the facts.
Over 1 year ago, we passed $48 billion in stimulus money that went to the Department of Transportation. So far, as of March 2, only $8.8 billion has been spent. This is not a 6-year bill we are passing, and that's what we should be doing to ensure that States can do long-term projects, not just the repaving of sidewalks and simple things that we've seen done. This bill does not contain the elimination of the redtape and the hoops that States have to go through for compliance to do any project.
This will be our fifth extension, and it only goes to December 31.
Now, I was also told that we had to pass this because it was going to go straight to the President for his signature. Intervening, we did pass a 30-day extension. So this is not going straight to the President. We did not have an opportunity to correct the flaws in this bill.
You heard of the Senate passing--what was it?--the Nebraska deal and the Louisiana purchase. I'm telling you this is the four-State grab. California gets 30 percent of the additional money in this bill; 58 percent of the money goes to four States; 22 States get nothing.
Senate Surface Transportation Extension Act State-by-State Allocations of Funding for Projects of National Significance and National Corridor Programs
($932 million over the period from Oct. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2010)
West Virginia--$35 million
New Jersey--$25 million
New York--$25 million
Dist. of Col.--$19 million
South Carolina--$13 million
New Mexico--$4 million
This chart shows each State: 22 States get nothing; 46 States are disadvantaged because of the four-State grab in this, and it could and should have been corrected. If it's going back to the United States Senate, then it should be corrected so everyone is treated fairly and equitably in the distribution of transportation funds.
Mr. Oberstar has done his level best, and he has a written letter from Ms. Pelosi, the Speaker, and from Mr. Reid to correct this after we pass it. If this were the only flaw in the bill, maybe we could look away.
You've heard from Democrats who also voted against the rule, who almost took this bill down, who also stated their objections to provisions that should have had the opportunity for at least an amendment by this body. So there has been no consideration of changing the bill and of making the appropriate fairness changes, equitable changes, so we would all be treated equitably.
Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I appreciate his leadership and his intensive knowledge of this legislation and how important it is for us to proceed.
Madam Speaker, I will not speak long because, the sooner we finish debate on this bill, the sooner it goes back to the Senate, the sooner it goes to the White House for signature, and the sooner jobs are created in our country.
I agree with much of what the distinguished ranking member on the committee said about wanting a 6-year bill. Our chairman, Mr. Oberstar, has been advocating for that, and I agree.
I also agree that the language has to be changed, and we have the commitment to do that as we go forward, but that doesn't mean that Americans are not suffering, that they do not need jobs. We should act, and we should act today to bring them closer.
I want to remind our colleagues of places and times. Just over a year ago, this Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. As a result of that, more than 2 million jobs were saved or created. Very important. All over the country, as Members go home to their districts, they see evidence of investments in the future: Clean energy jobs for the future, the education of our children, the safety of our neighborhoods, the creation of jobs, the stabilization of our economy, the stabilization
of State and local budgets. As a result of that, just think of what has happened in this one year.
In January 2009, the last year of the Bush administration, America lost 779,000 jobs. This January, we lost 20,000 jobs. We don't want to lose any jobs. We want to be on the upside. We want to be creating jobs. The point is that, following the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and other initiatives taken by the Obama administration and this Congress, there has been a difference of over three-quarters of a million jobs in 1 month--779,000 in January, 2009, and 20,000 in January,
In the final quarter of 2008, before President Obama took office, America's GDP shrank by 6.2 percent. For that quarter, the GDP was a negative 6.2 percent. Just 1 year later, the GDP grew in the same period by 5.9 percent, over a 12 percent change in the rate of growth of the GDP thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and to, again, other actions taken by Congress.
You know, when we were debating the Recovery bill last year at around this time, earlier in January and in February, the stock market was around 6,500-7,000. It's over 10,000 now, an increase of over 3,000 points. Yesterday, we learned that America's manufacturing base grew for the seventh straight month, and it is now at its highest level in 5 years.
