Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, Republicans come to you today to talk about some of the same things that my colleague who just finished was talking about, but we are going to try and liven it up a little bit. Because, you see, the Democrats have controlled the Congress for the last 3 years, not the last 10 months or 11 months, but the last 3 years. But in the last 11 months, Americans have lost 2.9 million jobs.
You see, they passed this so-called stimulus, and they rammed it through in record time. It is one of those thousand-page bills that probably nobody had a chance to read before it got voted on, and then they passed it. The theory was that if they passed it into law, that unemployment wouldn't top out over 8 percent. That was their promise. That's what the Democrats promised, was pass the stimulus and it will solve unemployment. It will be no more than 8 percent. In fact, that's what their Department of Labor, the Obama Department of Labor, said right here, you can see it, Obama forecast with stimulus, right here is where unemployment would be. This is without the stimulus where unemployment would be at this point. These were their numbers. This is what they promised the American people. This is what they said.
Now, let's look at what really happened, however. Unemployment started out here in January of this year, 2009, whoa, up it goes. How high, nobody knows, but it goes on up and up and up over 10 percent, over 10 percent. Now who is benefiting from that? Well, let's, first of all, look at The Washington Post today. And right here on The Washington Post newspaper here in the Nation's Capital the top story is: ``Stimulus is Boon for D.C. Area Contractors.'' Federal Departments are paying firms to help spend the money.
And let me read Alec MacGillis' story here. It says: ``As struggling communities throughout the country wait for more help from the $787 billion stimulus package, one region is already basking in its largess: the government-contractor nexus that is metropolitan Washington, D.C.'' That's right. Come on down. You are the winner, Washington, D.C. Once again, the Federal Government is the winner.
"Reports from stimulus recipients show that a sizable sum has gone to Federal contractors in the Washington area who are helping implement the initiative--in effect, they are being paid a hefty slice of the money to help spend the rest of it.''
Now, if you want jobs for Washington, D.C.-based government contractors, I don't see how that is sustainable, helpful or even what was promised. And for heaven's sakes, we can see the red line here is not getting lower; it's getting higher. In fact, as I look at this, we would have been better off under the President's proposal, the Democrats' plan on the stimulus to have had no stimulus at all if you look at what they predicted versus what reality is.
But here is the best part. If you want to talk about helping rural areas, one of these people that has been involved in the government here tells The Post the reason all this money is being spent back here in the Washington, D.C. area is, she says, I'm not sure I ever heard of a government support contractor in Michigan.
Well, maybe that is part of the problem. Maybe if we had some of this actually flowing out to people who need the help and not into more government, things would be better.
So where is the money going? And where are the jobs? Now, we know that on February 25 in an interview with ABC's ``Good Morning America'' 's Robin Roberts, our Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, said: "We've got to make sure this is done by the numbers, man. We've got to make sure people know where the money is going. This cannot be squandered. We have an opportunity to get the Nation back to work and back on its feet, and the first piece of that is generating some economic growth here, and we have to do it right.''
Now that was February 25. Now, again, here is where they said we would be without the stimulus. Here is where they said we would be with the stimulus. Here's where we are. Here's where we are. And my colleague who spoke earlier about the horrible problem of unemployment--and it is--my home State of Oregon has suffered mightily. But this stimulus hasn't produced jobs out there. It may have produced them to contractors back here, but not out there.
So where are the jobs? And where is the money going? We were promised, the American taxpayers, when we borrowed all this money from China, we were promised that we would know, by golly, this is going to be accounted for. Everybody is going to know. Everybody is going to know. In fact, in a speech on the stimulus at the Brookings Institution on September 3 of this year, the Vice President, Joe Biden, said: ``Everybody has to account for the money they got beginning October 1. It's going to go up on a big old Web site. We've got a new modern Web site that is going to blow you away in terms of how detailed it is. ``
So, here is the Vice President. He says, first of all, we've got to make sure this is done by the numbers, man. We've got to make sure people know where the money is going. It can't be squandered. We have an opportunity to get the Nation back to work and on its feet, and the first piece of that is generating some economic growth here, and we have to do it right. And then he said, we're going to track it all. We have a new modern Web site that is going to blow you away. Everybody has to account for the money. They have got to get that, beginning October 1, going to go up on a big old Web site. We've got a new modern Web site that's going to blow you away in terms of how detailed it is.
