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Job Creation

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I've been listening here on the floor today, and I heard some folks mention the need for action on the issue of jobs. I agree. Some of them said, hey, there hasn't been much action. There has been a lack of action, I think was the quote that I heard here on the floor earlier. I'd like to talk about that a little bit.

There has been a lot of action on the issue of jobs in the House. When folks talk about the Congress, they sort of group the House and the Senate together. I understand that, but the House and the Senate are two separate bodies, and the leadership in the House and the leadership in the Senate have two different visions of where this country ought to go.

As it relates to the House, there has been a lot of action. We've passed about 90 bills in the House this year. During that same timeframe, the Senate passed 20. A lot of those bills that we've passed here in the House directly relate to the issue of job creation and in helping our country get back on its feet.

Many of us understand that government is not the key job creator in this country. The private sector creates jobs, and the government can make things better or make things worse for job creators. My hope is that we're working to make things better--to create an environment where the private sector can then flourish, can innovate, can advance, and create jobs.

Now let's talk about the action here in the House.

We've got a number of bills that we've passed that relate to job creation, bills that were then taken down to the other side of this building and given to the Senate. That's where they rest. They're just sitting there. A lot of us grew up in the seventies. We remember ``Schoolhouse Rock.'' We remember that little bill sitting on Capitol Hill. That bill can't become a law unless it passes this House, the Senate, and then the President signs it. Well, that little bill was passed out of here. It's waiting on the Senate to do something about it, that little jobs bill, and there's a whole host of them down there with it. Let me mention a few of them.

First and foremost, when we got here in January, we voted to repeal ObamaCare, the health care law that recently passed. Why did we do that? Because it is a source of angst, uncertainty, out-of-control government spending, and excessive regulation the likes of which this country has never seen before. We voted to repeal that on the first day of the first week back. The first week we got here we sent that over to the Senate, and they didn't pass it.

We passed H.R. 872, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act. No Senate action.

We passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act to block some of the EPA's controversial excessive regulations. No action on that.

We passed H. Res. 72, asking our House committees to inventory regulations and look for places we can trim them back, reform them and save. No action like that in the Senate.

H.R. 1230, Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act, a bill, along with several others that we passed, to encourage energy exploration. No action in the Senate.

The Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act. No action in the Senate.

Reversing President Obama's Offshore Moratorium Act. No action in the Senate.

We can go on and on and on.

One of those things that we passed here that the Senate hasn't passed is a budget--a fundamental document for managing one's finances. We passed one here. They haven't had a budget in the Senate for, I think, about 2 years now. For 888 days, no budget in the Senate.

So we've done a lot here in the House. Congress as a whole hasn't acted on a lot of this stuff, but we've done our part, and we've sent it down to the other side of the building, to the Senate. We're waiting for action on many pieces of critical legislation that can help this country get back to job creation.

I would now like to yield to my friend from Illinois.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Reclaiming my time, I just want to point out that in Arkansas the President predicted that the stimulus would create 30,000 jobs. I think, in the end, the government funded about 4,800 jobs at a cost of around $300,000 per job.

Now, if someone would've just given me the checkbook, I could have created more jobs writing people checks and could have saved people all the work. I mean, the idea that you create jobs at $300,000 a job is just unbelievable.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I thank the gentleman from Illinois. It's stimulus, the sequel.

I would just like to point out that you made a really good point. The government is not going to be the answer in terms of creating jobs. The government can help create an environment where the private sector can innovate, can grow, and can create jobs. We can assist by creating an environment in a country where businesses and job creators flourish, and that's what we want do.

I yield now to the gentlelady from Alabama.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I thank the gentlelady from Alabama.

I would say, when I sit down and meet with constituents, whether it be here or back home in Little Rock, one of the complaints that I hear the most is that Federal Government continues to over-regulate, continues to burden us with regulations that are excessive, that just don't make sense, and they're implementing them without checking with the folks that they're going to most impact, or ignoring the folks that they will most impact.

