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Public Statements

Economic Recovery

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Economic Recovery

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Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Ohio for his leadership in bringing us together to make sure that we can discuss the importance of creating jobs. As we discuss jobs, I think it is important that we put our job efforts in perspective, because a little over a year ago when this administration came into office, we were losing jobs at the rate of over 700,000 per month, every month; 700,000 jobs a month. And we reacted to it by passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and we have slowly made progress, losing fewer and fewer jobs every month. But that is obviously not sufficient. We have to do better than that. But we have to put this in perspective. We were losing all of those jobs, and we found ourselves not only in the ditch with the economy, but also in the ditch with the Federal budget. We had a huge deficit which limited our ability to respond to this challenge.

We are also shooting at a moving target. Just this week, the Virginia Legislature, my home State of Virginia, will pass a budget that will cut approximately $4 billion out of the budget. Virginia is about 2 percent of the population, $4 billion. California is cutting $20 billion out of their budget, a little over 10 percent of the population. If you extrapolate that nationally, that is about $200 billion that the States will be cutting out of their budgets this year on top of about $300 billion to $350 billion that they cut last year. So that is $500 billion that would have been cut out of budgets in the last 2 years. So the first $500 billion of job creation that we do will do nothing but just hire the people who have been laid off on the State level.

So as much we are doing on the Federal level, it is obvious that we are shooting at a moving target. States are laying off people as fast as they can, and our job is to make sure that we try to create jobs.

Part of the Federal investment will help States retain some of their critical employees, particularly the public safety first responders and teachers. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made significant reinvestments in funding States and helping with their health care and other critical needs so that they would not have to lay off as many as they were doing.

But obviously some of the major investments I think that are doing the most good are those that were made in infrastructure and transportation. We still have a 10 percent unemployment rate, so obviously a lot has to be done. And it's those investments in infrastructure and transportation that can be the most effective in creating jobs.

When responding to a recession, we use the shorthand of three Ts: We want the response to be timely, targeted, and temporary. Timely because sooner or later the recession is going to be over even if we don't do anything, so we want to make sure we take timely action. Targeted--you want to put the money where it's most needed, people that are out of work and people that will actually spend the money to help stimulate the economy. So it has to be targeted. And it is temporary. When we recover from the recession, we don't want to be stuck with ongoing programs and expenses that we will have to continue to fund.

Transportation and infrastructure projects fulfill the three Ts for a successful stimulus plan; they are timely, targeted and temporary. They're timely. We are aiming at programs that are shovel ready, ready to go, no environmental needed, nothing else needed, no architectural anything, ready to go. We are targeted at industries that are most in need. The construction industry in many States has unemployment rates of 25 percent or more. And it's temporary. When you fund a project, when the project is completed, you stop spending the money. When you finish building the school, you don't have to spend any more money. It's not like you would set up a program where you would have to continue paying salaries on and on and on.

The Recovery Act, for example, put money into transit systems. Throughout the Nation, transit systems are cutting back on employment. St. Louis, for example, eliminated 25 percent of its workforce and cut services by 17 percent. Chicago laid off 1,000 workers. And so investments in the transit systems are areas where we can make timely and targeted investments.

Across the Nation these are necessary projects. Across the Nation, 78 metropolitan areas have identified over $240 billion in needed transit investments that need to be done. These jobs not only put people back to work, they complete needed projects. Now, these investments are also very effective in creating jobs. For every $1 billion the Federal Government puts in infrastructure the economic activity is about $6 billion and about 35,000 jobs are created.

Now, we need these projects, and we found that a lot of them are ready to go now. The Public Transportation Association identified $15 billion worth of projects that are ready to go. As soon as we fund them they are ready to go. Highway associations across the country identified 7,000 ready-to-go highway projects and bridge projects, almost $50 billion ready to go. As soon as we come up with the money, they can go. And so not only are these projects needed, they can be timely and they can put people to work. We have found that when we fund a construction project, when it's ready to go, the contractors can hire the employees within a couple of weeks, and they're on the job right then. So we have timely projects that are ready to go. We have put money into it. Two-thirds of the projects that have been funded, the construction has already started.

We have more work to do. We still have a 10 percent unemployment rate because the States are still laying people off, so we still have to keep creating jobs. I am happy to report that today the gentleman from California (Mr. Miller), the chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, has introduced a bill with significant new investments in infrastructure and transportation. These will make sure that we will have these workers on the job in very short order.

The Miller jobs bill will create jobs quickly and efficiently. As States continue to lay people off, we need to make sure that we are creating as many jobs as we possibly can on the Federal level. We should give the Miller jobs bill quick consideration so that jobs can be created when they are needed, and that's right now.

So I thank you. I would like to thank the gentleman from Ohio for bringing us together, for talking about jobs and encouraging us to continue doing what we need to do to create jobs and end the unemployment problems that we're having today.

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