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Public Statements

The Western Caucus

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BISHOP of Utah. Mr. Speaker, today, 134 Republicans came here to the floor and spoke for 1 minute each about the issue of jobs and where they had been, for, indeed, we were promised that there would be jobs that would be created and saved if we simply passed a stimulus bill and didn't take the time to read it like a couple of others we did. Unfortunately, the reality has not been quite the same. In fact, this is basically the report card that we came up with.

This administration said that if we quickly pass that huge stimulus bill, there would be some unemployment but it would only be 8 percent. In fact, the dark blue line here is what they said would be the recovery path of our economy. They said if we didn't do that, we would follow a trajectory of the light blue line and actually have 9 1/2 percent unemployment. That is a difference of 3 million workers being out of a job if we took the time to actually read the bill and think about it.

The sad part is, though, after 5 1/2 months, the trajectory line is actually the red dots there, which means we are far exceeding anything that was projected whether we did the stimulus or didn't do the stimulus. In fact, you can arguably say that we might have been better off not doing anything at all.

The Vice President was correct when he said that this administration totally misread the economy. Nonetheless, Speaker Pelosi and President Obama have teamed together to put up the largest budget, and we're still in the process of voting for it. We are on track now, Mr. Speaker, of actually spending $4 trillion in this year's Congress. We are spending money like it was Monopoly money with the possible exception that you can't pass go and you don't get $200 every time you do it.

To put this kind of concept in place, at $4 trillion, we would be spending $1 billion every 2.2 hours. To put it in perspective again, if you tried to pay off $4 trillion, that means every single household in America would have to cough up 35 grand to cover it. And the problem that we have with that is simply we don't have that kind of money lying around, whether we spent it or not. In fact, we will be predicted to be in a deficit. CBO scores this year's deficit at $1.85 trillion. That's the amount of money we'll spend that we have absolutely no funds for.

Now, you can see on this chart, back there at the turn of this century, we actually had a surplus. You can notice when 9/11 hit we went into deficits. Those grey lanes are the deficits run up by the big-spending George W. Bush--at least, he was accused of that. What we have over here is what we have been spending ever since. The light red lines are the estimates of the Obama administration. The dark red lines are the estimates of our Congressional Budget Office, and they predict that this year it's $1.85 trillion that we will overspend.

Now, this isn't perhaps the best view. This is only a 1-year shot of what we are doing as far as our finances. If we actually took a bigger view of it and tried to find all of the things we still owe, we are actually at about $11.6 trillion in total debt. And if you add things like the bailouts and the bank rescues and the auto recovery loans we have, we're about $23 trillion in debt, which is difficult when our total gross domestic product is about $14 trillion.

Let me put that in a kind of perspective for you.

When we went to the Moon, if you put the money we spent on that effort to go to the Moon in today's dollars, we would have spent around $200 billion. Everything FDR did in the New Deal to try to get us out of the old original Depression in today's dollars would be about $500 billion. If you took everything we spent on World War II, that's about $4 trillion. Today, we are spending, in real dollars, $4 trillion and a deficit of almost $2 trillion and a total deficit of $23 trillion of everything combined. That was not the change that we were promised.

And the proponents of the stimulus package, quite frankly, view its failure in the fact that we didn't put enough money into it and that perhaps we should have another stimulus package to spend more money. The Democrats' solution, quite frankly, is we need to spend more money. The bottom line, though, is spending money is not the same thing as creating jobs. There are other alternatives that are out there.

The Republican Party has introduced almost a thousand bills of alternatives that have never been allowed to be discussed on this floor. We had one called the no-cost stimulus bill. It was estimated that it would grow our gross domestic product by $10 trillion and create 2 million jobs and would cost the taxpayers exactly nothing and has still yet to be allowed to be discussed on this particular floor.

Now, we come here today as part of a Western Caucus with the understanding that much of what we do in the West is a catalyst for us solving this particular problem in moving our economy ahead.

Unfortunately, this administration, which misdiagnosed what the stimulus would do, has also misdiagnosed the opportunity that so much of our public lands have offered to us. It is not an effort to try to destroy the environment, but there are enough resources we have in this country that we could create an energy policy that would indeed build real jobs.

Unfortunately, this administration looks at the gift that it has at its disposal and instead goes in the opposite direction. It creates an environmental policy that is aimed at benefiting special interest groups so that instead of our using our resources to create jobs, we actually are sacrificing jobs to a false ideology.

In this opportunity today, we are going to be talking about some of the things this administration is doing which actually harms this country and loses jobs when we have a great opportunity to try and grow jobs if we'd just use the resources that we have wisely.

I am joined and will be talking with Representative McClintock of California. He has a unique area that

deals with the forest area that has a chance of actually bringing people together for a benefit that could grow jobs, help the economy, help the environment, and for some reason, we simply are not doing it.

We will be joined later by Representative Thompson of Pennsylvania; not necessarily the West, but he has the same situation with a forest in Pennsylvania and, once again, the administration's misuse of land policy is costing people jobs and should not be there.

I'm joined by my good friend Representative Broun from Georgia. He's going to try to put all this into some kind of perspective at the same time as
we deal with this issue and other issues, all of which have the same problem of costing us jobs. And hopefully there will be a few more Members who will join us before this hour has concluded.

And I'd also like to talk about a couple of policies that this administration has started which, in reality, costs American jobs when we should be producing jobs with the resources that we have.

