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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I say to the gentleman that I am very entertained by the nature of his question since, I guess, it starts from the fact that some might believe that Congress creates jobs. But I would say in general, Mr. Speaker, that what we need to be doing here is to create an environment where entrepreneurs and small businesses and investors can actually feel confident again to put capital at risk to create jobs.

I would say to the gentleman further that the administration, itself, has accepted the notion that the passage of the three free trade agreements will have the potential--there's no guarantee--but the potential of the creation of a quarter of a million jobs.

Again, there have been a lot of promises made in this town, Mr. Speaker, about how we're going to control the level of unemployment and make sure it doesn't go beyond certain points connected with the stimulus bill, but I think the American people have had just about enough of broken promises. So we are proceeding with a focus, a focus like a laser, on creating an environment for entrepreneurs and small businesses to create jobs without making promises, Mr. Speaker, that will then let people down. We're trying to regain the confidence of the people and put some sensible regulatory policy in place with a lower tax environment so we can see growth return to a badly needed macroeconomic environment.

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Mr. CANTOR. I just say to the gentleman, in quoting Moody's Analytics, perhaps what he portrays as our way forward, Moody's chief economist was also the one that made the prediction of an unemployment rate that would not exceed 8 percent as a result of passage of the stimulus bill.

And it makes my point, Mr. Speaker, that the people in this country are tired of Washington making promises it doesn't keep. We're trying to abide by the trust that the people put in us to try and deliver results.

And right now, as the gentleman correctly points out, the economy is in bad shape. We are trying to do all we can to not only put money in people's pockets, because if there were unlimited money, that would be fine. But what we are trying to do is to encourage investment. We're trying to encourage economic activity so we can see growth happen and occur and jobs created.

That's the way it's done in America, is that we need the private sector to take hold of a signal from Washington that we do believe in free enterprise, that we're not about this government dictating where activity must occur, where and who is deserving of government support.

I mean, this is the essence, I think, of our difference, Mr. Speaker. We're trying to set aside the divide, because clearly we don't agree with the President's approach thus far. We didn't agree with the stimulus approach, and I think the facts have borne out that we were right, that stimulus spending out of this government did not produce the results that the administration promised.

We believed then and we believe now the key to economic growth going forward is to increase the competence, is to bolster the entrepreneurial private sector in this country. It's about innovation. From innovation comes jobs, comes manufacturing; but we need to get Washington out of the way and out of the business of creating harm.

The gentleman, Mr. Speaker, quotes all kinds of people; but I can quote my constituents, as I am sure many of his go to him and say can you stop making it so difficult for us to create or run a business? We need to be a startup country again, Mr. Speaker, and we need to see that type of economic activity. That's what will bring on growth.

So what we have said is, no, the President's all-or-nothing approach is unacceptable. It has been rejected by the American people. They don't want the my-way-or-highway kind of conduct.

And what we see out there, Mr. Speaker, is some conduct on the part of the administration that is just not becoming and of a helpful mode. How is it helpful out there to aim at particular sectors of industry, to aim at business in general when we're wanting the businesses to create the jobs?

So what we have said is, no, we are not for voting on tax increases in this House, which is what the President's proposal is about. We're not for accepting his desire to make it more difficult for charities to be successful. That's what's in the President's plan. I'm sure the gentleman would not agree that we ought to limit deductions to charities, and that's what the President's bill does, something that's not very helpful in today's economy when people are so in need of help by charities.

So we said, fine, set aside those differences and let's look at where we can agree. So we said we'll bring the trade agreements to the floor. We've been asking for that, as has the gentleman. And I will say, Mr. Speaker, he has been a stalwart of trying to help get those bills through, and I appreciate that, as do many of the Members on both sides who support free and fair trade.

But I would say we also note the President's remarks in his speech to the joint session where he said he would support our efforts in regulatory relief so that we can make it easier. We can make it easier for people going into business in a sensible way. We continue to bring bills forward on that note every week. We brought two forward this week and, as I indicated earlier, will again next week.

We will also be bringing forward the 3 percent withholding bill at the end of October that the gentleman well knows is a big concern to not only, to not only the private sector, but also to institutions like public universities that have already come and approached me and said, you know what, if you don't do something to remove that requirement, we're going to end up having to pay more for our contracts to our vendors.

So we're bringing that bill to the floor. We also are having bills that will come out of the Financial Services Committee that echo what the President said in his speech to us, that echo the President's stated desire to want to help small businesses access financing. We've got to make sure that we're doing everything there so it's not so difficult. We also intend to bring forward measures towards helping small businesses take advantage of their expenses so they can expense the costs that they incur to grow their businesses and take advantage of that to see if we can grow.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, the gentleman indicates we need to have hearings and we need to do things on the President's jobs bill. I think we've indicated, and again, the Ways and Means Committee had hearings related to unemployment insurance reform, something that the President indicated that he wanted to do.

So, Mr. Speaker, no, we're not going to bring up the President's bill in whole because we don't believe in raising taxes and in more stimulus spending, but we are going to take the parts that we can agree on. And we've taken that posture again and again. It's a reasoned approach when you have two sides that have disagreement to say we're going to focus on commonality and transcend those differences.

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Mr. CANTOR. I would say this, Mr. Speaker. The gentleman well knows that the President's jobs bill, as submitted by Mr. Larson, has been referred to many, many committees. There isn't one committee that's going to have a comprehensive hearing on the bill. So as I said before, we intend to take the areas that we can agree on to work together towards forging a solution so we could actually, as some would say, put a win on the board for the American people.

I would say also, Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to note that there are no cosponsors on the bill that's been submitted as the President's jobs bill. There are no cosponsors. So if there is such support on the other side, I would guess we'll see a lot of people, a lot of Members signing up for that bill.

I would say, though, to the gentleman that the reason we don't believe that bill is helpful right now is because we don't believe that raising taxes is something you need to do to grow the economy. In fact, it's harmful to growing the economy.

And as far as the gentleman's admonition or statement about the joint select committee, again, if he says ``balanced approach,'' that's a nice way of saying we want to raise taxes. We don't want to raise taxes. As the gentleman knows, he and I have been at the process of trying to forge a solution. Both he and I do want to see outcome and success, because I don't feel that it is in any way helpful to anyone to see the joint select committee fail.

The committee is charged with coming up with commensurate savings in order to increase the Nation's credit limit, so that means we've got to get the cuts. But when the gentleman talks about ``big deal,'' I'm all for trying to fix the entitlements because we know that's the problem facing this country, that the disproportionate driver of the deficits is the entitlements.

We know how to fix them. In fact, our side is the only one that has proffered a wholesale formula to address reform that would last a generation. That's the kind of certainty that I think will help in terms of increasing investment and the appetite for risk in this country to help entrepreneurs grow. The gentleman, his party and the President have rejected our approach and have failed to offer a single formula that will fix the entitlement problem and instead want this so called ``balanced approach'' that will simply take money out of the private sector, out of the people who have earned it, the small business owners, to continue to fund Washington to let Washington spend money.

And we say if you are not willing and courageous enough to fix the problem, why should we go and make prospects for economic growth that much dimmer by raising taxes?

So, yes, I would say to the gentleman, Mr. Speaker, I'm all for as much savings as we can actually accomplish and reform that we can complete, but, clearly, we have demonstrated there are a lot of differences.

So, instead, I would look to the joint select committee to do its work. And I have the full confidence in the appointees by our Speaker that we can see it do its work without a lot of hyperbole and fanfare so we can continue to focus on how we're going to get Americans back to work.

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