Well, now, here is a guy who knows what happens with Federal money. You all know Lesko. You've seen him on TV. He says, free government money. Buy my CD. Buy my book. Get the free government money. You would think
that even Lesko could track where the money goes.
So, let's look at what happened to some of the money, because I think Americans are asking, where's all this money going, $787 billion? Where did the money go?
Let's see, in Louisiana, the New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper says Louisiana has seven congressional districts. So Louisianans visiting recovery.gov, that's the Web site that the Vice President said will blow you away with its detail, might find themselves not just a little skeptical, but truly puzzled to see that nearly $5 billion was listed as headed to Louisiana's Eighth Congressional District, $2.8 million to the 22nd District, $1.8 million to the 12th Congressional District, and lesser amounts to the 26th, the 45th, the 14th, the 32nd and even the double 0 district.
Now let me go back. The 26th district? The 45th district, the 14th, the 32nd, the double aught. There are only seven, count them, seven congressional districts in Louisiana. And yet the Web site that the Vice President touted as really going to blow us away, it lists all these grants, all your money going to districts that don't even exist.
So the Times Picayune asked Ed Pound, who is the director of communications for recovery.gov, this is the fancy Web site that Joe Biden said is just going to blow us all away, and, boy, it has, they asked Ed, okay, you're the communications director for this fancy new Web site that's going to detail everything. How does all this work? This is the great accountability model of the transparency of the Democrats. He says, Oh, we rely on self-reporting by recipients for the stimulus money.
So Pound said the information from federalreporting.gov is then simply transferred to recovery.gov, and no one, get this, no one checks to verify its accuracy or to take note of the fact that Utah--here is another example--really doesn't have seven congressional districts. Utah has three congressional districts. South Dakota, well, they had a 10th Congressional District in South Dakota, but you see, folks, South Dakota only has one, count them, one--you don't even have to take your shoes off--one congressional district. Louisiana doesn't have 15 congressional districts. It has seven. So even Lesko here could know.
We will get back to Lesko here on some examples of some of that ``free money'' that went out.
In my home State of Oregon, we have actually five, count them on one hand here, five congressional districts. That is one, two, three, four, five. And yet on this fancy new Web site that is supposed to track all this, news media organizations looked and said, wait a minute, there isn't a double 0 district in Oregon or a 14th or an 8th or a 16th or a 60th or 21st. And this is transparency and accountability in a record amount of money that's being spent?
Now, frankly, being an Oregonian and having only five districts, I kind of like the notion that we are going to add congressional districts. Now even the people that don't live there, because there aren't that many, probably wonder about it, but that would give us a little more clout here in the Congress. That would be okay with me. Except you're talking about taxpayers' money here. And it is not creating jobs.
Now, Pound went on to say: ``We are not certifying the accuracy of the information.'' So you have the Vice President who is telling us, man, this Web site is going to blow you away. We've got to make sure people know where the money is going. Everybody has to be accountable.
This is accountability?
Oh, by the way, these are the folks, this is the same government that is going to take over your health care and take over energy production, and they can't even manage a guest list for a dinner party at the White House? This is what we are getting, folks, with too much government.
We know what the problem is, according to Pound, and we are trying to fix it. Asked why recipients would pluck random numbers like 26, 45, or 14 to fill in for their congressional district, the communications director replied: ``Who knows, man? Who really knows?'' That was his answer. "There are 130,000 reports out there,'' he said. Okay. So we have an issue with reporting.
Now let's go back to our friend Lesko, because everybody knows him. Anybody that watches TV will see Lesko show up. And he says, where is the government money? There's lots of free government money. Get my CD, buy it, and you can get government money. Well, Talladega County, Alabama, now here they reported that they saved or created, this is frugal now, 5,000 jobs from only $42,000 in stimulus money. Now, I was a journalism major, not a math major, but 5,000 jobs from $42,000, that's $8.40 a job. This is a record. No, but wait. It gets better. The Belmont Metropolitan Housing Authority in Ohio reported 16,120 jobs saved or created from $1.3 million in stimulus funds from HUD. That's $80.46 per job.