Still, we must be unrelenting in our efforts to create more jobs. Too many Americans are unable to find work. In some cases, we are talking about putting people back to work. In some cases, people haven't had opportunities coming out of school. They've not been able to enter the workforce. So it is not just about putting people back to work. It is about creating a broader universe of jobs to have many more Americans participate in the economic prosperity that we hope for our country.
Today, we are taking another step in creating jobs and in laying the foundation for long-term growth and prosperity. With $15 billion in critical investments, this bill includes a payroll tax holiday for businesses that hire unemployed workers, creating some 300,000 new jobs with that provision [Page: H1142]
alone, and an income tax credit of $1,000 for businesses that retain employees.
There is specific support to small businesses with tax credits and accelerated writeoffs. There is the extension of the Highway Trust Fund--this is very, very important--allowing tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure investment.
This is a $15 billion bill, but it triggers tens of billions of dollars more by eliminating a recision of last year, by restoring the interest to the trust fund it was deprived of and by triggering further contracting, tens of billions of dollars and probably 1 million jobs in this bill alone.
In December, the House passed our Jobs for Main Street Act, a broader measure for creating good-paying American jobs paid for by redirecting TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street. Today's legislation is one key element of that legislation, one key element of our agenda to get Americans back to work and to strengthen our economy.
Madam Speaker, I believe that every Member of Congress on both sides of the aisle understands the urgent need to create jobs for our country, and today we have an opportunity to do so.
I know that some people have some concerns on one side of the aisle or the other about this provision or that provision, but the fact is that 1 million jobs will be created by this legislation. Vote for jobs, vote ``aye'' on this legislation.
I thank Mr. Etheridge and all concerned, Mr. Oberstar, the distinguished chairman of the Transportation Committee, and so many others, for making this important legislation possible. It is difficult, it is challenging, and more is yet to be done, but I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for jobs. Vote ``aye'' on this legislation.
Mr. NUNES. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 30 seconds.
I would like to remind my colleagues here in this House that last year there was a provision offered that didn't cost $1 trillion, didn't cost $1 billion, didn't cost $1 million, didn't cost $1, and that was a provision to let water flow to my constituents in the San Joaquin Valley of California so people could go back to work. But, instead, nearly every Democrat Member from California in this Congress opposed that amendment. So last summer we had tens of thousands of farmers and farmworkers
standing in food lines in the most productive ag land in the United States or in the world.
Mr. NUNES. I yield myself an additional 15 seconds.
A zero cost provision could not go into this bill, and now we have farmworkers eating carrots imported from China. So, all this talk about jobs, it is all phony. The American people have had enough of this nonsense.
I yield 3 minutes to my good friend, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. LaTourette).
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Madam Speaker, I have spoken many times on this floor about my great admiration for the chairman of the full Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Mr. Oberstar, and he knows that this bill isn't fair. He knows that this bill isn't fair, because he produced a chart last week that has 50 States, plus the District of Columbia, so it is 51, and 22 States get nothing under this bill and four States walk away with 58 percent.
Not surprisingly, I heard the Speaker likes the bill. California gets 30 percent of the highway funding under this bill. Any Member who is interested is more than free to come peruse this at their leisure.
Now, I give Chairman Oberstar great credit, because he wasn't happy with this, I believe last week, and he fought with his leadership, and he has produced today a letter from Senator Reid saying he is going to fix it sometime in the future.
Now, two things: That is the second big lie, the check is in the mail. The other thing is I hope the majority understands that a letter from Senator Reid just didn't fill us on this side of the aisle with warmth and fuzzy feelings. If you want to fix the problem, fix the problem. And the problem is not fixed.
This is not a jobs bill. I also admire the Speaker of the House, but I admire her more today because she did not break into laughter when calling this a jobs bill. This is no jobs bill. This is a faux jobs bill. This is a snow jobs bill. And I look forward to the unemployment statistics tomorrow, because I believe that we are going to look at about 100,000 Americans will have lost their jobs in the last month, despite all these great successes.
