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Providing for Further Consideration of H.R. 5297, Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. YARMUTH. I thank my friend from Colorado for yielding.

I remember back in the movie, ``The American President,'' there's one scene where Michael Douglas' character is being criticized by one of his staff members, and he says, Is the view pretty good from the cheap seats?

I have to sit here and say, my colleagues, the view is pretty good from the cheap seats. Because if you think back upon what we inherited, those of us who are now trying to pull that car out of the ditch, which is also the economy, and try to improve things for the American people, how deep in that ditch it was. And we're talking about 700,000 jobs lost per month. We're talking about an inherited projected deficit of $10 trillion. That's what the Obama administration and this Congress has been trying to repair.

Now, what has been the response from our colleagues on the other side? It has been solely, Well, this isn't a good idea; this isn't a good idea; this isn't a good idea. We're spending too much money. Blah, blah, blah. Let's cut taxes. Well, we tried that. Been there, done that, and that's what brought us to the ditch.

Now what have we done in this Congress? What have we done to take that car out of the ditch and get it back on the road? We have taken, by every measure possible. We passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. We put $300 billion back in the hands of the American taxpayers. That's something that our colleagues on the other side neglect to mention, that that money--most of that money, or 40 percent of the so-called stimulus package, went back to the American taxpayers to spend.

I have the privilege of cochairing the Congressional Task Force on American Competitiveness. Two days ago, we had a forum here. We have had people from companies as large as General Electric and Ford to very small startups. Without an exception, every one of those businesspeople said that we would be in such worse shape were it not for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. You can imagine all of the progress or much of the progress they had made in sustaining or growing their businesses was attributable to support given through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and that the government has to continue to play a role.

One reason they said was very interesting. In the global economy, we are not necessarily competing in a free market atmosphere. We're competing with a lot of State-supported industry. So, for instance, when General Electric, which is bringing back 400 jobs from China to my district to build an energy-efficient hybrid water heater, they did it because support through the Recovery Act enabled them to make that difference that they were trying to balance--the economics--because of a State-supported system in China. The support they got through the Recovery and Reinvestment Act made up that difference and now they are bringing 400 jobs back.

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Mr. YARMUTH. They are bringing back 400 jobs. They are planning to bring back more jobs, again, because of the government's help. Now, as I said at the outset, there are two ways to approach this decline. We can say the government has no role. We can say all the government should do is get out of the way and the private forces will recover the economy. As I said, been there, done that. It hasn't worked.

The steps that we have taken, the steps that we propose to take in this Small Business Act, the subject of this rule, are steps that we believe are worth trying, that will be an affirmative effort to grow jobs in the small business segment of the economy to make capital available, to provide tax incentives--yes, to my friends on the other side, tax incentives--to motivate small business operators to grow their businesses, to start new businesses. These are the steps that this Congress and this administration are taking to grow the economy. It is better than sitting in the cheap seats and saying we want to go back to the agenda that put us in the ditch.

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Mr. YARMUTH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Colorado.

I know the American people who are watching this must have their heads spinning because all we have heard for a year and a half now from our colleagues on the other side was TARP was a disastrous program; TARP is a disastrous program. They are running ads against us in our districts about how horrible TARP was: so and so voted for TARP. And yet here we have someone who is advocating that we take money from TARP and give it to small businesses. I actually think that is a good idea. I am for that.

But I want to clarify something because he is misstating the impact of the underlying bill. This bill does not add anything to the deficit. This bill is paid for, and the $30 billion in loan facilities that we are actually making available to small banks throughout the country actually generates a surplus for the Treasury. That is a profit maker for the Treasury. There is no cost unless the money is actually borrowed. And if it is borrowed and paid back with interest, then the taxpayers actually benefit.

So it is one to thing to talk about deficits and argue about who is responsible and so forth, but to actually misstate the actual facts about the underlying bill here is a little bit disingenuous.

I would like to make one more comment. My friend from North Carolina mentioned earlier, you keep blaming the former President. No, we actually keep blaming the former 12 years of Republican control of the Congress because that is the period of time in which the really disastrous policies for the economy were implemented and were approved: the two tax cuts that mostly went to wealthiest Americans; the $7 trillion projected debt because of the unfunded prescription drug plan; and, of course, the war funding.

I know that the President, President Bush, dealt for 2 years with a Democratic Congress. We did have control of the Congress, but we sure didn't have a veto-proof Congress. And every time we wanted to implement a policy or change the President's budget, he threatened a veto. So, yes, we did have control of the Congress, but we didn't have control of the Nation's economy. But for 12 years, the Republican Congress did. For 6 years of that, they had control of all three branches of government. That is when the true damage was done.

We have an important piece of legislation that will help small businesses create jobs.

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