But the winner, the Lesko winner for efficiency in creation of jobs, goes to Shelton State Community College in Alabama: 14,500 jobs saved or created with $27,000 from the GAO. That is $1.86 per job. Now that's a bargain.
Alkan Builders of Alaska reported 3,000 jobs created or saved from 11 million, $3,666 a job. You can see why these aren't real jobs that are being created. It's not even being reported accurately. And yet we are saddling our kids with this enormous debt.
So, let's look at a few other examples. Earl E. Devaney, the top monitor of the stimulus in the Obama administration ``acknowledged that he too found dubious the 640,000 jobs figure touted by the Obama administration as proof the stimulus was working and that there were too many errors in the reporting of data to accurately offer that estimate.'' Now, he is the one who actually is the watchdog. And that's what he told The New York Times.
Now, how many Americans does it take to fill an $890 shoe order? According to The Wall Street Journal, November 19, on the recovery.gov site, an $890 shoe order for the Army Corps of Engineers created nine new jobs at Moore's Shoes and Service in Kentucky. Really. Head Start in Augusta, Georgia, they claimed they created 317 jobs with a $790,000 grant. Now I happen to be a supporter of Head Start, but it is this reporting issue and whether you're actually creating sustainable jobs. Actually, the money went to pay hikes for 317 workers. That would be a bonus of $2,500 per employee.
So you see, Republicans stand up here, and we hear our colleagues on the other side of the aisle saying we need a new jobs summit. We need an economic stimulus. We need Economic Stimulus II because we got to help people get back to work. And Lord knows we do. But that is what they said the last time. And they've been in charge for 3 years around these Halls, and we've never had greater debt, more government takeover and more to come, and record unemployment.
We are looking at a 10.2 percent unemployment. It has not gone down since they enacted their proposal. It has gone up, up, up, up, up, up. And Americans are paying the price. And our kids and grandkids are going to pay the price on debt.
Now, how about that Alabama housing authority claimed a $540,071 grant would create 7,280 jobs? That's what they reported, 7,280 jobs. It created 14 at best. Fourteen at best.
Now, you go back to these congressional districts that have been identified here that don't exist. You remember back to the New Deal when President Roosevelt wanted to increase the Supreme Court from 7 to 9 members so that he could get a majority. Well, it appears this administration takes it one step further, forgetting to add the two more justices. Let's just add, I'm not kidding--let's just add 25 districts, maybe make it 50 new congressional districts, because that's what you would think happened here when this is your reporting. Far from accountable. And this is big stuff. We make a little light of this today perhaps, but this is big stuff because this is debt. This isn't like you have money in your checking account to spend. This is like you went to the bank and borrowed this money and shoved it out the door in record time, and you don't even know where it went.
I mean, I suppose Lesko's going to come out with a new DVD soon that says, Ask the government for free money and I'll tell you where it went. We found out. It's gone. Now, I just don't know, and in the next stimulus bill, are we going to create like whole new States? Maybe that's what we should do. When we're done creating new congressional districts, we can go to new States. Why stop at 50? You know, you like Massachusetts, you'll love New Massachusetts. Minnesota? How about South Minnesota or North Minnesota? Let's go for it. East Minnesota. Six little Mini-Me Al Frankens running around and voting for new job grants to States that don't exist and congressional districts that don't exist.
And if we created 100,000 new jobs, who can find the voters to say we didn't? They'll love us in West St. Paul and New Duluth. And don't worry, we'll find the voters in South Minnesota to say thanks for the jobs. I mean, this is crazy. I mean, this is just crazy where it's going. I mean, this chart, I think, and I see I've been joined by my friend and colleague from Ohio, Mr. LaTourette. But this is a report that came out in a newspaper here, The Examiner, inflated jobs by State. And it shows, you know, a drainage ditch number one and I don't know what all these are. But they show these inflated job numbers. I would yield to my colleague, Mr. LaTourette, from Ohio.
