|6:39 PM EST||
Paul Tonko, D-NY 20th
Mr. TONKO. Sure. And I thank, again, the gentleman from California for yielding.
The Make It In America program, the concept of that, is a very strong domestic agenda. In and of itself, it has great merit. But let's put that into the context of the bigger picture, and that is the international sweepstakes for the economy, for landing jobs.
Many of us can recall the global race on space in the sixties, and it was critical to win that race. We had come off a failing moment with Sputnik, dusted off our backside and said never again.
So this Nation committed, with passionate resolve, that we would win that global race on space. That was just two nations, U.S. vs. USSR. Who would land on that Moon, stake their flag first? We were determined it was going to be the United States. And a rather youthful President led the Nation, again, with passionate resolve, so that we had dollars for training, for research, for education, for equipment, and we were going to win that race, and we did.
In my first year in Congress, in 2009, we celebrated the 40th anniversary. Neil Armstrong was here to shake the hands of many Members of Congress, thanking him for the poetry of the moment in that July of 1969. It was more than the one small step for man, one giant step for mankind, the poetry of the moment. It was the unleashing of untold amounts of technology that impacted communications, energy generation, health care. Across the gamut of job creation, technology entered in.
Fast-forward to today. A rather youthful President is asking again that we embrace, with passion, our entry into a global race, this time on innovation and clean energy and high tech. But this time, dozens of competitors.
So Make It In America is noble in and of its own right, but it is critical when we place it into the bigger picture of a global race on innovation. And it is not our choice to determine if we are going to enter the race. Our choice ought to be how prepared, how strong, how competitive will we be as we enter that race.
That requires education, higher education, skills development, energy costs, innovation of all sorts. That comes with the passion of reform. So we need an agenda like that presented with Make It In America that addresses the needs of the workers, that speaks to the empowerment that comes with research which equals jobs. For us to have that pioneer spirit, which I believe is in the DNA of America and her workers, we need to embrace that pioneer spirit and move forward.
Now, Representative Garamendi is going to joke that I always talk about the donor area that the 20th Congressional District of New York is and was to the development of the Industrial Revolution in this Nation. But the Erie Canal made a port out of a little town called New York, and then developed into the birthing of a necklace of communities called mill towns that became the epicenters of invention and innovation.
We need that same spirit to be embraced today with this out-of-the-box thinking, where we can bring about the best of America and provide hope for workers, for families across this Nation, and do it in a way that allows us to win this given race, this global race on innovation.
Whoever wins this race, as the President, President Obama, has been quoted oftentimes, will be the kingpin of the international economy. That is an important assignment to this House, the House of Representatives. It is an important assignment to Congress. It is an important challenge to all of us, as Americans, to commit to that agenda of investing, investing in America so that our best days lie ahead. I am convinced that with this sort of progressive thinking, our best days lie ahead, and that
we deliver hope to the doorsteps of individuals and families across this Nation with a vision of how we can win this next quarter of global competition.