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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, as we meet this afternoon to consider this very necessary legislation, too many Americans are looking at yet another Friday without a paycheck. Too many Americans are leery when they hear the phone ring for fear it's another dunning phone call from a creditor they can't pay. Too many Americans are stuck for yet another week in a part-time job that doesn't come anywhere close to paying their families' bills.
The country has a jobs crisis. We have the same number of private sector jobs in America today that we had in 2001, and we have 14 percent more people looking for work. We have a jobs crisis.
This is the 196th day of the majority that now runs the House of Representatives, and on not one of those days has the majority taken advantage of the opportunity to come to the floor, work together on legislation that would address this jobs crisis here in our country.
I believe that resolving this crisis requires us to work together in three areas:
First, we have to get our fiscal house in order as a government. We can no longer borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend, and we certainly cannot let this country fail to meet its obligation to pay its bills--a deadline that is on August 2. Failure to do that would mean more than simply failing our country's national obligations. It would mean higher mortgage rates; it would mean higher car loan rates, higher small business rates; and if we miss the deadline, it would mean not enough money to pay Social Security checks or our troops or our creditors. We cannot let that happen.
Just across this Capitol, there are signs of hope, where Members of the other body from both political parties have begun to have a serious proposal put on the table that would significantly address our budget problem by reducing entitlement spending, which we must do; by reducing spending on regular government programs, which we must do; by reducing spending on defense in areas that would not weaken our country, which we must do; and yes, by requiring the wealthiest and most successful of Americans to pay a bit more towards solving this problem. That is a fair and balanced way to approach this problem. I am heartened by the fact that, across the Capitol, both Republicans and Democrats are beginning to make that effort. We should make the same effort here, something we could agree to.
Second, we've got to stimulate the demand for businesses in this country. I think the main reason so many employers are not hiring is they legitimately fear there won't be enough customers to buy their appliances or their antibiotics or their software, that there isn't enough demand in our economy.
One of the reasons we don't have that demand is we send $1 billion a day to Middle Eastern countries which sell us oil. Why don't we keep that $1 billion here in the United States of America and put it to work by putting Americans to work, whether it's in building windmill farms off the coast or solar farms throughout our rural areas or in exploring regular, conventional sources of energy in a safe and environmentally conscious way. Let's do that.
Why aren't we investing to give ourselves a continued lead in the biotechnology industry? As scientists are figuring out ways to grow new tissue that heals hearts and livers and kidneys, why aren't we working to retain our leadership position in the world in order to create jobs here in our country?
So these are ways that we could and should work together.
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Mr. ANDREWS. Why aren't we doing far more than we're doing this afternoon on this airport bill?
Airport investment puts Americans to work, and good air travel makes growth possible, but look at what we're doing: a temporary, scanty extension of our investment in our air traffic system because we can't get our fiscal house in order to agree to the kind of extension that we need.
We have 196 days of missed opportunity. Let's not make tomorrow the 197th day of missed opportunity. Let's come together; work together as Republicans and Democrats, and create an environment where entrepreneurs can begin to create the jobs that we so desperately need here in our country. Yes, we have a deficit in America--it is a very serious deficit--but the most serious deficit we have is a jobs deficit, and until we can find a way to put 15 million unemployed Americans back to work, our deficits will continue.
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