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Mr. WALDEN. So we could have written a check and made nearly a hundred millionaires.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. No. What we could have done is everybody could have gotten maybe $800,000. But, no, the problem is as I go about the district, nobody knows where those jobs are. And I think, you know, the gentleman's talked about not only the difficulty of false claims of jobs, but jobs that have gone to places that don't exist. In Ohio--the gentleman's talked about Oregon--in Ohio, there was $7,960, not billions, but still a lot of money, if you're paying taxes, for a basketball system replacement in Ohio. And they claim that as a result of that, they created three jobs. Now that's a little bit better than the hundred million, because that's only a couple $3,000 a job. The problem, and basically, it was a grant to repair a basketball court in a park in Cincinnati, Ohio. But it was identified as Ohio's 0 district. Now, we have 18 districts.
Mr. WALDEN. We have one of those in Oregon. Actually ours was double 00.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Well, we have Ohio 0. And I'm sure that next fall in 2010 the Republican and the Democrat running in Ohio 0 are going to have a very tough race because nobody's going to be able to figure out where it is, because it----
Mr. WALDEN. No, they can go to recovery.gov. By then they'll know the district. And it's going to be well-jobbed.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. So we clearly have some difficulties. I know the gentleman, if the gentleman's talked about this, I apologize. But down in Texas, this fellow who runs a public housing authority got $26,000. But if you go to the Web site, it says that they reported creating 450 jobs, which is pretty----
Mr. WALDEN. What?
Mr. LaTOURETTE. 450 jobs for $26,000, which is pretty good. I mean, that's about $500 a job. The problem is when they contacted this fellow, whose name is Bob Bray, he said, Boy that's great. You did a great job with that 26 grand, creating 450 jobs. He says, oh, no, no, no, no, no. He told the government that he had created six jobs, basically five roofers and a fellow to
inspect it. But when he was asked to do some reporting, they said, well, that's not enough jobs. And so the 450 doesn't represent jobs, it represents the hours that these six people worked to replace the roof. So we really didn't get a whole lot for that $26,000.
Mr. WALDEN. And even if it's six jobs, how long did those last?
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Well, for 450 hours. It was for 450 hours, all six of them. You know, it's a couple weeks work is what you're talking about.
Mr. WALDEN. So it's not like a permanent sustainable job that'll get us into a recovery that goes forward. I mean it replaced a roof, and roofs have to be replaced.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. I'm sure with the rainy season coming, I'm sure they're all nice and dry down there in Texas. But the fact of the matter is they put a new roof on, and now those people, I would assume, are unemployed or fixing roofs somewhere else. So clearly, this is a problem.
Mr. WALDEN. Now, you know, the University of Massachusetts got a grant--you're aware of this one--for $95,000 to study pollen samples from the Viking era in Iceland. Now, I'm not making this up. It's there. You can find it. $95,000, the University of Massachusetts studied pollen samples from the Viking era. You want to study pollen from the Viking era, an old sample of the Viking era? Just have Brett Favre sneeze. You know, that's an old Viking. We can do that. Save the $95,000. Maybe this will make good, like 1:30 in the morning, Discovery or Science Channel reporting, you know. We investigated old Viking pollen from Iceland. And we created jobs--95,000 of your tax dollars. We've been joined, Mr. LaTourette, if I could, by Mr. Scalise here from Louisiana. We're glad to have you join us today and share your comments to our colleagues, and we may even go back and forth here with our colleague from Ohio.
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Mr. WALDEN. And I will yield to my friend from Ohio, but before I do that, maybe this one didn't get past Joe. Maybe he approved it, I don't here.
But it says here that the Sacramento Bee reported $25,000 of stimulus money, to provide five free concerts in the Sacramento area. I like concerts. I have gone to a concert. I have an iPhone. I've got headphones. I have my iPhone here. It would be cheaper to lend my iPhone probably than the $25,000.
But here's one of the programs. It is the kitchen review. Now, you gentlemen I know are students of philharmonic and its programming. The kitchen review where audiences can imagine, ``the life of a pot, a lid, a broom, and a dishrag.'' Twenty-five thousand dollars so that you can imagine--this reminds me of the Johnny Carson skit, you know, Carnac, the Magnificent. What do a pot, a lid, a broom, and a dishrag have in common? This is insane.
Now, the executive director did say the money will give 10 of his musicians a good long week of work. Now, I don't know about you guys, but when I hear of jobs--I was a small business owner for 22 years. I created jobs, I maintained jobs, small company. I know what it's like to sign the payroll check. If I created a job, I expected it to last more than one week. Most of us I think see these numbers and think, Oh, they created a million new jobs or whatever they're claiming, 640,000 jobs. And then we find it was a roofing project that lasted 2 weeks. It was the life of a pot, a lid, a broom, and a dishrag concert in Sacramento for free. They gave a long week of work.