But, Mr. Speaker, with that said, I would like, first of all, to yield some time to Representative McClintock of California, who has a wonderful opportunity of creating jobs in California, desperately needing the jobs, desperately needing the income, but is faced with a unique barrier that's going to be extremely difficult to overcome.

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Mr. BISHOP of Utah. To the gentleman from California, I thank him for joining us here. I know that we all send our sympathy to the community and especially the family at this time of their particular loss in a heroic effort to try and help and save others.

Part of the problem that the gentleman from California is talking about is because of the land that is owned by the Federal Government. On this particular chart, everything that is in red is owned by the Federal Government. You will notice that it has a preponderance in the West. And where Mr. McClintock is talking is that area in California surrounded by red. Let's face it. If you live in that area that is surrounded by red, you really don't have a whole lot of options. The Federal Government controls what opportunities you do or do not have.

Let me give you just one example in my State of a different area. And I want to introduce you to a young man by the name of Mr. Pitchforth. Mr. Pitchforth is a young and exciting school teacher who got 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds excited by geography and history, which by itself should give him some kind of hero's medal. This September, though, he is not going to be teaching school. He is not going to be teaching school because the district in which he lives is one of those red areas in which this administration unilaterally and arbitrarily decided to take 77 oil and gas leases and suspend them, take them off the market, making them unusable. And in so doing, took neighboring and abutting pieces of property owned by the school trust lands and make them also sterile for this time period. The schools lost money. And in so doing, their reaction was to fire the first teacher hired. Mr. Pitchforth is not there anymore. You see, this doesn't deal with just people who are working in oil and gas. There's collateral damage from every one of our decisions that the government makes. Mr. Pitchforth isn't working because of a choice he made, but because of a choice some bureaucrat back here in Washington made. And it's not fair. It's not fair for him. It's not fair for his family.

There's other collateral damage that takes place in this area where the Secretary of the Interior decides to pull these leases and suspend these leases for the rationale that the Bush administration did them too quickly. Actually, the Bush administration took 7 years to go through the process. I guess 7 years was not enough time to decide whether we were doing the right thing or not, at least that is what the Secretary said. Let me read to you a letter from, once again, somebody who is not directly employed but who is in the transportation business that does the shipping of materials both to and from those potential sites. As he wrote the county commission where he lives, Let me applaud your efforts in trying to get the message to our Interior Department that their actions have caused great harm to the economy of our area and to individuals living there. At the end of 2008, we employed over 230 truck drivers and leased 204 trucks. Our payroll was $12 million a year. But since the first of the year, we have laid off 36 trucks and 47 drivers. There are now 47 families without income nor payroll benefits associated with them. Our overall payroll is down 29 percent, projected now to be down to $9 million by the end of this calendar year. On a personal note, my son who has worked in the oil fields for the past 8 years has never been unable to find employment until now. He has been off now for 3 months and is getting very discouraged. My daughter is a single mother of two growing boys. She has been struggling to make ends meet with the economy the way it is now and seems she has lost hope of ever finding employment elsewhere. To Brett who is the field manager who was laid off on July 1, July 13 he and his wife had a baby. To Jody and Jeff, two truck operators, Jody lost his truck because he couldn't make payments after he was laid off because of the decision made by the Secretary here in Washington. Curtis was a craftsman and a cabinetmaker who lost his job due to the cancelled contracts once they realized these leases were taken off the table. Travis, a construction worker, husband, father of two children, laid off, once again, as soon as a bureaucratic decision here in Washington was made that had unintended consequences far beyond what was anticipated when a bureaucrat in Washington decided to make decisions on what should take place on the ground out there and took the opportunity of solving our problems and creating problems and taking jobs away from people.

We talk about the numbers unemployed. Each of those unemployed numbers is a face and a real person with a real family and a real issue. I would like to yield some time to the gentleman from Georgia to try and put this in perspective. And then we will be joined by two other members of the Western Caucus.

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Mr. BISHOP of Utah. I thank the gentlewoman from Wyoming who has so clearly pointed out how small decisions that we make here still have enormous impacts. We have seen what this administration has done in an effort, for whatever reason, to harm the creation of jobs when it deals with land policy.

This week the Secretary of the Interior decided to have a time-out on new leases of uranium mining, which will lose at least 1,100 jobs. He earlier decided to put a halt on the development of oil shale projects. That could be up to 1 million jobs. It is estimated at 160,000 jobs that will be lost from the delay on Outer Continental Shelf development. An effort to stop the timber harvest in western Oregon immediately costs another 5,000 jobs.

Mr. Speaker, as we look at what we're doing here, it is very clear that small business and families are struggling today. Republicans have put forth thoughtful, serious alternatives which have been ignored and not even discussed. It's also clear that the President's economic decisions have not produced jobs, not produced prosperity, and simply have not worked. It doesn't mean that we're out of options. We can still have a real recovery.

If we emphasize and create an environment that empowers small business and empowers Americans and we focus on job creation, we stop the attack on the West and other areas of public lands and the people who live there and allow them to develop the resources that we have been given to create real jobs in this country, we can do that. That is still an option that we have. But we have to do it, and we have to do it together.

There are a lot of other examples that I would like to go into, Mr. Speaker, but time does not allow that--maybe at some other time--where decisions by this administration have actually harmed families and their creation of jobs. Once again, we have to change directions. That has to stop.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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