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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CANTOR. Madam Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Maryland, the majority leader, for the purpose of announcing next week's schedule.

Mr. HOYER. I thank my friend, the Republican whip, for yielding.

On Monday the House is not in session.

On Tuesday the House will meet at 12:30 p.m. for morning-hour debate and 2 p.m. for legislative business.

On Wednesday the House will meet at 10 a.m. for legislative business and recess at approximately 5 p.m. to allow a security sweep of the House Chamber prior to the President's State of the Union address. The House will meet again at approximately 8:35 p.m. in a joint session with the Senate for the purpose of receiving an address from the President of the United States.

On Thursday and Friday the House is not in session to give time for the Republican Issues Conference to occur in Baltimore, Maryland.

We will consider several bills under suspension of the rules. A complete list of suspension bills will be announced by close of business tomorrow.

In addition, Madam Speaker, we will consider H.R. 3726, the Castle Nugent National Historic Site Establishment Act of 2009; and H.R. 4474, the Idaho Wilderness Water Resources Protection Act, introduced by Mr. Minnick and Mr. Simpson.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Madam Speaker, I would ask the gentleman if he can comment on some of the press reports that we have seen this morning about the Speaker's statement that this House and you will not be bringing to this House the Senate health care bill for consideration.

I yield to the gentleman.

Mr. HOYER. Well, I didn't see the Speaker's statement; so I can't comment specifically on it, but I can say this to the gentleman: As the gentleman knows, there are significant, critical differences between the House and Senate bills and we have been working on trying to bridge the differences that exist. We are still in that process.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman. I would ask, Madam Speaker, and I would first preface the question by saying that this country saw a pretty extraordinary election in Massachusetts a few nights ago. From all reports, it seems that part of the outcome of that election was due to the health care bill and the difficulties which the gentleman's side has had in passing the bill. We on this side, Madam Speaker, would say there has been no bipartisan effort to pass a health care bill. And so if we are going to see a resolution of the differences that the gentleman refers to, those differences are clearly being on his side of the aisle because, Madam Speaker, we feel that we continue to be left out of the process.

So I would ask the gentleman if he has not decided whether he is bringing up the Senate bill or the House bill again, will we see the process start over? Will we see his side take the message from the Massachusetts election to involve Republicans in discussion over the health care bill and have a transparent process the way we believe ought to happen as well as I believe the American people think should happen?

I yield.

Mr. HOYER. Well, I thank the gentleman for his question and all of the premises he adopts in prefacing his question. I don't want my silence to be presumed as agreeing to his premises, which I think are inaccurate.

Having said that, first of all, of course, there has been extraordinary exposure of the health care bills, both in the House and Senate, to public discussion, public debate, public information. It has been online for over 4 months, 5 months now, and an extraordinary number of hearings held on it over the last 2 years. As the gentleman well knows, his party's candidate for President and my party's candidate for President, who is now President of the United States, both indicated that they thought health reform was necessary. So it received extensive debate by many other candidates as well during the course of the election.

The gentleman is well aware because Members on his side have talked about it and Members on my side have talked about it, about the number of Americans who don't have insurance and the number of Americans who are being forced out because of cost and the number of small businesses that are being confronted with 10, 15, 25 percent premium increases.

So the gentleman is well aware of the fact that health funding and health coverage is a challenge for our country and for our citizens.

The gentleman mentions the election. The election, obviously, that occurred in Massachusetts, like every election, dealt with many issues. My own view is that Americans are most focused, as we need to be, on the creation of jobs, making sure that Americans get back to work, have a livelihood that they can support themselves and their families. I think they are very concerned about that.

They are also concerned about the fact that we pass a health care bill. I have just read a poll, an exit poll that indicates that the majority of voters who had voted for Obama but voted for the new United States Senator-elect from Massachusetts believed that we ought to pass a health care bill. So, obviously, their vote for the new Senator was based upon something other than that particular issue.

So obviously, there were a number of issues that impacted on this election. But let me say again that almost all the candidates running for President last time, when they articulated a focus on national issues, focused on health care and the need to make sure that health care was available to all of our citizens.