Now, that is not going to bring about economic recovery. I yield to the gentleman from Ohio.
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Mr. WALDEN. And maybe we need to ask Lesko where the free government money went. He seems to know. He's on television all the time. Ask Lesko, where's the money, free government money?
How about this one: West Virginia requested $387,350 from the so-called stimulus to hire two State coordinators and an assistant to encourage private land owners to grow ginseng and shiitake mushrooms on their private forest lands. Now, I have nothing against ginseng or shiitake mushrooms, for that matter, or farmers. With three staff and $387,000 in Federal money they hope to contact 160 landowners. That works out to $2,377 per contact to reach out to 160 farmers, forest land owners, to say, Hey, you guys want to grow some ginseng and shiitake mushrooms out there under the trees?
This is your Federal tax money, $387,350 for West Virginia. I thought with all of the paving that goes on there--well, we won't go there.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Maybe they don't have phones in West Virginia.
Mr. WALDEN. I mean, come on--$387,000.
I loved this one, too, $4 million for a new bike path trail in Massachusetts so people can get to the North Hampton Taco Bell. Do you think I'm making this stuff up? So there's a new slogan that Taco Bell has come out with: ``Bike to the border.'' The problem is, we all know with Massachusetts, before it's built, you know, they're going to make it a crime to eat a burrito and ride a bike at the same time. You can't eat a burrito and ride a bike at the same time. No taco chips, no salsa, nothing on that bike. And forget the cheese if it's not from a free-range dairy cow. I mean, this is $4 million for a bike path to the Taco Bell.
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Mr. WALDEN. This government, this Federal Government, Democrats have run the House for the last 3 years. The House controls the purse strings. The Congress does. The President can put forward a budget and they end up signing the bills into law, but it's the Congress that controls the purse strings.
Under this administration, the Federal Government will run deficits in excess of $700 billion every single year for the next 10 years. Now, the highest deficit, the highest 1-year deficit prior to this administration was $459 billion, which was high, but it was coming down. Now it's $700 billion and higher for the next decade at best.
Now, that racks up to what? What do they figure? A $20, a $17, $20 trillion debt at the end of 10 years. So let's figure out how you pay that off. Let's say it's $20 trillion by the time they're done.
Well, how about this? The Congress runs a trillion-dollar surplus for 20 years and pays down the debt. How many in this Chamber believe this Congress, or any Congress for that matter, is going to run a trillion-dollar surplus and apply it to paying down debt? I see no hands going up.
So then you're going to drive inflation. You're going to inflate your way out of debt. And that's the fear I have, having been in small business, knowing a lot of small business people. That means higher interest rates, higher inflation, a return to Carternomics. You remember when Jimmy Carter left office we had double-digit inflation, double-digit unemployment, double-digit interest rates, and the economy went in the tank. That's what portends from this enormous deficit.
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Mr. WALDEN. And we know that his stimulus plan that passed by the Democrats hasn't worked. Now they're coming back with stimulus II, we read, that may be $300 or $400 million more of borrowing and spending. And you're creating bike paths to Taco Bells and checking on Viking pollen air in Iceland. This is crazy.
Now, the scientist you referenced there, Jones, I believe that he has been the recipient of tens of millions of dollars for his research of American taxpayer research money from the Department of Energy.
Mr. SCALISE. In fact, we're now asking for an investigation to be conducted into not only----
Mr. WALDEN. Republicans are.
Mr. SCALISE. By the way, he just stepped down through the embarrassment of the exposing of this scandal. So for anybody to say, Oh, this isn't anything real, this is all being trumped up, this guy just stepped on down out of embarrassment over this scandal.
But we're now calling for an investigation to look into the millions of dollars of Federal grant money, U.S. taxpayer dollars, that have been either obtained through corruption or, when they got the Federal tax dollars, they went and conducted studies that they manipulated the data, corrupting the data, again, using that taxpayer money, and we want our money back and we want criminal charges to be filed against these people that actually went out and corrupted data to try to pass a national energy tax in this country that will run millions of jobs. And you wonder why small businesses feel like they're walking around this country with a bull's-eye on their back.
