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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 1722, Telework Improvements Act of 2010

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. FOXX. I thank my colleague from Massachusetts for yielding time, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, as has become routine in this Congress, it's my sad duty to come before you yet again today to speak in opposition to spending this House's valuable time to consider a bill that would do absolutely nothing to respond to the very real concerns facing Americans every day.

Here we are with a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, the largest deficit in our history, and the national debt at almost $14 trillion. The response of the liberal Democratic leadership? A bill making it easier for Federal employees to stay at home to work and creating more government union jobs.

Here we are with a financial crisis of global proportions resulting from an unprecedented expansion of government. The response of liberal Democratic leadership? A resolution recognizing National Train Day.

Here we are with a torrent of oil gushing into the gulf day after day, depriving untold numbers of people of their livelihoods. The liberal Democratic response? A resolution supporting the goals and ideals of RV Centennial Celebration Month to recognize and honor a hundred years of the enjoyment of recreational vehicles in the United States.

In fact, this Congress so far has considered no fewer than 73 bills naming post offices, 36 measures recognizing sporting events and achievements, and 145 designations or recognitions for various days, weeks, months, or years.

Despite these very real problems, the liberal Democrats ruling Congress are running around the country trying to convince the American people that everything is just fine and they don't need to worry because the Democrats are solving their problems. While government employees and their union handlers might be satisfied with the liberal Democrat jobs agenda, try asking the small business men forced to close their doors or the 7 million private business employees who've lost their jobs since the liberal Democrats took control of Congress in 2007 and want to get back to work. This is the wrong bill at the wrong time.

And with that, Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. FOXX. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

As I have said before on the floor here to my colleagues who want to rewrite history, they can't blame everything on President Bush. They can't continue to do that. And they want to give President Clinton all the credit.

But, of course, the Congress was controlled by the Republicans for 6 of the 8 years that President Clinton was in office. It's the Congress that controls the spending. Our Democratic colleagues know that. They simply choose to ignore it when it suits their arguments.

Let me quote from the Wall Street Journal article of the 13th of July. It's very recent, so my colleagues may not have seen it.

The Bush tax cuts and the deficit mess--and I won't read the entire article; but, Madam Speaker, I insert the entire article into the Record.

Let me read again a little bit from it: In short, it's all President Bush's fault. But Mr. Obama's assertion fails on three grounds.

First, the wars, tax cuts and the prescription drug program were implemented in the early 2000s, yet by 2007 the deficit stood at only $161 billion.

When our colleagues across the aisle took over the Congress, the deficit stood at $161 billion. I go back to quote: How could these stable policies have suddenly caused trillion-dollar deficits beginning in 2009? Obviously, what happened was collapsing revenues from the recession along with stimulus spending.

Second, the President's $8 trillion figure minimizes the problem. Recent CBO data indicate a 10-year baseline deficit closer to $13 trillion if Washington maintains today's tax-and-spend policies, whereby discretionary spending grows with the economy, war spending winds down, ObamaCare is implemented, and Congress extends all the Bush tax cuts, the alternative minimum tax patch and the Medicare doc fix, i.e., no reimbursement cuts.

Under this realistic baseline, the 10-year cost of extending the Bush tax cuts, $3.2 trillion, the Medicare drug entitlement and Iraq and Afghanistan spending add up to $4.7 trillion. That's approximately one-third of the $13 trillion in baseline deficits, far from the majority the President claims.

Third and most importantly, the White House methodology is arbitrary. With Washington set to tax $33 trillion and spend $46 trillion over the next decade, how does one determine which policies ``caused'' the $13 trillion deficit? Mr. Obama could have just as easily singled out Social Security, $9.2 trillion over 10 years; anti-poverty programs, $7 trillion; other Medicare spending, $5.4 trillion; net interest on the debt, $6.1 trillion; and the article goes on and on with nondefense discretionary spending.

Madam Speaker, I have a chart here which we have put together which I think does a very good job of showing deficit spending as a percent of GDP. That's what really is the way we should look at this; and let me point out that in 1992 under Democrat control the deficit as a percent of GDP is this line; 1993, this line; 1994. Republicans then take over the Congress in 1995, and look how the deficit goes down, significantly goes down. It does go up some in 2002 under a Republican Congress and Republican President but we go into war in 2003, 2004, and then what happens when the Democrats take back over? It shoots back up. The red lines are the projected deficits as percent of GDP.

Madam Speaker, this argument just won't hold. Our friends very selectively come up with numbers, and we're going to point out the facts each time that they try to make up facts.

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Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I just want to quickly respond to two things that my colleague from Massachusetts said.

He talks about the fact that the Federal Government is paying for wars. Well, let me say that the Constitution of the United States says, ``We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,'' et cetera. It is the role of the Federal Government to protect us in this country. It is the only entity in our country who can do that. It is our role.

The other comment he makes is ``tax cuts for the rich.'' My colleague, just like almost all my colleagues across the aisle, have an assumption that all the money that is generated in this country belongs to the government and that if there is a tax cut provided, that that is a gift from the government to the people getting the tax cut.

No, Madam Speaker, that is not right. The government is not in control in this country. The people are in control. And for them to have that assumption is the biggest part of the problem that we have here right now.

