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John Garamendi, D-CA 3rd
Mr. GARAMENDI. Representative Tonko, once again, you have laid it out very, very clearly, the challenge that we have. There are 435 of us here in the House of Representatives. I think we are a little lower than that because of some retirements, but let's just say 435, and 100 Members of Congress. Together with the President, we set the national policy. We set the national agenda. And frankly, at the moment, the agenda is one that has stalled out. Really, we have been prevented from pushing
forward an aggressive agenda such as you have described. Those elements, research, education, manufacturing, infrastructure, the role of labor, particularly the role of women [Page: H215]
in the labor force, those issues are roadblocked.
There is a stop sign that has been put up here in the House of Representatives that basically says we shouldn't do any of that, that government has no role in any of those issues. I would challenge that philosophy. I would challenge that philosophy with the Founding Fathers.
Our colleagues on the right often talk about we ought to do what the Founding Fathers did. Well, one of the things that George Washington, one of the Founding Fathers, did was to turn to Alexander Hamilton and say, Develop a strategy for American manufacturing, for building the American economy. So Hamilton went off, probably talked to a few people, and came back with a lengthy report, which you would never see nowadays, which was like 30 pages. And in that document, he laid out a strategy for
building the American economy.
Interestingly, guess what he talked about. He talked about trade. He talked about infrastructure. Among the infrastructure that was specifically in the plan that Hamilton presented to George Washington, who then presented it to the Congress, was canals. And shortly thereafter, about 30 years later, the Erie Canal.
Here in Washington, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, the canal on the Potomac River. It also talked about roads. It talked about ports. Those were the infrastructure projects of the day. The Constitution, by the way, says that the Federal Government must maintain and build postal roads. Infrastructure, we talk about that nearly all the time we are here.
Research. At that period of time, Thomas Jefferson--not exactly in league with the representatives from New England, but nonetheless--was pushing forward the research agenda and the education agenda. Go back to the Founding Fathers, pick up those elements of economic growth that they put on the American agenda in the very earliest days of this Nation, and carry those forward.
We are not a shy country; but if one would look at the policies emanating from the Congress today, you would think that we are a country that does not envision the necessity of grabbing the strength of the past and using those elements that have created the economic growth and pushing them forward.
We can, and we must, do this. And as we do it, I want to go back to where we started today's discussion, and that is, we started this discussion with the role of women in our economy. 77 cents. Equal pay? No, no. A man will earn $1; and a woman at the same job, same skill sets, same tenure on the job will earn 77 cents across this Nation. In my own district, it is 85 cents.
A woman working full time at minimum wage cannot earn enough money in this Nation to feed her child and pay the rent. A woman in this Nation with a child, she has a job, the child gets sick: she is faced with a dilemma.
We need to address these issues; and we must keep in mind the Make It In America agenda, the jobs agenda that we push forward; and we must always remember that when women succeed, America will succeed.
And with that, I thank my colleagues Mr. Tonko, Mr. Honda, the three women that joined us earlier, Ms. Kaptur, Ms. Hahn, and Ms. Schakowsky, for bringing this message to the American people and to our colleagues here on the floor.
And I yield to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Tonko) to wrap up.