Mr. WALDEN. Beyond that, Republicans have asked for an investigation of this. It's pretty silent on the Democrat side of the aisle. This is a clear example where there has been a conspiracy to avoid the Freedom of Information Act, to discourage dissenting viewpoints from being included. All you have to do is go through the 3,000 emails. And as the ranking Republican on the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee, our Republican staff is doing that as we speak, and it's phenomenal what they're finding in terms of this sort of concerted, conspiratorial effort. And I don't use those terms lightly.
It appears to be a real conspiracy when you've got a lead scientist emailing out to other scientists in the United States saying, Destroy this data, delete this email, get rid of this, and then you discover that the actual temperature data that were gathered from the sites has been destroyed. They took those data and then they ran them through their own model of what they think it should look like and then they destroyed the original data, which means nobody else can go back and use those original data to test and replicate whatever it is they model.
And then there are these emails about let's try and discourage people from getting published in this magazine because we don't think they're with us on this, or whatever. I mean, the American people are going to see transparency. They don't want to--I don't know of too many Members in here who sent out pamphlets in their campaigns that said, Send me to Congress and I'll raise the cost to turn on your light switch, yet that's what they voted for with that cap-and-trade. They voted for 3 million jobs to go overseas.
Mr. LaTOURETTE. Well, they did.
I want to go back just to the jobs business for a minute, because there's a couple of things you can do as a government. The government doesn't create jobs. That's one of the myths around here. It's people who have the entrepreneurial spirit. It's corporations that make investments in not only equipment but product and people.
But going back to the health care thing and Mr. Scalise's observation about more jobs leaving, I would think that the first thing would be to be like a physician; do no harm. Let's keep what we've got and then we can build on it. Then we go can grow jobs. But if you look again at the health care bill, how that's financed--and a lot of my constituents don't understand that everybody recognizes in a country as great as the United States we shouldn't have people who die because they don't have quality health care. They should have the ability to have affordable, accessible health care.
But no matter what that number is--some people say it's 47 million. The President came here and said it's 30 million. Whatever the number is, even at their number of 47, you're talking about 15 percent of the people in the country. And a lot of people are asking the question: How come we've got to screw up everybody else to take care of this problem that's dealing with maybe 15 percent of the people?
And specifically to the jobs issue, the Senate bill that they're now debating across the Capitol has a number of taxes in it. First, both bills cut half a trillion dollars out of Medicare. And how you're going to make the country healthier by taking away half a trillion dollars from people on Medicare I have yet to have explained to me adequately. But on the other side of the Capitol they're debating all these new taxes, and one is specifically on companies that manufacture wheelchairs.
Now, I have, not in my district but on the other side of Cleveland, in Lorain, Ohio, the world's leading wheelchair manufacturer. And in talking to the folks that run that company, they're saying, You know what? If this tax comes about--and it's hard to know why you have to tax wheelchairs to take care of somebody who doesn't have health insurance--if this tax comes about, it will completely eviscerate any profit margin that we
have, and I'm going to take thousands of jobs and they're going to have to be terminated and I will go to China. I will go to China and employ thousands of Chinese to make wheelchairs and have them imported into the United States.
Now, some of our friends on the other side say, Well, that's not patriotic. What are you doing? You're thumbing your nose at the United States of America. Business is business and jobs are jobs. So to disincentivize--not only to do no harm, but to harm--doesn't make sense to folks back where I'm from.
Mr. WALDEN. No, it doesn't. I think that's the issue. And we had an alternative that created twice the jobs at half the cost in America. Twice the jobs at half the cost. Clearly, we want to get people back to work. There are alternative ways to do that that Republicans have put forward on health care reform. We haven't even talked about tort reform that would save $68 billion. Get rid of the junk lawsuits and get access to affordable health care out there.
There are ways--and as a former small business owner, I can tell you--to create jobs in the market out there. Bike paths to Taco Bells is not a sustainable economic recovery model.
$95,000 for research on Icelandic Viking-era pollen seems a little outrageous at a time when we're running record reported deficits.
I know we're about to run out of time here. I'd go back to my colleague from Louisiana if he has got any final comments because, you know what? All of this has gotten past Joe.
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