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Public Statements

Make It In America

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. PALLONE. Thank you. First of all, I wanted to thank my colleague from California for coming down here tonight and many nights and talking about the Make it in America agenda and why manufacturing matters. And the fact of the matter is that manufacturing, there was a recent report out that said that manufacturing, last year for the first time more jobs were created in manufacturing than were lost. And I think that was the first time in 10 years. And we had, as you know, I think you mentioned over a million private sector jobs created in 2010.

I don't like to talk about how wonderful everything is, because I know that it's not. I know that unemployment continues to be high, and many of my constituents talk to me all the time about how hard it is to find a job and how difficult it is for them to make ends meet; but the fact of the matter is that we are improving things. And we are beginning to see signs of the recovery; and most importantly, we are actually seeing more manufacturing jobs. So anybody says to me, well, you can't make things in America anymore, I simply say look at the facts. The facts are that manufacturing jobs are on the rise.

You know, I wanted to say, I was amazed today because I came down to the floor, we came in, I guess, we had debate around 5:15 and then we voted around 6:30, and I look at the agenda for the week, and we are now into the fourth week of the Republican majority in the House, and to my knowledge not a single thing has been done or has been proposed to be done this week that would actually create jobs or address the economy.

In fact, I was listening to the debate on this budget resolution, and one of your colleagues from California, Mr. Dreier, started talking about the deficit and health care, the health care repeal again. You know, for 3 weeks, or at least for 2 weeks, and 1 week of course we had the tragedy with our colleague Gabby Giffords, but for the last 3 weeks all the talk has been about repealing health care reform, which of course is not going to happen because the Senate's never going to take it up and the President is never going to sign it. So it's a complete waste of time. And he was talking again about how that's going to reduce the deficit, the repeal would reduce the deficit.

And I got up and I said, well, it's just the opposite. The CBO, which at least has provided us with numbers--your budget resolution that's coming up tomorrow that the Republican have doesn't have any numbers--but we know that the CBO told us that the health care reform actually reduces the deficit over the next 10 years by $230 and a trillion dollars in the second decade. And I said, you know, what is your plan? What is the Republican plan to reduce the deficit? What is the Republican plan to create jobs? What is the Republican plan to help the economy? And I don't see anything.

I mean, all I see is, again, 3 weeks on repealing health care reform, now some budget resolution that has no numbers about, you know, what the budget's actually going to be, and nothing to indicate how it's really going to create jobs or reduce the deficit. And then I saw that on Wednesday we are taking up a resolution which will repeal the Presidential election public financing system, which again is nothing but another corporate giveaway, because what it means is that if we don't have public financing of the Presidential elections, then we are probably going to rely more and more on these corporate ads, these secret corporate ads that were used this last November that we don't even know where the money came from. It's all corporate money. And, again, I don't see anything being done by our Republican colleagues to address the issue of jobs.

Now, on the other hand we have the President and you, Mr. Garamendi, talking about this every day. I mean, the President, you know, we sort of got a little prelude to what he is going to do in the State of the Union tomorrow, but the whole focus is going to be on jobs. And we will wait and see, but that's what we are hearing. We are hearing it's going to be about innovation; it's going to be about investment in things like R&D, in transportation infrastructure, in education, a vision for the future that trains Americans for better jobs, that creates the infrastructure, the mass transit, the highways so that our goods can travel around the country, the R&D to put us ahead.

You know, in my district a lot of R&D is done in the manufacturing of drugs and new products, medical devices. I mean, this is what the President's talking about. And I assume that my colleague from New York's going to talk about his visit to your district, which was all job oriented. And then when the President, or Premier, of China came, President Obama's whole message to him was you know, you got to let in our exports. You got to lower the barriers so that we can create things here and export them to China because you have to open your markets.

So, you know, the President like a laser beam is focusing on jobs. I know the Democrats in the House with the Make it in America agenda are focusing on jobs. I don't think you mentioned it, but I have a paper here that says that this week, Congressman Garamendi, you are going to address two Make it in America bills. Maybe you should talk about that, and Mr. Tonko can talk about the President's visit to his district. But all our focus is on creating jobs, and I don't hear anything from the other side of the aisle, from the Republicans on this issue.

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Mr. PALLONE. I'm glad you talked about my district. I want to talk about my district, and I also want to talk about Mr. Tonko and his district and what the President did last weekend because, as you know, it was a GE plant that he visited in Schenectady. But in addition to that, the president of GE is the guy that President Obama has now tapped to be the head of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. And he wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post talking about what he wants to do, which I wanted to reference because it harks back.

