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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend from Florida for yielding.
As we meet this afternoon, 15 million Americans are unemployed. The President has a proposal to put people to work modernizing 35,000 schools in America, but we're not voting on that bill.
The President has a proposal that would avoid a $1,500 a year tax increase on middle class Americans January 1 if we don't act, but we're not voting on that bill.
The President has ideas to help the real job creators, the small businesses of this country, get bank loans from the people they bailed out with their tax dollars in the TARP bill a couple of years ago, but we're not voting on that bill.
Now, we are voting on a bill that we should support that says that businesses should not have to make an interest-free loan to the government when they do business with the government. I'm for that. But you do need to understand the way this bill is paid for. This bill does have an offset, meaning it will not add to the deficit. I think we're all for that. But it's important to understand the way we make that decision. There were two options as to how we might take care of that offset. We said let's go to the industry that's had the most successful year in its history, the oil industry, and stop giving our tax dollars to the oil industry when they're making record profits. That idea is not up for a vote.
What is up for a vote is a provision that may make some sense. It may make some sense. It essentially deals with the adjustment formula for benefits under the new health care law. But we're not really sure exactly how the proposal will operate. There is a risk that some deserving middle class people will pay higher health insurance premiums if this is not done in the right way.
So understand this: The first way we could have paid for this bill would be to go to the oil industry and say you've had enough time at the public trough, you're making record profits, no. Or we could say let's roll the dice and let's try this experiment with the health premiums of middle class people. Guess who won?
Now we thought it would be a good idea to at least put the two ideas up for a vote, but this rule doesn't do that. So the House will have to work its will today on the underlying bill. I'm going to vote for the underlying bill, but I'd really look forward to voting next week--and let me say one other thing. The plan for the House the rest of the year is to be here another 14 days between now and New Year's Day, and take the rest of the year off. A lot of Americans are going to have the rest of the year off, too--involuntarily, because they're out of work. Let's get to the business of creating an environment where small businesses create jobs for the people of this country. Let's put Americans back to work after we do this good business of today.
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