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Making a Difference by Fixing the Economy

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. GIBBS. Madam Speaker, in about 3 weeks I will mark the anniversary of my first year in Congress. I ran for Congress because I thought I could make a difference. I was concerned about the direction this country was headed and, like many of my colleagues, we thought we could make a difference, and we are making a difference. But we are frustrated because still, almost a year later, the economy is still in stagnation and many American families are suffering.

The way we fix the economy, in my opinion, is we've got to restore confidence; and the way we do that is we energize the American people. We reinsert American innovation, entrepreneurship, and the American spirit.

There's four key areas I think to restore that confidence. One is we've got to cut this deficit spending. We've got to get our spending under control. We passed a budget here in the House that cut almost $6 trillion over 10 years.

Unfortunately, the United States Senate hasn't passed a budget in over 900-plus days. That's not the way to get our fiscal house in order.

Additionally, when we passed our budget, we also put Medicare on a firm reform plan so it's here for the future.

Number two, we need to have commonsense regulatory reform. Right now, in our $15 trillion economy, it's been reported that regulations are costing our economy $1.75 trillion annually. The Obama administration, by their own admission, has over 200 new regulations in the pipeline that will cost over $100 billion annually, and that's by their own admission, so I hate to think how much more it could be.

This week, hopefully, we're going to pass a regulatory reform bill called the REINS Act, whereby any new proposal that's going to cost our economy over $100 million by a Federal agency would have to come back for an up-down vote by the United States Congress. I think that puts accountability on our Federal agencies.

Number three, we need to pass some tax reform. Unfortunately, in 12 1/2 months we're going to see the largest--under current law--the largest tax increase in American history. That is not the proper way to go. That puts a cloud over the certainty and providing confidence for our businesses to want to grow their businesses knowing that they're looking at the largest tax increase in American history.

Fourth, we need an energy policy that encourages the development of resources here in our country. We're exporting almost $1 trillion a year and many, many jobs overseas for energy. We don't need to be doing that.

We've passed, on a bipartisan basis, our jobs plan. We currently have 25 bills that we've passed on a bipartisan basis that would restore confidence and get this economy moving in the regulatory reform areas and the budget.

I want to highlight the one at the top of the list, H.R. 872. That's a bill that I brought to this floor in March that passed by a bipartisan supermajority, nearly 300 votes. The thing that I don't understand that's very frustrating to me, that bill, as with the other 24 bills, have gone over to the United States Senate and they're stacking up like cord wood. They haven't been acted on.

I think the American people deserve to have a full, open debate on the floor of the United States Senate on these bills and vote on them. They deserve that. And that's our jobs plan. And it's a jobs plan that moves us forward.

I cannot implore enough that we need to have action on these bills that will restore confidence and grow our economy. The future of our kids, the future of our country, our national security is at stake; and we must pass the jobs plan.

Spending more money and growing government is not the answer. The answer is commonsense regulatory reform, tax reform, balanced budget, and an energy policy that develops and creates jobs here in America and moves us towards national security and prosperity.


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