I wanted to mention my district first and just say briefly that we in my district pride ourselves on being the invention center of the country, or the world, because the heart of my district is Edison, New Jersey, named after Thomas Edison. And Menlo Park where he invented the light bulb and so many other things, is located in Edison. That's why it was named after him after he passed away. And Edison, of course, is the epitome of someone who used invention and research to practically come up with solutions that made a difference for people's lives and created a tremendous amount of jobs.

What the President is saying, let's just talk about the R&D, because I know he's going to talk about that tomorrow. And of course it's going to involve some money that's going to have to be spent by the Federal Government, but it is a wise use of funds. Maybe we're going to have to cut somewhere else in the budget in order to fund things that create jobs; but we are going to, as I said, with a laser beam look at things that create jobs.

Now, let you me just give you an example, big manufacturing, and also I should say big research, in my district is with the pharmaceutical industry. J&J is headquartered in New Brunswick. Johnson & Johnson is in my district. And one of the things that I read about, that I was told about actually, the other day was that the President has decided to create a new R&D function, if you will, within the FDA because he has realized that a lot of the drug companies have lagged a little bit in doing a lot of new innovation to create new drugs because of the recession. They don't have the money, whatever reason.

And so now the Federal Government is going to concentrate on that and do more research themselves, applied research in the Edison-type of applied research arena, to sort of jump-start these drug companies so that they can create and do more research to create more innovative drugs. Now there's a good example. We've always been a leader in the world with drug or pharmaceutical innovation. Now we're starting to lag a little bit. So the government is going to step in and help to give us some money and more resources, if you will, into that R&D function, which will create more jobs and boost up the existing pharmaceutical industry.

The same is true, I understand when he went to GE these are turbines or something that are being used for a project in India. So these are going to be shipped overseas. And my understanding is you talked about 1,200 American manufacturing jobs and more than 400 American engineering jobs just with that GE plant.

I will yield to you, but I want to come back to what the president of GE is saying about this council.

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Mr. PALLONE. Well, I wanted to just mention briefly, because Mr. Tonko has been talking about GE and the president of GE who is now the head of this new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, I just thought it was interesting. In last Friday's Washington Post, he wrote an opinion piece about how to keep America competitive. The gist of it was not only can we manufacture things here and do things better here, but we have to. In other words, we cannot grow our economy unless we spend a significant amount of resources, primarily in the private sector, but some government as well, in creating and improving the manufacturing sector. It is crucial to the economy. It is not something that we can just ignore.

He talked about, and one of the things I try to do is dispel the idea that we can't manufacture things here or that we can't be competitive because it is almost like a defeatist attitude. As a Member of Congress, you have to dispel this myth that it can't be done.

He says, and I will read his last section: ``It is possible to become a competitive global enterprise and still care about your home. In fact, it is not just possible; it's imperative. There is no easy solution to fix the American economy with persistent and high unemployment, but the pessimism it breeds should not be accepted. We must work together to construct an economy that creates more opportunity.''

That is what I want to stress. It pains me when I come here, and I don't want to be negative, but it pains me when I come here and I see the Republicans talk about repeal health care, repeal Wall Street reform, a budget resolution that has no numbers, get rid of Presidential election public financing, all these things, and it is almost as if they don't believe that we can have a vision for the future and don't want to act on it.

And the beautiful thing about the President in the last few weeks, and from what apparently he is going to say tomorrow in the State of the Union, is that he has a vision of America of opportunity. That is what the president of GE is talking about when he talks about creating opportunity for people. We have to have a vision that says that this is the land of opportunity and that we can be better and we can continue to be the manufacturing leader and the greatest power in the world.

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Mr. PALLONE. I'm really excited about the President's speech tomorrow because I know he's going to stress the whole idea of investment and innovation.

He talks about the fact that right now many of the corporations in this country are actually sitting on a lot of profit. I mean, in the last year or so many of them have actually made quite a bit of money, And we want them to reinvest that money in creating private sector jobs here. But one of the points he makes, and I talked a little bit about it tonight, is that the Federal Government has to incentivize all of this. In other words, I used an example with the drug companies that the Federal Government, by doing some research on new drugs, can incentivize the drug companies in my district to do more and create more jobs. But there is also an educational component to it as well. We need to do more in terms of education.

It's no surprise that in the middle of this pharmaceutical industry in my district sits Rutgers University. There is a lot of money through the stimulus act, for example, that went to Rutgers to do R&D that is then taken up by the drug industry. So it's part of a whole package, and I am very excited about it. And I just wanted to thank the gentleman again for all that he has done on this.

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