Now, as relates to the gentleman's bipartisanship, the gentleman was quoted apparently just a few days ago about referring to our meeting. Our meeting of course dealt with a one-page recitation of three or four proposals, many of which are in the health care bill that we passed in this House in one fashion or another. Notwithstanding that, of course, as you know, no Republicans voted for the bill.

I was not surprised at that, frankly, because in February, apparently not based upon the specifics of a proposal, because the specifics of a proposal were not on the table until the summer, your campaign chairman, Pete Sessions said, ``I told Republicans that they need to get over the idea that we are participating in legislation and ought to start thinking of themselves as an insurgency instead.'' He was quoted in the Politico, House GOP Bullish at Virginia Retreat, February 2, 2009, as saying that.

Furthermore, Senator Jim Inhofe on the Hugh Hewitt Show, 7/23/09, said, ``We can stall it. And that is going to be a huge gain for those of us who want to turn this thing over in the 2010 election.'' Senator Jim Inhofe, as I said, said that. And then Senator Jim DeMint said, also in July of '09, ``If we are able to stop Obama on this,'' referring to health care, ``it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.''

Very frankly, I tell my friend that I have discussed with him and with Mr. Blunt, my good friend, who was his predecessor, and with whom he worked in the whip organization, and asked him to participate with us. I did that early this year. I did it a little later in the year. Sometime before I met with you as well in trying to discuss was there a way forward to work in a bipartisan fashion? Unfortunately, that did not result in a bipartisan fashion.

I will tell my friend on a smaller, more defined matter, the Children's Health Insurance Program, I spent about a hundred hours trying to work with many on your side of the aisle to try to get--in the last Congress--to try to get bipartisan agreement on moving children's health insurance. And as I am sure you recall, because you weren't with us on that issue, we couldn't get bipartisan agreement.

So the answer to your question is I would like to have bipartisan discussions moving forward on this issue, but I have concluded from my experience over the last year, and not just these--I quote three, but there have been many other statements as well--that indicate that opposition for opposition's sake has been adopted at least by some on your side as a strategy and as a tactic.

I think the losers are not so much Democrats in that context. I think the losers are the American people. They expect us and want us to work together towards resolving the issues that confront them, one of which is health care. They know it is an issue. I read the results in Massachusetts. But I will tell you I have also read the polls which, when asked, not so much about a bill, but whether or not health care reform is needed in this country, a very significant majority of Americans respond they think it is.

They think that when they are denied coverage for preexisting conditions, that is a problem. They think when their child becomes 26 years of age, or now 23 years of age and out of college and doesn't have insurance, they think that is a problem. They think that when they have a very serious illness costing them thousands and thousands of dollars, that an insurance company telling them, sorry, you cost too much, we can no longer insure you, they think that is a problem. When they go deeply into debt for health care costs that aren't covered by their insurance company and have to declare bankruptcy and put their home at risk, they think that is a problem.

So, yes, I tell my friend that these are issues that we would like to work together on, and we hope that can happen.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman, and I take the gentleman's comments to heart that he wants to do what is right by his constituents and the people of this country. But the question we have before us, the question that the voters of Massachusetts had before them, just like the voters in Virginia and New Jersey, had a lot to do with the health care bill that this House deliberated upon and passed, and the health care bill that the Senate deliberated upon and passed.

And, Madam Speaker, I would say to the gentleman there is very little disagreement among the pollsters that have tested where the American people are on these health care bills. They are opposed to these health care bills. And you may insinuate that some of the comments that have been made by individuals in this body or the other on our side of the aisle were meant to obstruct.

But I can tell the gentleman, Madam Speaker, that the American people right now want this health care bill defeated. They want health care reform, but not in the way that has been constructed under either one of these bills. And if I recall, and I appreciate the gentleman's willingness to meet with me several months ago, and I don't want to take his comments as being dismissive of our proposal, because I handed him a summary, but I can tell the gentleman right here is the House Republican bill. And there are elements in this bill we can both agree upon. The plan is still before us. And if we take into consideration that, we have got a plan. The public doesn't like the gentleman's plan.

And fast forward to a discussion the gentleman and I had on the floor, I believe, Madam Speaker, that the gentleman told me it was not worth his while to engage in conversation with Republicans because we would not embrace the public option. I would tell the Speaker----

Mr. HOYER. Would the gentleman yield on that point?