Continuing with my admiration for Chairman Oberstar, my favorite part of the speech that he gives on the stimulus package is all of those jobs which he created through the infrastructure spending in the stimulus are 8 percent of the funding. So that means, I have to figure out the math, Mr. Oberstar, but that means in an $800 billion bill, half the jobs were created by 8 percent of the funding, and that is thanks to you and the work that you and your colleagues do on the committee.
So I guess the other half were created by about $750 billion. That is a strange, strange, strange investment.
Mr. OBERSTAR. Just briefly, if the gentleman, Madam Speaker, could assure us that there would be no Senate filibuster or hold on the bill, Senator Reid would have been happy to accept our changes. But he estimated he couldn't get that through the Senate, so he agreed to a fix in a subsequent bill. He put it in writing, and we have to accept his written commitment to do that.
I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Oh, my pleasure, and my appreciation of you grows every day. But I will tell you what; if you can crack the code of the Senate, Republican or Democrat, then you deserve much more money than you are making as the chairman of the full committee, because they are a strange bunch. It doesn't matter who is in charge; they don't seem to do anything.
Now, I want to get to the process now, because the President down at this health care summit down at Blair House said nobody cares about process.
But I have got to tell you, I have never seen this. This is my 16th year in the United States Congress. When Mr. Etheridge made his motion, it says, ``Mr. Etheridge moves that the House concur in the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the Senate amendment with an amendment.''
Mr. LaTOURETTE. I appreciate it.
I said, boy, that is really a procedural mouthful. And you know what it means? It is a procedural way to screw the minority, the Republican Party in this House. Not only can't we amend your bill, not only did we get it at 9:30 this morning, we can't offer a motion to recommit. You know what the majority leader, Mr. Hoyer, would be saying if we pulled that on him when we take the majority back next year? He would be screaming bloody murder, and he would be right.
Madam Speaker, as a result of that, I would like to offer an amendment to this bill.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Then I will ask the gentleman from North Carolina to yield to me to offer an amendment to the bill. And so that the gentleman doesn't think that I am sandbagging him, let me tell you what it is going to be.
I would move to amend this bill to transfer the $13 billion in this sham tax credit, that is not going to create one job and is really the dumbest idea I ever heard, to infrastructure spending.
I would further have it in that amendment that the infrastructure spending, now at $14 billion, be distributed pursuant to the House proposal that Mr. Oberstar has proposed, which means every State in the Union benefits, not just California, not just States that are walking away with a bunch of money.
Will the gentleman from North Carolina yield to me for the purpose of offering an amendment? [Page: H1143]
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Mr. Etheridge, we are going to give it another shot, because we are not going to be able to hide behind ``the rule doesn't offer it.'' I said that. The rule doesn't provide for an amendment. The rule doesn't even provide for a motion to recommit, the only tool in the minority's toolbox.
Mr. Etheridge, I ask unanimous consent--well, first of all, I guess you need to yield to me for a unanimous consent request. Would you yield to me for a unanimous consent request?
Do I have to ask him to yield to me, or do I yield to him to yield to me?
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Well, that is nonsense, first of all, because the Speaker has just indicated that if you would yield to me, I could make my unanimous consent request.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Well, I am going to tell you what, Mr. Etheridge. If you would yield to me, which apparently you can under the rules but don't want to because you think the rule says so, which it clearly doesn't, here is the deal. I want to make a unanimous consent request that the $13 billion in this worthless tax credit be transferred to infrastructure spending; further, that that additional $13 billion be distributed pursuant to the House plan, as opposed to the Senate plan,
the Senate plan rewarding only four States with 58 percent of money, 22 States getting zero.
Now, Mr. Etheridge, I am asking you to yield to me for that purpose.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. The gentleman is doing the same thing that happened in the other body. We are just trying to slow down a piece of legislation that needs to move to get to the President's desk so it can be signed so we can help the American people.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding and for his outstanding work on this important bill.
I rise in strong support of H.R. 2847, the HIRE Act, which will strengthen our economy by limiting job loss and creating new employment opportunities. In addition to provisions that will spur investment in infrastructure and construction projects, this bill provides much-needed assistance and attention and support for small businesses in America. This bill includes a payroll tax holiday for businesses that hire unemployed workers and tax cuts to help small businesses expand and hire more workers.
