BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. INOUYE. The Senator is correct. Nothing in this act overturns or changes the existing procurement laws for the SBA or similar programs or the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act. Since approximately 80 percent of the jobs in the United States are created by small businesses and since one of the main purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is to get people back to work as soon as possible, the intent of this stimulus package is that small businesses, including those participating in SBA programs, will be able to participate in spending programs contained in the bill so long as the contracts are awarded following existing Federal law for competitive and direct award procurements.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. INOUYE. Mr. President, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, I believe, is a good bill. It is not perfect. It may have imperfections, but I believe it deserves our support.
Many compromises were made, and the final compromises that we made in conference were very difficult. There is no doubt those of us on this side of the aisle had to make some very difficult decisions and some painful cuts to programs that I personally believe would have been of great benefit to the American people. But in the end, I remain convinced we have gained far more than we have lost, and this bill is essential in beginning the task of turning our economy around.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create more than 3.5 million jobs. This is nothing to sniff at. It will provide tax cuts for working families, aid to our States, and will allow us to invest in our future by rebuilding our roads, schools, and mass transit systems.
As chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I know that the $311 billion in appropriated funds that are contained in this bill will make a difference as we confront the economic crisis. For example, the funds will prevent layoffs of State employees, will allow for increased funding for education, health care initiatives, improved energy efficiency, and many other vital investments.
With this large influx of Federal funding now headed to our States, including my home State of Hawaii, it is essential that each State has a plan of action in place to ensure that these resources are invested quickly and responsibly, and in the right places. In Hawaii, for example, we have established working groups of State and local officials and community leaders to identify priorities that will have the most effective and timely economic impact in local communities throughout the State.
Before concluding my remarks, I want to take a moment to thank the
Members and staff of the Appropriations Committee for all of their dedication and hard work in taking this bill from conception to completed legislation in a matter of a few months. On our committee, we have 12 subcommittees, each of which was involved in this bill. It is the subcommittees, the chairmen and ranking members who, along with their subcommittee clerks and staff, are the people who have carried the load on this bill. I believe that the Senate owes them its gratitude.
At this time, I wish to inform the Senate that division A of the conference report on H.R. 1 does not contain any congressionally directed spending items as defined in rule XLIV of the Standing Rules of the Senate.
There is no quick fix or easy answer to this grave economic crisis, but I am confident this plan will begin to put America on the road to recovery.
I believe the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is the right medicine for what ails our economy. It will not fix our problems overnight, but it will begin the process. We face some tough times in the coming year, but this legislation will have an impact. It will help millions of Americans, directly and indirectly and, most importantly, it will give America confidence that we can overcome this crisis.
I thank the Chair.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT