House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) today met with employees of Titan America, a heavy building materials company, at their Richmond facility. The following excerpts are from the remarks he delivered on jobs and economic growth:
"Thanks so much and to the entire team at Titan America, Powhatan Ready Mix, and all the residents of the 7th district, thank you for having us today and for being here on a very important day for those of us in the Richmond area. It's not often that we have the President of the United States come to our hometown. I was glad to see the President was coming here. I spoke to him last night before he delivered his address to the joint Congress, and I told him that we were excited about his choosing Richmond as the first place for his jobs tour after his speech and I said to him that I hope that he hears the same kind of concerns that I hear every time I come home in that people want to see results in this country, they want to see America get back to work."
"That's why I am here today. I know that Titan America, as are so many others in the Commonwealth, is facing really challenging times. I was just told that the Titan America workforce in Virginia has been reduced almost in half because of the extremely slow construction industry and because of the general environment where people are lacking confidence about any prospects of growth. But that gives us all an opportunity to begin to work together."
"The President spoke to us last night in Congress about how individuals across the nation are somehow feeling that they are not getting a fair shake. I have often said that what makes America unique is that everyone here, wherever they come from if they are part of our nation understands that no matter our background we have the opportunity for a fair shot at earning success. That is what the story here is about at Titan America and Powhatan Ready Mix, and the entire team, it is about all of us as individuals being able to determine the success we will have on our own."
"Now there is a real debate going on in Washington and no question there are plenty of differences, we've seen those differences accentuated over the last four or five months as we've been involved in the debt ceiling debate, and how we address the crisis surrounding the federal debt. We also have differences as we approach the other crises that we are experiencing in the economic growth arena. So, with those differences I think it comes down to this, I believe that the best way for us to address a jobs crisis is to ensure that everybody does have that fair shot. That we can see operations like this succeed when people put their mind to it, just as those who started this country did, and that the pursuit of happiness is reflected in one's realization of earned success."
"A very different vision also exists in Washington; some people believe that Washington and the federal government are there to guarantee a certain outcome, to guarantee success. I just don't believe that that can happen. I believe that if we provide the opportunity for everyone to earn success, we will see the return to prosperity and to growth. Otherwise I think the future for us looks a lot like the future for some of our allies, and some of the countries in Europe, in which it is about the government determining outcomes. But look at the potential for success here behind us. Again, the level of the activity we have heard about today, what Titan America is experiencing here in the greater Richmond region, is no different than their operations Commonwealth-wide or in the other places they operate on the east coast. It is woefully insufficient to see more jobs created and that's what we're trying to do, we're trying to create an environment for success again."
"We want to join with our colleagues on the other side of the aisle to make sure these companies can succeed. We want to make it easier for operations like this to succeed. We know that in the cement industry there are proposed regulations that stand in the way of further investment and future job creation. At Titan we know of three regulations that we are focusing on in the next several weeks, that if we were able to say that they wouldn't happen, would provide some certainty for businesses to expand and more jobs would be created in Henrico County. The Cement MACT regulation we know would add a tremendous cost to this facility, and it is simply sapping capital that could be put to use for growth. We also have the FlyAsh regulation that will make it much more expensive for plants like this to make and provide ready-made cement, and then the 3% withholding rule which basically says if anyone does business with a governmental entity there must be a 3% withholding of that contract. I don't need to tell the small business people that cash flow is an issue. If you withhold 3% that might represent the bulk of the margin you need and not allow businesses to operate -- yet again a regulation that stands in the way of growth and job creation."
"This is part of the agenda in the House. We want to make it easier for businesses to grow and that is why we are saying to the Administration, stop making it more difficult, join us in providing an environment that we can see entrepreneurs get back into the game on job creation. The President addressed the nation last night and talked about some things he thinks can help job creation. Lots of things in his speech reflect the kinds of things we're talking about. So that means there are areas of commonality. The President talked about providing tax relief for small businesses. We've been talking about the need to emphasize small business when you want to grow the economy. Way back when the stimulus debate began in January 2009, we all opposed the stimulus program because we felt that spending borrowed money was not going to be the answer. Instead, we thought we should make it easier for the private sector to grow. Well here we are again having the same discussion, after we've seen the nearly $800 billion stimulus bill fail in terms of reaching the results that were promised. We have an area we can agree on. There were other suggestions the President made that he's for increasing infrastructure investments and wants an infrastructure bank, and while we may differ on how to do it, it is important not only for this industry but for the country to see our roads and bridges in good repair. Also, we are just down the road from the port of Virginia. There's an opportunity to work together to get trade going in and out of these ports by passing the trade bills. All these are things we can work together to build consensus."
"Last night, the President was insistent to pass his bill - and there is no bill yet - but all or nothing hasn't worked in Washington over last 8 months. Let's try a better way. Let's admit that good people can disagree, but not let those disagreements get in the way of finding agreement and actually getting results. I am committed to working with the President and the other party to help people get back to work here in this region, in the Commonwealth and throughout the country."
"This is the foundation of America, concrete!"