Small businesses, Madam Speaker, have borne the brunt of this economic crisis, and their inability to access credit to keep their businesses operating has clearly added to the high unemployment rate across the Nation, especially in my home State of Rhode Island, which has right now the second highest unemployment rate in the country.
So, Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this jobs measure, as well as working on additional legislation that helps small businesses and unemployed workers. Our job is to create jobs, Madam Speaker, and that is exactly what this piece of legislation before us does today.
I thank you and urge my colleagues to support this important jobs bill.
Mr. KINGSTON. Madam Speaker, first of all, let me say to the majority, I am glad you have offset this money. I think that is a significant step for both parties, to have a spending bill offset. So I want to get that out of the way.
Having said that, I have got to say that I am very leery of another government spending program to address jobs. We are here because last year we spent nearly--well, we did spend $800 billion on a stimulus program that was supposed to keep us from going to 8 percent unemployment. Now we are at 10 percent unemployment.
The stimulus program before just added 31 brand new Federal programs and increased spending. I am ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, and spending in the USDA has gone up 26 percent. At some point we are going to figure out the Federal Government doesn't have the solution for everything.
This is not our only stimulus proposal or jobs proposal. In May of 2008, we had a $168 billion stimulus program that did not work. In March of 2008, the Federal Reserve said, well, we are going to shore up Wall Street with Bear Stearns, $29 billion. In July of 2008, the Democrat Congress and President Bush came in with a $200 billion bailout of Fannie Mae in order to shore up real estate. And not to be outdone, the Federal Reserve weighed back in a month later with the AIG bailout, $85 billion,
now up to $140 billion, that was supposed to avert financial collapse, and yet it did not. And then in October of 2008, we had a $700 billion TARP bill. Then in January 2009, under President Obama, we had a $410 billion omnibus spending bill that was supposed to shore up the economy.
Of course, that brings me back to the other stimulus program. After a while, we're going to figure out everything we do is like Cash for Clunkers. It just doesn't work. If we want to help small businesses, we've got to quit spending money, number one.
Mr. KINGSTON. I thank the gentleman.
Number two, we need to let community banks be released from some of the overbearing and unnecessary regulations in which they have to comply, because that causes them not to be able to lend money and thus small businesses are tied up in a credit crunch. Number three, we've got to let small businesses compete. We set rules. Big Business and Big Government set rules so that small businesses can't compete. There are things we can do. There are things we can do together on a bipartisan basis. We
need to vote this bill down so that we can get to them.
Mr. ETHERIDGE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself 10 seconds to remind the gentleman that how we got here was the American people lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-plus trillion in value of their homes and assets over the 18 months through July of last year until we passed something and started to turn it around. Since then, they've gained about $5 trillion back in, but we've got a ways to go.
I now yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Chandler).
Mr. CHANDLER. I thank my friend from North Carolina. I rise today in support of H.R. 2847, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, or the HIRE Act. This piece of legislation will help our small businesses heal during these tough economic times and help unemployed Kentuckians find good, local jobs. The HIRE Act cuts taxes for our small businesses and makes it possible for them to hire new employees, making our small companies stronger and creating jobs for out-of-work Kentuckians. [Page:
Madam Speaker, the unemployment rate is around 11 percent in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and we have to do all we can to create and save jobs throughout this Nation. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the engines of job creation. Investing in the long-term health of our small businesses is one of the surest ways to economic recovery.
This legislation isn't just about small businesses, though. It's about helping that mom, that dad who was laid off in the midst of this recession find a good-paying, local job.
Mr. CHANDLER. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote in favor of this legislation today because a vote for this legislation is a vote for middle class families; for small, innovative start-ups; and the long-term economic health of central Kentucky and the Nation.
Mr. NUNES. I yield myself 30 seconds.