Mr. CANTOR. I would tell the gentleman we still don't embrace the public option. We don't embrace it because it is a path to single payer. So I would ask the gentleman again, the Speaker earlier today said, quote, ``I don't think it is possible to pass the Senate bill in the House. I don't see the votes for it at this time.'' I would ask the gentleman, Madam Speaker, if that is an accurate statement that we can then count on.

Mr. HOYER. I don't know about counting on. I don't know what you mean by ``counting on.'' I think the Speaker's comments this morning, you asked me if it was an accurate statement. I think she believes that is an accurate statement in terms of where the votes are today. I responded, as I told the gentleman, there is substantial differences. We are discussing those differences, as we have been for some period of time.

Let me make another comment. The gentleman is very animated and very happy, as I would be in his position, about the results of Massachusetts, as we were very happy about the results in New York 23, where the health care bill was also at issue, as the gentleman knows, in a district that we hadn't won for 150 years just a couple months ago. And as the gentleman knows, we won that district in a district, as I said, unlike Massachusetts, that we had not won in 150 years.

But let me say something. Your candidate who did win supported the Massachusetts plan, which has great similarity to the plan that he now opposes. So it is somewhat ironic that we would take that as a bellwether, because he, as a member of the State senate, actually voted on a plan that, much like our plan, tried to reach the objective of covering all people. So he has already voted for a plan like that. He has indicated he is not going to vote for this plan. I understand that. But it is not like he hasn't got a record of wanting to achieve the objectives that the bills that are under discussion are trying to achieve.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

I would respond simply by saying most indicators are the voters of that Commonwealth voted for Mr. Brown because of his stances, and one of those stances was that he would vote against the Senate or the House health care bill as they were constructed. And I agree with the gentleman we need to do something about health care.

I would remind him that it is the CBO who has pointed out that our Republican plan is the plan that actually does reduce health care premiums. That is where we started this whole discussion, was to reduce health care costs for the American people, and continue to reform the system so we can maintain the quality we have.

And, Madam Speaker, I just say that it is time, I think, for this body to finally listen to the American people and what they are asking us to do, run this body in an open and transparent way, stop the back room deals, the Cornhusker Kickbacks, the Louisiana Purchases, and make it so that this is once again the people's body. And we can all then deliberate out in the open, agree where we can agree to produce the positive reforms that the people expect.

With that, Madam Speaker, I would ask the gentleman what his intentions are or what he thinks we can see in this House as far as an attempt to address the issue that the majority leader said was the number one issue on the minds of voters in Massachusetts, as well as the country, and that is the economy. Before we left for the winter break, we had a bill that came up that was dubbed a jobs bill. There was a lot of difficulty I know on his side in mustering the needed votes to get it passed. And I was wondering is there legislation he has in mind that would be offered to address the situation that Americans confront, which is double digit unemployment? And I yield.

Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for the question. In answer to his question, we passed a jobs bill through this House in December. It is pending in the Senate now. We believe that that would substantially move forward on creating jobs. It is not the answer, but it is one of the answers we think. It focuses, as the gentleman knows, on infrastructure, which we think is a very important initiative that gets people working immediately, jobs here in America. We think that is very important. It also tries to help States so they are not laying off teachers and policemen and firemen. We think that is very important as well.

But let me say something. I get a little confused, and perhaps these facts are not well known to you, but I thought I would remind you of these facts. We pursued an economic program that your party put forward from 2001, 2003 on for 8 years. Now, while the people gave us the majority in the House and the Senate in 2006, obviously President Bush threatened to or did in fact veto any changes that we made in economic policy.

That economic policy, which you were a very strong supporter of and your party was a very strong supporter of, you continue to mention jobs; so I want to make sure you know these statistics.

In the last 3 months of the Bush administration under the economic policies that not only did you pursue then but you still want to pursue, because, in fact, the proposals that you have made essentially mirror the proposals that were made in 2001 and 2003, those proposals were touted by you and others--I'm not going to go through all these quotes--as going to grow the economy, create jobs, and have a robust growth in our economy. In November and December and January, that policy which you pursued lost 2,019,000 jobs in 3 months, and we confronted the worst recession, the ``great recession,'' if you will, worse than at any time in three quarters of a century. And it somewhat confounds me that you still--your party, not necessarily you personally--presents an economic policy which was the poorest job-creating administration, 8 years, since Herbert Hoover, an average of approximately 4,000 jobs per month. You needed 100,000 just to stay even.

Now, I would tell the gentleman, since the Recovery Act, which you nor your party voted for, since the Recovery Act, let me tell you what the last quarter was. Perhaps you know. We still have not succeeded in growing jobs, so we haven't had success, but we've had great progress. Let me tell you how much progress. Remember I told you that you lost, in the last 3 months under your economic program, 2.019 million jobs. The last quarter we lost 208,000 jobs, a quarter, 3 months. That's way too many jobs. We want to be creating, as the Clinton administration did, on average 220,000-plus jobs per month; 22 million in total over 8 years.

So I tell my friend that when the gentleman says we haven't had progress on this, those figures, in my view, belie that assertion. In fact, we made progress. Not only that, the stock market is up 60 percent. It's had a couple of bad days. It's up 60 percent since we adopted the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It had a minus growth under your economic policies during the 8 years of the Bush administration, minus to the extent it decreased in value so that the investment I had in 2001 was about 26 percent less valuable in December of 2008. Contrast that to the Clinton administration in its 8 years. The value of your stock portfolio or investments went up 226 percent. That's a 250 percent difference.

So I tell my friend that we have taken very substantial action. We're going to take more action because until we get Americans back on the job, until we get America growing so that it creates the kind of jobs our people need and must have to support themselves and their family, we're not going to be satisfied.

So, yes, we passed a bill last month which you and your party voted against. We think that's unfortunate. If you have ideas, I would love to sit down with you again and discuss your ideas. Very frankly, however, some of the ideas we've discussed to date are some of the same ideas that, in my opinion, led to not such a robust job-creating economy; in fact, as I said, the worst economy we've seen in 75 years.

I yield back.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman, Madam Speaker.

First of all, I know that it is tempting for the gentleman to delve into the past, comparing the Bush policies to the Clinton policies, but I know the gentleman realizes we are in the year 2010. We have new challenges before us. And I would say that the piece of information left out by the gentleman is the fact that it was his party that controlled Congress during some of the period in which he cites the job losses. In fact, there have been 3.6 million jobs lost just since January of 2009.

I would then say to the gentleman, as far as the stimulus bill that you speak of----

Mr. HOYER. Will the gentleman yield just on your assertion that we were in control?

Mr. CANTOR. I will yield at the end of my statement.

My point is that the stimulus bill that passed almost 1 year ago, there is growing consensus here that it was not sufficiently targeted toward job growth. In fact, even the portion of infrastructure spending that the gentleman and his party and this White House decided upon, the design of that spending, the Associated Press has come out with a study indicating it did not grow employment at the local level in the communities which we represent.

So if we understand and know that that is not the way to grow jobs, that is, the design of the stimulus bill, why would we vote for Stimulus II? In fact, I would remind the gentleman, as I know he remembers, the bipartisanship around the Stimulus II vote in December was against the bill, as well over 30 Members on his side of the aisle voted against the bill because, again, I believe it is trying to get it right this time.

And so instead of the gentleman's continuing to refer to years ago, I would remind him that we have presented to him as well as to the President a Republican no-cost jobs plan. The gentleman has dismissed that document and that plan saying there is nothing for free, that we shouldn't be talking about things that we could do together that don't cost anything.

I would say to the gentleman, the President himself has said that within the passage of three trade bills sitting in this body, we could see the creation of 250,000 jobs. We have had discussion on this floor about whether those trade bills are coming forward; 250,000 jobs at no cost. It seems to me we really should go about doing that as well as the other items that we listed in our no-cost jobs plan that the House Republicans have put forward.

And I yield to the gentleman.

Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman.

First, let me observe that the gentleman--I don't blame you at all for not wanting to look back at history. I wouldn't want to stand on that record either, but it's important to look at history so that we don't repeat the same mistakes.

The assertions that were made for the policies that you pursued of great growth and economic expansion--which did not occur. That's why I point it out, because, frankly, your proposals mirror those that have been made in the past, and the premises that you have pursued are the same that you are pursuing now.

It is instructive, I think, for the American people and for us who represent them to look at what worked and what didn't work. Your party unanimously opposed the Clinton economic policies. Mr. Armey, an economist who was your majority leader, said that they would fail miserably. In fact, they succeeded mightily. They created those 22 million jobs that I said. In fact, in the last year when there was a slowdown, they created 1.8 million jobs as opposed to losing 3.8 million jobs under the last year of the Bush administration. I think it is instructive to see what worked and what didn't.

So that is why I refer to it, not because I think that will solve our problems going forward. I agree with the gentleman. What is important is: What are we going to do now? But we would be fools, as the writer said, to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result.

So I say to my friend, when he asserts that we were in charge in 2007 and 2008, he and I both know that economic policy was not changed. Why? Because the President of the United States, who had the veto pen and the votes to sustain a veto, even when we tried to give 4 million children health insurance in America, that veto was sustained. They were not given that insurance until President Obama signed the bill, which was one of our first bills.

So I say to my friend, looking back is useful only to the extent that you ensure that you do not repeat the mistakes of the past. The Clinton economic program worked and the Bush program did not.

I want to tell my friend on his points for recovery, this so-called free recovery, supply-side recovery, if you will, one of the first things you want to do is stop the deluge of rules and regulations. Very frankly, I tell my friend one of the reasons we faced such a crisis was the last administration took the referee off the field. As a result of the referee's being off the field, the players on the field went wild and did irresponsible things and, unfortunately, the taxpayers of this country, in order to prevent a great depression as opposed to a great recession, had to respond. The good news, hopefully, is that we are going to get paid back. The President has made efforts to make sure that happens. I hope, and you hope, I'm sure, that we do get paid back.

You want to block tax increases and cutting taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, as I'm sure you know, in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. You want to freeze investment in items like job training, infrastructure, and education to rein in deficits and debt. You want to freeze investments in giving people new skills so they can get the jobs that are being created. We don't think that's good policy. Your program says you want to reform the unemployment system by requiring people to participate in job training. We agree with that, but you have to make sure that the job training is available to them.

Approving the free trade agreements, as the gentleman knows, I am a supporter of the free trade agreements. I don't think it would create those 250,000 jobs tomorrow or the next month or the month after, but I agree with the gentleman that that's a good policy. It's controversial policy, I say to my friend, as he well knows, on both sides of the aisle.

You want to reduce tax barriers that inhibit domestic job creation. The Recovery Act, as you know, had tax cuts for small businesses to do exactly that. Your side didn't support that.

You say address the housing crisis by giving regulators incentives to deal responsibly with banks and their borrowers; however, as I pointed out earlier, in fact, and history shows that, regulation and oversight and the referee's being on the field was a policy that the previous administration thought got in the way. Well, I think that referees that get in the way of the game are not useful, but referees that make sure that people play by the rules are essential.

I yield back.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

I would simply respond that the Republican no-cost jobs plan is a plan that was fashioned around the principle that we've got to remove the uncertainty gripping the small businesses and job creators in this country. So contrary to the suggestion that the gentleman made about the fact that we just want to get rid of regulation, what the plan actually said, Madam Speaker, was to halt any proposed regulation expected to have an economic cost or result in job loss or have a disparate impact on small business.

In the same way, we call for lowering the deficit now without raising taxes because, as we all know, people don't know where Washington's next move is going. And so we say let's just freeze domestic discretionary spending at last year's level. My goodness, every small business owner, every family in this country is having to go through that exercise and, frankly, is having to cut, not just freeze.

In the same way, the suggestion that perhaps Republicans wouldn't support transparency and an even playing field and regulations that will control the amount of leverage on Wall Street, that's silly. Of course we support efforts like that. But what we do know is this administration, and, frankly, the majority in Congress, has been very slow at getting the message out to auditors and regulators in the field that they should be reflecting the sentiments that the Secretary of the Treasury and the Chairman of the Federal Reserve have said, which is, we need to return back to some sense of normalcy in the assessment of risk, because we all know this country has been built on entrepreneurialism, on opportunity. It is not that we have seen our prosperity come from this government. That's where, really, Madam Speaker, the differences lie because we don't believe that the way back to economic revival is through more Keynesian economic policy.

The gentleman can go ahead and suggest that the Bush policies failed. Obviously, I disagree. He would probably defend the Carter policies. I would certainly disagree with that and would say that they were an utter failure. He would probably say that the policies of Ronald Reagan were a failure. I would say we disagree on that.

At the end of the day, what's really the problem here is this government, under the majority's rule and the President's, has continued to expand. We haven't put an end to the bailout culture. Every time we expect to see the TARP program end, there is another use that has come up for that money, which is an emergency program. Every time we expect to say to business owners and their working families, let's stop sending signals that we're going to impose costs on you.

So, if it's a cap-and-trade bill, if it's a card check bill, or if it's a tax increase, why can't we just say, ``stop''? Let the American people regain their sense of economic security and let the ingenuity in the private sector take hold again.

I yield.

Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I've heard that rhetoric for 24 years here, and I've certainly heard it for the last 8 years. The gentleman likes to put words in my mouth about previous administrations of what I might say or did say.

We're talking about policies that you want to replicate which have been pursued. That was my point. It remains my point. I think it's a valid point.

Did your policies work? You can argue all you want and say the Bush administration policies worked. You have not in any way said that the figures I have said on this floor, and not only today, but you've had many opportunities to look to see whether I'm accurate on those figures, are wrong. In point of fact, they did not produce what you said they were going to produce. We need to adopt policies that do produce.

The reason I compared the Clinton administration and the Bush administration is that, under the Clinton administration, you said the policies wouldn't work. I don't mean you personally. Your party said the policies wouldn't work. In fact, it's the only administration--not the Reagan administration, not the first Bush administration, certainly not the second Bush administration--that produced surpluses. After 8 years, they had a net surplus. No administration in your lifetime has had a net surplus after 8 years other than the Clinton administration under the economic policies we pursued then. not one. So from that perspective, it's not a question of failure.

I will tell you here--and again, these statistics you don't like. You'd prefer that I simply look at the problems that we're confronting now. Why are we confronting these problems? Because your economic program did not work and plunged us into the deepest recession we've had in 75 years. Now, I raise my voice only because you simply ignore that. You say that's just carping. You say, Oh, we don't want to look at what happened. We don't want to look at what our policies produced for 8 years. We want to look into the future. We do, too. What we want to do and what we have been doing, as I pointed out to you, is trying to bring this economy out of the ditch in which we found it, in which the American people feel very stressed, properly so.

So we've got to get them back the jobs. The first thing we had to do was to stop losing so many jobs. Again, I would point out, in the last 3 months of the Bush administration, we lost 2 million jobs. In the last quarter, in the last 3 months, we've lost 200,000. It's way too many, but it's one-tenth of what your policies produced or did not produce in the last 3 months of the Bush administration.

So what? you say.

Let's not repeat those mistakes. Let's invest in our future, which is what we did in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Mark Zandi says that we saved over 1 million jobs--1.6 million, I believe is what Mark Zandi says--which we would have lost had we not passed that bill. So did it work perfectly? It worked better than the policies we were pursuing, frankly, that we inherited. That was my point. I think it is a valid point. If the gentleman disagrees with my figures, I'd be glad to be corrected. I think they're accurate.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. HOYER. Oh, let me say one additional thing because you talked about certainty.

Mr. CANTOR. I didn't yield, Madam Speaker.

Mr. HOYER. Well, you took back the time. I really didn't yield back, but if you don't want me to continue, I won't.

Mr. CANTOR. I yield.

Mr. HOYER. Thank you. I just wanted to say something about certainty.

I agree with you. We need certainty. We tried to give certainty in the estate tax. Your side voted against that. We tried to give certainty in tax extenders. We tried to extend the tax extenders, and your side didn't vote for that. I don't think you did either, but I agree with your premise and wanted to make that clear. That's one of the reasons we tried to pass making sure that doctors treating Medicare patients knew what they would be getting years out so that Medicare would have the stability that it needs.

I yield back.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman, Madam Speaker.

I would say again, somehow, in the gentleman's memory of these past years, there is something that has been left out, which is this body and Congress, because, during the Clinton years, the Clinton years that saw prosperity, there was a Republican-controlled Congress. The Republican-controlled Congress yielded tax policies that we believe could once again get us back on track.

In the same way, referring to all the job losses that the gentleman continues to recite and point fingers at and blame the prior administration for, if we're going to play that game, I would say since his party has taken control of this body, we've lost in this country 6.1 million jobs. As he says, none of the job losses are acceptable.

I would say to the gentleman that there are many ways to look at these figures and who was responsible for what and who could claim credit for such, but at the end of the day, what we are facing right now is a situation where the American people and the small businesses and the working families of this country need to regain some confidence.

So I would ask the gentleman directly: If we're about removing uncertainty, is he willing to say to the small business owners out there and to the people of this country, no card check bill this session, no cap-and-trade this session, no death tax this session, and no hiking taxes in the time of unemployment that we are in? Those are the things from which we could send a message to the entrepreneurs and small businesses to lift this veil of uncertainty.

I yield.

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Cantor, this is a scheduling colloquy. It has gone on for a long time, and it is a very political colloquy, more political than I was involved in with Mr. DeLay, I think. That's good rhetoric. None of those are scheduled. The gentleman knows none of them are scheduled.

The gentleman doesn't like the figures, and he harks back to the, you know, we were in charge in 2007 and 2008. He knows well what we are not talking about is blame; we are talking about what policies were in force. The gentleman says we changed the economic policies in 2007 and 2008. I'm glad to hear what policies we were able to change and that President Bush signed on to. That's the issue. The gentleman wants to avoid that issue. The question is not blame; the question is what policies worked and which policies did not.

I suggest to the gentleman that of all of the issues to which you referred in your question about the so-called ``death tax,'' the estate tax, which affects approximately half of a percent of the American estates, as the gentleman knows, and which we wanted to, frankly, increase by $2.5 million permanently from what it will be under your policies of 1 million and 55 percent January 11--it's now at zero, as you know. That was not intended to be the permanent policy, and you simply said you'd revert under the bill that you passed, not you personally. So we want to make that certainty.

So the answer is, yes, we want to make that certain. We think that $3.5 million per person is a reasonable amount and will cover all but one-tenth of 1 percent of the estates in America or thereabouts.

The other items to which you refer, which animate your party and some in my party as well, are not scheduled, as the gentleman knows. I'm not going to make assertions on what we will or will not schedule at this point in time, but I can tell you we don't have them scheduled.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman. I thank him for his indulgence in this lengthy colloquy.

If the scheduling piece of this colloquy has now yielded, the fact that there is an uncertainty as to whether we'll see card check or whether we'll see cap-and-trade or whether we're going to see tax hikes, then that's the message, I think, that is going to be delivered to the small businesses that we are going to count on to create jobs.

In closing, Madam Speaker, I would note that, from Virginia to New Jersey to Massachusetts, the people of those States, and I believe the people of America, have spoken. What the people want is a Congress that will work in a bipartisan fashion to get the American people back to work. Republicans, on our part, will continue to offer solutions just as we have done for the last year, and we hope that----

Mr. HOYER. Will the gentleman yield on that issue?

Mr. CANTOR. I yield.

Mr. HOYER. Does the gentleman believe that America spoke in November of 2008? Not just a State, not just Virginia, not just New Jersey, not just Massachusetts. Does the gentleman believe that America spoke in 2008 in voting overwhelmingly for the policies that this President put before to respond to the crisis that confronted our country? Frankly, none of us even at that point in time perceived how deep the crisis was.

We understand about votes. All of America voted handily for this President, who has put policies before this Congress to try to address the issues of bringing our economy back, giving Americans health care they could count on, making sure that we were energy independent.

You know, you talk about votes. This President was elected just approximately a little over a year ago to carry out the policies that he has been presenting, and notwithstanding that election, as I recall, your party has not supported his policies at all.

Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman for that.

I would say, Madam Speaker, in closing, yes, America voted in 2008 for Barack Obama to become President of the United States. It was this November that the people had the opportunity in the two States with the gubernatorial election and then just this week the people of Massachusetts had an opportunity to vote for their Senator based on the policies that have come out of this new administration and the majority in Congress.

It is those policies that were voted on this time, and it is those policies that I believe do not reflect the mainstream of America and where the Republicans stand, ready to work with the gentleman and his party in trying to bring the debate and these policy solutions back towards where most Americans feel we ought to be heading in terms of direction for this country.

I do thank the gentleman.


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