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Public Statements

Playing Politics with Our Economy

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. TONKO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in this, the 27th week of this session of Congress, and continue to ask the leadership in our House to move legislation that will create jobs. Over the course of the last few weeks and months, this body has been so obsessed with the debt ceiling that it seems to have forgotten the plain and simple truth that the American people acknowledged last November and repeat over and over again: the best way to grow our economy and drive down the deficit is to put people back to work.

There are plenty of people looking for work. With unemployment around 9 percent, this body must make jobs and the economy our top priority. In fact, a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday found that by a 30-point margin, Americans say it is more important to reduce unemployment than to reduce the budget deficit.

But the biggest threat to jobs today: failure to increase the debt ceiling and playing politics with our economy. Holding the economy hostage in order to protect Big Oil, tax cuts for the wealthy, and tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas is not only un-American, it's immoral. Leadership requires difficult decisions and compromise. I hope we'll see more of these traits in the coming days, not less.


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