Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee are holding a hearing on creating jobs now in America. The hearing is emphasizing urgent actions that the 112th Congress should take to create jobs and engage the private sector in rebuilding America through the improvement of schools, hospitals, highways, ports and other transportation facilities needed for manufacturing and trade.
"Rebuilding America now is about American jobs. It's about Making it in America by creating jobs. It's about public-private partnerships. There should be no higher priority for this Congress than creating jobs now," Pelosi said. "Democrats will measure every effort that comes before us by three standards: does it create jobs, reduce the deficit, and strengthen the middle class."
Below are the Leader's opening remarks as prepared for delivery.
"I would like to acknowledge: Steering and Policy Committee Co-chair George Miller; Steering and Policy Committee Co-chair Rosa DeLauro; and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra.
"I want to thank our witnesses today for joining us for this hearing on Creating Jobs Now in America: Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley; William R. Buechner, American Road and Transport Builders Association; Andy Herrmann, American Society of Civil Engineers; Susan Monteverde, American Association of Port Authorities; Damon A. Silvers, AFL-CIO; and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who will be joining us later this afternoon.
"Rebuilding America now is about American jobs. It's about Making it in America by creating jobs. It's about public-private partnerships.
"There should be no higher priority for this Congress than creating jobs now.
"Democrats will measure every effort that comes before us by three standards: does it create jobs, reduce the deficit, and strengthen the middle class.
"Just one week, ago, President Obama came before Congress for the State of the Union and said, "[A key step] to winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information -- from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.'
"Rebuilding America is an economic issue: strengthening our competitiveness and creating the next generation of good-paying jobs.
"Rebuilding America is an environmental issue: creating clean energy solutions that ensure cleaner air and water, reduce sprawl and congestion, and cut greenhouse gases.
"Rebuilding America is a national security issue: reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
"As we move forward to rebuild America, we must do so in the most fiscally responsible way, leveraging federal dollars, partnering at every level of government, and forging new public-public partnerships that will strengthen our efforts.
"Ideas such as Build America Bonds will accelerate construction of important projects that help build and move goods throughout the economy.
"As we continue to work to strengthen our nation's economy, we will maintain a laser-like focus on our deficit. And we will root out waste, fraud, and abuse, ensuring that these investments go to the projects with the highest and best use.
"I began by quoting President Obama at the State of the Union, and I'd like to end that way as well. Last week he said, "We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.'
"We come together today in that spirit: leading the way for our nation to out-build all our competitors, and putting Americans back to work.
"I'm now pleased to yield to Chairman George Miller."