Madam Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the distinguished ranking member of the Rules Committee (Mr. Dreier).

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Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I can assure my colleague across the aisle that I wasn't one of those people who went home to take credit for the Stimulus Act. So he needs to take that issue up with those who have done it and not paint us all with the same brush.

Madam Speaker, the underlying bill proposes spending $30 million creating a variety of initiatives promoting telework opportunities to allow Federal employees to work at home. This bill would require each Federal agency to create a teleworking managing officer. But there are many people who wonder if creating this kind of a situation is going to improve efficiency among Federal employees, and it may even reduce the productivity of the Federal Government.

While the 3 million Americans who have lost their jobs since President Obama took office are asking, Where are the jobs we were promised, the Congress is pushing this initiative to make it easier for Federal employees who already have it much better than the rest of the country to avoid coming to work. So why is this bill so popular with the ruling liberal Democrats? Perhaps it has something to do with their longstanding subservience to labor unions.

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that a majority of American union members now work for the government. That's 52 percent of all union members now work for the Federal, State, or local government, representing a sharp increase from the 49 percent in 2008. A full 37.4 percent of government employees belonged to the unions in 2009, up six-tenths of a percent from 2008. This shift toward representing government employees has changed the union movement's priorities, as unions now campaign for higher taxes on Americans to fund more government spending.

These changes in union membership are certainly not surprising, as unionized companies do poorly in the marketplace and lose jobs relative to their nonunion competitors. Government employees, however, face no competition, as the government never goes out of business. The recession has left union bosses looking for new membership targets--and where better to look than in the government, which they see as having the deepest of all pockets and a host of sympathetic liberal Democratic politicians eager to please their political base. In fact, as reported by USA Today, overall, Federal workers earned an average salary of $67,691 in 2008 for occupations that exist both in government and the private sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The average pay for the same mix of jobs in the private sector was $60,000. These salary figures don't include the value of health, pension, and other benefits, which average $40,785 per Federal employee in 2008 versus $9,882 per private worker, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. So the average Federal employee's benefits are worth four times what the average benefits are worth in the private sector.

A March 26, 2010, Wall Street Journal editorial entitled ``The Government Pay Boom'' reveals that ``the real windfall for government workers is in benefits.'' And it goes on to talk about how these benefits are growing, growing, growing. We know that the number of Federal employees making over $100,000 has increased by almost 5 percent since 2007, since the Democrats took over in Congress. Currently, there are more people in the Federal Government making in excess of $100,000 than those making $40,000.

Since the recession began in 2007, public worker pay has risen 7.8 percent, while private-sector wages remain stagnant. The 2010 pay increase for Federal civilian employees was 2 percent. In 2009, the average Federal employee received a pay raise of 3.9 percent, and an average pay increase of 3.5 percent in 2008. In 2007, the Department of Transportation had only one employee making over $170,000. At the end of last year, it had 1,690 employees making that amount.

Madam Speaker, we are growing the Federal Government while we have a 9.7 percent unemployment rate in the private sector. This is unacceptable to the American people. That's why we should vote ``no'' on this rule and ``no'' on this bill, because we are not heeding what the American people want us to do.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I will invite my colleague from Massachusetts, when he speaks again, to give us the citation for the study that he's talking about that shows that this bill will save tens of millions of dollars. I have done a little research on it myself, and I will be talking about that study. But I would invite him to prove to the American people that this will save money.

And I want to point out to him that he's poking fun at Republicans on recommending that we save money on signs, but what he was really doing is poking fun at the American people. It wasn't the Republicans on this side of the aisle who came up with this. It's the American people who voted on this, and the American people understand the biblical admonition, If you are a good steward of small things, you will be a good steward of big things. We should start where we can save money. And I agree with the people. This is a good place to start.

With that, I yield 3 minutes to my colleague from Illinois (Mr. Schock).

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Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, I just want to point out to my colleague from Massachusetts that the Republicans can't obstruct the President's effort because we are in the minority. And we don't have to obstruct him anyway because they've all failed. Nothing has worked that the President and our friends across the aisle have tried, and so they're going to fail of their own weight.

Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my colleague from Pennsylvania (Mr. Shuster).

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Ms. FOXX. Madam Speaker, my colleague again is very selectively using statistics. He knows that he cannot back up the data that says that in the first year of President Obama's administration he has created more jobs than in all the Bush administration.

I have this chart which shows the unemployment rate under President Obama, under President Bush; and, again, we had many more jobs created under President Bush than have been created under President Obama, because all we've done is lose jobs under President Obama and create government jobs.

That's the whole issue here, Madam Speaker. We've lost four million jobs since President Obama took office. That's it.

And, you know, my colleague across the aisle says we need to be consistent. Well, he should be consistent. This will bring savings immediately, what we're proposing. What he's talking about might bring savings 30 years down the road. In fact, the study that I asked him to talk about, there's no study, Madam Speaker. I asked for a copy of the study. You know what it is? An article that was in the newspaper last February when we shut the government down, or the Democrats shut the government down for a week. They were losing $100 million a day. But they found out 30 percent of the people were logging into their computers, so they call that a savings of $30 million per day.

Listen, the American people are tired of that kind of thing being passed off as a study. There is no study.

Madam Speaker, this bill does not need to be passed. This rule does not need to be passed.

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