There are a number of agencies that are doing that. We hear a lot about the EPA, but it's not just the EPA. You can just go right down the list of Federal agencies and they're issuing new regulations, many of which are almost impossible to comply with.

Today we voted on the concrete MACT and the boiler MACT legislation to help prohibit, to prohibit the EPA from implementing some of these harmful rules. And I can just tell you, talking to folks back in my district, these rules will have a specific impact on them. It will cost them millions of dollars to implement; and ultimately, it costs jobs.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. That's the real impact that these rules will have if they're implemented. I would like to say, before I yield to the gentleman from New York, these regulations continue. It's almost every week there's a new one. I don't think anyone here is against regulation. This is not an issue of do we regulate or not. Of course we need regulations. We need commonsense regulations that protect Americans.

What we're talking about are excessive regulations. What we're talking about is an unprecedented growth of regulations over the last few years that are stifling and crushing business.

One thing I'll mention with regard to health care, businesses aren't just concerned about the regulations that exist. They're concerned about the regulations that are in the pipeline that they haven't seen yet because it adds uncertainty to doing business. So a business may have some money set aside that they want to invest and expand their factory and they want to hire new people, but they don't yet know what the impact of the recently passed health care law is going to be. So they put that money aside and they sit on it.

I've had constituent after constituent tell me that if this health care law that recently passed is fully implemented, it will have a devastating impact on my business, and we will start paying an additional $100,000 or $200,000 or $300,000, or whatever the amount is, for that particular business. So they're putting money aside waiting to see what they'll have to spend to comply with this new law.

The same situation with Dodd-Frank and a lot of the new financial regulations. There was a gentleman speaking earlier. He talked about small businesses needing access to credit. Well, let me tell you, the Dodd-Frank bill is part of the problem. If you really wanted to inspire confidence in job creators, the President ought to call a press conference today and say he's going to do everything he can to repeal his two big mistakes--ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. That would give job creators a shot of confidence, and I guarantee you the markets would respond likewise.

I now yield to the gentleman from New York.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Reclaiming my time, what you have just described is the fact that we can't mandate companies to come back to the United States. We can't mandate companies to invest in the United States. We have to attract them. We have to create an environment where they want to do business, and we've got to create an environment where they want to invest. We want people to look at the United States and say, that's the only place in the world to do business, that's where I want to create jobs, that's where I want to innovate, and that's where I want to invest. And as you say, a lot of the rules that we've set up have run folks off. So they're creating jobs, but they're creating them somewhere else.

I yield to the gentlelady from Alabama.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I would like to say a few things, if I could, about the President's so-called jobs bill.

We've heard about the desire for bipartisanship. We've heard about the desire to work together and find common ground. Well, not too long ago, the President visited us here in the House. He spoke from the podium and he talked about his new jobs bill. Well, he didn't talk about finding common ground. He didn't really talk about meeting us halfway, finding areas we could agree on. He just said, Pass my bill; pass it as it is. Then he ran around the country saying, Pass my bill; pass it as it is. Well, at that time there wasn't even a bill here in the House to pass. And when we finally did get the text of it, we saw that it certainly didn't reflect bipartisan agreement, certainly didn't reflect meeting halfway. It was stimulus 2, stimulus the sequel, and we know how ineffective the first stimulus was.

I'm here to work with other folks, find areas where we can agree and move forward. But there hasn't been a shortage of bills and legislation passed in this House. As we talked about earlier, we've passed bill after bill after bill that will help create an environment in this country where the private sector will want to do business and grow jobs.

When the President's bill finally got here, the so-called jobs plan, we found out there are not even enough Democrats to pass it in the Senate. I see just a few minutes ago the Republican leader in the Senate wanted to have an immediate vote on the President's jobs bill, and he has been blocked. He has been blocked by the Democrat majority leader in the Senate. He doesn't want to allow a vote on the President's jobs bill. I suspect that has something to do with the fact that most of the Democrats over there aren't going to vote for it either. They didn't just get here. They were around when the last stimulus passed and they realize how ineffective it was. And so the President can't even convince his own party to support his so-called jobs bill.

I think at the end of the day we can agree here that we want to pass legislation that will help the private sector grow and create jobs, no question. No question. We've passed a number of those here, and we're willing to work on more. What we need is the Senate to actually take up some of the stuff that we've passed, because I'll just say this: I've talked to a lot of job creators in the Second Congressional District of Arkansas, which is basically central Arkansas, with Little Rock at the core, and a lot of them, they have money to invest and expand and create jobs, but they're holding on to it. Why? Because they're uncertain about the future. They don't have confidence in the direction of this country. They're worried.

So businesses, job creators do what families do. They hold tightly to their money, save up, hoping that things will get better, hoping that they will gain some confidence in the direction of the country so that they can then spend that money to expand a plant and hire more people and what have you.

So what makes them uncertain? What makes them worried? Well, what I hear is overregulation, the need for tax reform so that we can be competitive with other countries, the health care bill that passed last year. That's got a bunch of folks worried because they don't know what the impact is going to be. The Dodd-Frank bill is absolutely killing our small town community banks that are a critical source of credit for small businesses and families. They're worried to death. All of this stuff. And let's not leave out the debt.

People are concerned about the debt because the national debt affects the markets. It affects interest rates. It affects the value of our currency. And folks see what's going on in Europe and they say, man, if we don't get this under control, we're next.

All of that, all of those different concerns, those worries, add to the uncertainty.

I yield to the gentleman from Colorado.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I think you were there yesterday when we had a visit from some folks in the cement/concrete industry. I was taught yesterday the difference between cement and concrete. Cement is what we use to create concrete. And he sat there, and he said, Look, I've got a lot of employees. I want to hire more. I want to grow. But this regulation, this Cement MACT regulation is going to kill a lot of our businesses because it's going to set a standard way beyond the European standard, and it's going to set a regulatory standard that our businesses cannot meet no matter how much they spend. I think he mentioned that one company had spent $20 million trying to comply, trying to tighten up their operations to meet some of these regulations. He even said, This regulation is so stringent, you can't even measure what the EPA is trying to achieve. It's beyond our ability to measure.

It's not that these guys are against regulations. He said in our meeting, We've been regulated for years. We're going to continue to be regulated, and we're cool with that. We get that. We understand that. But this type of regulation will put us out of business, and the only people making cement will be elsewhere. He said, The cement business is growing big time in China, and to compete, we've got to have commonsense regulation.

I yield to the gentleman from Colorado.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I thank the gentleman.

I want to use a little analogy and have a little fun here for a second.

If you have two runners and they're lined up ready to race and one runner is simply going to run straight to the finish line and the other runner has to run through an obstacle course, who do you think is going to win? I think we would all agree that the one who's just going to run straight, not going to have to jump over anything, not going to have to swim or climb a rope or whatever, go through tires, just run straight to the finish line, that runner is going to have a big advantage over the other runner. The other runner is going to have to climb a rope, go over a wall, go through the tires, do all the things that you do in an obstacle course.

The obstacle course, that's regulation. We need basic, fundamental regulation to keep us safe, keep our kids safe. I understand that. But that shows you what we're dealing with. You've got some countries who have little or no regulations, so their runners are just running down that track straight, unimpeded. We're putting up walls for ours, and then we wonder, Why can't we compete? Why aren't people investing? Why aren't they creating jobs in the private sector? Well, it has a lot to do with Washington, DC., my friend.

I yield to the gentleman from Colorado.

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Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I would make a quick point on that if I could.

Some folks who want to invest, they've had the dream all of their life to create a small business, a little shop, maybe it's a bike shop, but to create that business. A lot of them are going to look at the metaphorical race, see the obstacles, and refuse to enter the race.

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