|1:18 PM EDT||
Rosa DeLauro, D-CT 3rd
Ms. DeLAURO. Madam Chairman, included amongst a multitude of misguided policies in this bill the Republican majority has on the floor today is the rescinding of high-speed rail funds that would otherwise create good middle class jobs, strengthen our economy, allow us to build a 21st century infrastructure that we need to compete with the other economic power centers around the world.
Over 6 months in the majority and my Republican colleagues have proved very capable of ending Medicare, rolling back health care reforms, namely for women, and choosing to reduce the deficit on the backs of working middle class families and the most vulnerable.
One thing they have chosen to do is to zero out job creation. And, in fact, by cutting funding for high-speed rail projects in this bill, the majority is threatening as many as 60,000 jobs. This is the majority's answer to last week's extremely disappointing jobs report that showed that we are mired in unacceptably high 9.2 percent unemployment after adding only 18,000 jobs in June, with a construction sector that has 16.3 percent of its workers unemployed.
This is the majority's answer to the 14 million unemployed in this country, real people, real families looking to wait their way through this crisis.
In Connecticut, the majority's decision to rescind a $30 million investment--and I might tell my colleagues on the other side of the aisle--this $30 million has been obligated. It is an investment in the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line and would seriously limit the ability to expand one of the best intercity passenger rail networks in the country. The line represents a critical component of a larger regional plan for passenger rail to integrate the New England rail system, connect it to New
York, the middle-Atlantic States and to Canada.
The improvements that would be made with the investments my colleagues on the other side are seeking to eliminate are essential to meeting the needs of the entire region and achieving the benefits of the Federal and State investments that have already been made there.
High-speed rail is desperately needed in Connecticut. This is the most heavily trafficked commuter region in the country. New England's traffic has increased two to three times faster than its population since 1990, and 80 percent of the Connecticut commuters drive to work alone.
When it's completed, the line is expected to reduce the number of vehicles on the road by approximately 4,000 cars a day, saving a billion gallons of fossil fuel a year and reducing carbon emissions over that time by 10,000 tons.
Just as important, the line has been a high priority for Connecticut, for its Representatives on both sides of the aisle for many years. It means opportunities for economic development and expansion throughout our State.
But expanding the economy, creating jobs is simply not a priority for the majority. They appear perfectly content to allow us to fall behind our global competitors like China, with its plan to invest a trillion dollars in high-speed rail, highways and other infrastructure in 5 years.
And the short-sightedness is further exemplified by what has been put forward this week in a $230 billion 6-year surface transportation bill that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls unacceptable as the cuts will destroy, rather than support, existing jobs, which would be devastating to construction and related industries, leading to a less competitive economy and a drag on the GDP due to underperforming infrastructure.
Now, I want to say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, I have a great appreciation for disaster assistance, a great appreciation for the commercial value of the Mississippi River. I am there. I have been there for disaster assistance.
Now, if you don't want to do an emergency declaration, then let me tell you where you can get some of the money from in order to do this: $40 billion to the oil industry every year in a tax subsidy. Nobody here believes that they are suffering as the farmers in our country are suffering. They don't need money for the levees. They don't need any money at all; but, no, the other side doesn't want to take any money from that $41 billion to do something about those who are suffering in these States
due to natural disaster.
Or what about the $8 billion we provide to multinational corporations to [Page: H5038]
take their jobs overseas? Let's take that money and use it for the people of this great Nation who are in difficult straits, difficult times and their jobs, yes, and their levees need to be dredged. Let's get that money to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Finally, we support Brazilian cotton farmers. We give them $147 million every single year. I suggest we take that money from the Brazilian cotton farmers and spend it on the folks in our country who are in desperate need.
Don't take it from high-speed rail. Don't commit us to planned obsolescence.