Madam Speaker, I still have yet to have someone explain to me from the other side of the aisle how the trillion-dollar stimulus bill passed last year that was supposed to create 3.7 million jobs--instead, we lost 3 million--and how this bill that spends $13-or-so billion--still a lot money, but not nearly a trillion dollars--is going to create a million jobs, as they continue to repeat on that side of the aisle. I would like for someone to answer the question.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. DeFAZIO. I can answer the gentleman's question. There's a different emphasis. The emphasis is on small business, which is an incredible economic engine in my State and in many other States across the country. Secondly, there is an extraordinary emphasis on transportation infrastructure.
The gentleman may be unaware that in August of this year the Transportation Infrastructure Trust Fund is going to fall short of funds, delaying reimbursement to the States and stalling out needed projects and investment all across the country. This bill fixes that, and once and for all we will in the future get interest on money borrowed from the highway trust fund. That's what people pay gas taxes for. It's not supposed to be spent somewhere else. We're now going to reclaim that money, and we're
going to spend it putting people to work and rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure of this country. It will give us a billion dollars more a month.
I heard the gentleman from Ohio talking about 58 percent of the bill. Well, no. Actually, what he was concerned about was 58 percent of 1.2 percent of the bill, which is .7 percent of the bill, which, under the agreement the chairman has reached with the leader of the Senate, will be fixed in the near future. In fact, Ohio will get an extra $38 million because of that, and my State will get less. So I don't know what he's complaining about. If somebody should be down here complaining, it should
Mr. DeFAZIO. I will not yield.
But I felt it was fair to put that money into the overall formula so that all 50 States would benefit, because everybody, almost every State, is suffering high unemployment, particularly the gentleman's State and my State. And this agreement the chairman has will bring an extra $38 million to his State, a billion dollars a month more in infrastructure spending; and for every billion we spend in infrastructure, we put about 33,000 more people to work. We sure as heck need those jobs.
So I stand here saying we need to pass this bill. Yeah, the Senate is dysfunctional. It's a mess. It would have been cleaner to do it all at once. But this is the best we can do, dealing with a body that is just ridiculous.
Mr. NUNES. Madam Speaker, I'd like to yield myself 15 seconds.
Madam Speaker, simple math: If you're going to spend $13 billion to create a million jobs, then why don't we just spend another $200 billion and we create 16 million jobs, and everybody would have a job.
I'd like to yield 2 minutes to my friend to clarify an earlier point, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. LaTourette).
Mr. LaTOURETTE. I promise not to try to amend the bill or anything else. It's just sad that the distinguished chairman of the Surface Transportation Committee wouldn't yield to me, but it doesn't surprise me. He likes this bill. Oregon gets $40 million under the bill, of the $1 billion, and only $11 million under Mr. Oberstar's proposal.
Are you going to give me a 7 percent thing or are you going to say that's not true? I'll yield to you if you don't think it's true.
Mr. NUNES. Madam Speaker, if there are no additional speakers, I'm prepared to close.
Madam Speaker, during this entire debate today, as the gentleman from Ohio said, this is just a sham. And to sit here and complain about the Senate and procedural things, I mean, we ought to do another Shamwow Summit at the White House. Maybe that would clarify and fix the problems.
We're not Senators. We don't control the Senate. I don't understand the math that you guys use. No one has answered it yet. You guys spent a trillion dollars last year, said you were going to create 3.7 million jobs, but you lost 3 million jobs. Now you say you're going to spend $15 billion and now you're going to create a million jobs. So let's go over some math just so we can clarify things, because I know we're going to continue to hear that Republicans are obstructionists, Republicans have
no plans. So let me just go over some math that perhaps folks will understand.
The Democrats have 250-some-odd votes in this House. It only takes 218 votes to pass a bill. In the U.S. Senate you still have almost a supermajority with 59 votes. So what is the problem? Quit calling Republicans obstructionists. You have the White House, you have the Senate, you have the House of Representatives. No more Shamwow Summits, Madam Speaker. Let's get back to work. Vote ``no'' on this bill. This is a scam.
I yield back the balance of my time.
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE