The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) for 5 minutes.
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to ask how we can break the national 10 percent unemployment barrier which has now hit my home State of Florida hard with a totally unacceptable 11.8 percent unemployment rate. The congressional leadership has created a cloud of uncertainty over the economy, with support for more oppressive regulations, skyrocketing deficits, tax increases, and trade barriers. The administration's spending policies, including the nearly $1 trillion stimulus bill, have drastically increased the national debt by 23 percent, while unemployment has increased by more than 3 million. And today the CBO announced that the U.S. deficit for the current fiscal year will come in at $1.3 trillion, which means that in the 1 year in which the party controlling the White House and Congress has been entrenched, the annual deficit has increased by over 300 percent.
We need to do everything we can to encourage entrepreneurs and small businesses to once again create jobs through sensible regulation, through reduced government spending, lower taxes and greater investment in education.
I am looking forward to the President's State of the Union message to see what course he has set for this year and will look forward to working with Members in a bipartisan manner to help bring our economy to full employment as soon as possible.
NATIONAL SCHOOL COUNSELING WEEK
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Later on, Mr. Speaker, we will be discussing an important resolution which designates the week of February 1 as National School Counseling Week on behalf of each and every child that these counselors have helped. As a mother, as a grandmother, and as a former Florida certified teacher, I recognize just how important it is to fully support our children at every turn. School counselors across the Nation share the same commendable goal to meet the needs of every child. They work each and every day to offer our children their expert guidance and compassionate care. Whether at home or in school, every child will face new and sometimes difficult situations as they develop into young adults. Through a strong family, many children are able to navigate potentially difficult situations, emotions and decisions from a positive base. But even with the most cohesive and supportive of families, there are times when a growing child needs outside counsel.
Our school counselors can offer children this vital resource: trusted and impartial guides in times of uncertainty as well as thoughtful friends for uncomfortable questions. And they willingly work with all children, regardless of their background or history, and are often the last lifeline for our troubled children.
We all recognize that children go through tremendous social, personal
and emotional development, all while being tasked with achieving academic success. Ensuring that our children are prepared to be tomorrow's adults requires that each of these components come together seamlessly. Our children are being forced to grow up faster than any generation before them. Today's children live in an interconnected world that is vastly different from the one that our parents, or even we, knew. In this sea of rapid and radical change, it is reassuring to know that our school counselors will be there to support those children that need it most. They offer each child an indispensable link between the classroom and the real world. School counselors are without a doubt a vital link in our children's emotional and academic educations.
Always willing to lend their sympathetic ear and advice, school counselors are never far at hand when a child needs to express his or her fears, hopes and aspirations. School counselors are helping our children to develop into wonderful young adults each and every day. We should all welcome the opportunity to say congratulations to these unsung protectors of our children.
Mr. Speaker, I encourage all of my colleagues later on today as we take up this bill to honor school counselors across the United States to vote in favor of this resolution, for it is a fine tribute to people whose life's mission is to turn today's children into tomorrow's leaders.
Thank you very much for the time, Mr. Speaker.