Concurrent Resolution On The Budget For Fiscal Year 2010
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Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman.
This debate really is very timely because the number one issue on the minds of the American people is the economic crisis, and although we use the language of the budget, what we are really talking about here is whether to adopt or not adopt a plan to fix the economic crisis facing the country.
Literally, the motion that we're debating right now is whether to try to reach an agreement with the Senate about that plan, and we'll take a vote on whether to go forward or not. I hope everybody votes to go forward with the process.
But I assume, Mr. Speaker, the minority's not really debating the process; they're debating the substance, and that's good and that's welcome.
I think for us to fix this economic crisis we need to do three things, and the President has stepped forward to try to do these three things. The first is to get the economy kick-started in the short run. The President proposed legislation that would put construction workers back to work, that would help first-time homebuyers with their down payment for a new home, that would let people deduct the sales tax when they buy a car or truck, that would stop the hemorrhaging of layoffs from schools around the country by a significant increase in Federal aid to schools. And we passed that. And it's about 2 months old, and we're hoping that it will work.
The second leg of recovery is to stop the meltdown of the financial system. You know, the two parties came together in the fall and passed legislation that was very controversial, very easy to vote against, to try to rescue the financial system and the banking system, not for the benefit of the shareholders of banks, but for the benefit of borrowers and depositors and all of us who depend upon the banking system. And the new Secretary of the Treasury has gone forward with a different version of how to implement that plan, and it's playing out in the marketplace, and we're hoping that that plan will be successful.
The third piece of the recovery plan is a long-term plan to deal with the long-term problems of the country. The President proposed a way to deal with the problem of borrowing too much money to run the country, and we passed in the House a budget that cuts the deficit by two-thirds and we hope will stimulate the economic growth that will pay down the debt as we did in the 1990s.
The President proposed a plan that would start us toward fixing our health care system, to control costs for businesses and families, so that the metastasizing growth of health care costs is reduced and subdued, and that's included in this budget.
The President has proposed a plan to deal with our energy dependency upon imported foreign oil; and although the specifics of that are not included in this budget, this House, at the appropriate time, will take up that debate and will either pass it or not.
And, finally, the President talked about improving the job skills of our workers so we are more competitive in global economic competition with some major reforms in the way we pay for getting a college or higher education.
Now, you can disagree with the way the President went about these objectives. But I think what you can't do is propose essentially nothing as an alternative. And I know there were alternatives on the floor during the budget debate. But the reality is the minority has kind of set itself up here to tell us what it's against, and I respect that.
We're for something very different. We're for a plan that reduces the deficit by two-thirds. We're for a plan that stops the hemorrhaging from our pocketbooks in America's health care system. We want to debate and eventually adopt a plan that will terminate our addiction to imported oil. We're for a plan that raises the skills and aspirations of every worker, every man, woman and child in this country. That is what we are for. And we want to go forward with the other body and with the President and, hopefully, with the other party in a way that will implement a plan that will make this economy recover.
So that's what we're talking about today: Should we or should we not go forward with a plan that will help the economy recover?
We've laid out our ideas. We believe in them. We think the track record shows that they work. There really are two competing sets of ideas about how to fix the economy. The minority believes that massive reductions in taxes for the wealthiest Americans and deregulation of the economy will produce prosperity for all. We don't believe that. We think that lower deficits, investment in education and health care, infrastructure, sensible regulation of the marketplace will produce prosperity for all.
There's a record, Mr. Speaker. Their method, tried in the last 8 years, has, frankly, led us to the economic catastrophe we're experiencing today. Our method, by and large, tried in the 1990s, led to a very different result. For every one job----
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. SPRATT. Could I ask how much time we have left?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. 13 1/2 minutes.
Mr. SPRATT. I yield the gentleman 1 additional minute.
Mr. ANDREWS. For every one job that their strategy produced, ours produced 108. For every dollar of economic growth that their strategy produced, ours produced $1.69. A middle class family, during the last 8 years, saw their purchasing power drop by $500, at least, compared to what it was 8 years ago. And finally, the purchasing power of the middle class family during our strategy being invoked saw purchasing power for middle class families increase by over $5,000. That's the record. That's the choice. Let's get on with it and go to conference.
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