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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, what I would say is the Republicans on the House side, led by Chairman Camp, have been and are ready to make sure we resolve the issue of the payroll tax holiday extension right now. The issue has been the reluctance on the gentleman's side of the aisle on the other side of the Capitol. So if I thought that working 7 days a week, through weekends and all hours of the day and night would make a difference, I would be all for that as well.

The fact of the matter is, Mr. Speaker, this House continues to act. This House passed a yearlong extension that also did not have the effect of raiding the Social Security trust fund, something that the gentleman and I both want to make sure happens, that we restore the integrity of that fund for the people who are counting on it.

But, Mr. Speaker, I would say the House also, this week, acted on several measures that, frankly, are very relevant to the work of the conference committee, but yet no action by the Senate. One of those things, as the gentleman knows, was passed out of the House this week. It was a measure calling for a pay freeze at the Federal level for Federal employees, including Members of the House and Senate. This was a bipartisan vote; 309 Members voted for that. It allowed for about $26 billion in savings that could be easily included in the conference committee deliberations, something that our side continues to want to include, but yet no answer from the Senate majority leader and his conferees.

So, again, I would tell the gentleman, please, we are as anxious as you are to try and resolve these issues.

We had another vote this week, Mr. Speaker, which garnered 400 votes in the House--a bipartisan bill--which called for some necessary reforms to the TANF program. These were reforms which preclude the use of the monies that beneficiaries receive for purchases of services at casinos and other types of establishments, that perhaps those monies could be better spent not in those places; but again, no response from the Senate.

And I would ask the gentleman if he could please direct his urgency towards the majority leader in the Senate to see if we can get this off the dime and resolve the issue of the payroll tax so we can, as the gentleman suggests, send a very certain signal to the people who are struggling out there, working day in and day out, that their taxes will not go up.

As for the gentleman's suggestion about the job numbers, I don't know if he saw my public statement this morning, but I said that was welcome news, that when you have job creation like that, welcome news, but I also think we can do a lot better.

I was pleased to see that the President came out this week and said he now, too, wants to be a champion of small business; and we say we are happy to work with this White House so that we can provide the help to small businesses. We will be bringing to the floor, before tax day, a small business tax cut bill that goes right at the issue of helping small business people, allowing them more incentive to invest their capital so they can create jobs and we can see this economy really take off.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman, first of all, I do hope that we can act in an expeditious manner to accomplish the same goal that he's stated. That I agree with. We need to let the people of this country out there who are working so hard know that they are not going to have their taxes go up on them and that we should allow that certainty for a full year, the position this House has taken from the very beginning.

I would say to the gentleman about his assertions of our policies and those under the last President and perhaps their effect on job creation or job loss, the issue is right now--and my question to the gentleman is, as far as that's concerned: Doesn't he agree that we could be doing better?

And that's my point, Mr. Speaker: we can do better. We can do better by focusing on the private sector small businessmen and -women so that we can empower them to begin to invest and create jobs again. We can do better. That is what we intend to do straight up through policies that affect reduction of red tape in this town to make it easier for small businessmen and -women to operate; as I indicated before, a bill to be brought forward to provide for a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses.

And I hope if the gentleman says he's for small businesses that he'll join us in a bipartisan way to support a bill that provides for a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses.

Now, I would ask the gentleman as well, he continues to advocate higher taxes for people, higher taxes. That's what we hear: higher taxes on people who make a lot of money. Well, the fact is, the result of that is putting more money into this town, putting more money into the hands of Washington so that Washington can decide where people's money is spent.

We all know we've got a spending problem, and we all know that raising taxes does not dig us out of the hole. So I would just ask the gentleman, Does he think that's going to fix the problem? It's not as if we're saying we don't want to help the people who are out there struggling. That's what we're trying to do. So I'm looking forward to working with him in a bipartisan way to see if we can get resolution on these issues.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, first of all, we expect to vote on the bill the week of the 13th. I think there will be adequate time for Members to review the bill and the text, to the gentleman's concern about Mr. Rahall's inquiry last night in the committee. That is exactly why we are allowing for the time, so that Members can review such a big bill, a bill that means so many jobs to so many Americans.

I hope that the gentleman will be true to his nature, which is bipartisan, and to work with us, because this American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act is just that; it's a jobs bill. It is a bill that can provide some certainty to our contractors, some certainty to our communities so that we can start to grow again and see jobs proliferate.

But I find it ironic that the gentleman complains about paying for it, because he talks about our wanting to open up our resources, our resources offshore, our resources in ANWR as, number one, an attempt to allow America to develop finally a national energy policy, but to also promote jobs.

The gentleman knows, as I do, the energy sector provides an awful lot of jobs in plenty parts of this country, and can do a lot more, and is willing. Private capital, willing to deploy to create jobs.

But I find it also ironic, Mr. Speaker, that the gentleman complains that there's no bipartisanship because somehow we're not working with the administration. Well, the administration's been absent on all of this. They're not interested in working with us to create a product where we can see jobs created.

As you can see, the Secretary sits in his office and opines and attacks the bill, saying it is all the negative things that he said. Now, that's not a way to collaborate and work together. And the gentleman knows that as well. The gentleman knows that that is certainly not how things have worked in this town if you want to produce a result.

So the gentleman can claim the mantle of wanting to work together and that the administration is being trampled by some action here. He knows good and well, Mr. Speaker, that this administration has been absent in so many of the discussions on so many important issues. And the fact that we differ on policy, yes. But I think the gentleman also knows that reasonable people can disagree, but that doesn't mean that we can't work together to find some things that we agree on.

Certainly, we agree on jobs. The gentleman says we agree on small business. I'm looking for his support of that small business tax credit bill. And we agree on infrastructure spending being an important part of our economy. So I'm looking forward to the next week or so, as the bill works its way to the floor, to hopefully garner his support.

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Mr. CANTOR. Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. I join the gentleman in thinking Secretary LaHood is a fine gentleman, but all I can say is actions speak louder than words.

What I would say to the gentleman about his request for the President's jobs bill and whether we're bringing the whole bill up for a vote, I'd ask the gentleman, How many Members on his side of the aisle have actually sponsored that bill?

I think that there are certainly many elements of that bill that we can all agree on, and, in fact, we have voted on four separate elements, big elements, of the President's small business agenda that he announced this week that were part of that bill: crowd funding, many offerings to help small business access financing; a bill to provide for 100 percent depreciation; the provisions that will allow for more ability for small business to see money go to the bottom line so they can grow; and a bill that we passed out of this House to eliminate country caps for immigration for highly skilled workers. All these are part of the President's proposals. All these the House has passed, and they sit, and they sit on the other side of the Capitol.

So I would say to the gentleman, he knows, as well as I do, that more stimulus spending as a part of that, the President's proposal, is something we don't accept, but there's plenty in there that we can agree on.

Back to the notion of bipartisanship. Let's set aside differences and find where we can agree. These are areas that we can agree on. So I would say to the gentleman, please work with us. Please point the ire to the majority leader on the other side of the Capitol and say, bring these bills up. These are jobs bills. The President said so this week.

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Mr. CANTOR. If the gentleman could yield just for a correction. There's no need for pay-fors on these bills. These bills are something that were cleared out of the House in a revenue neutral way.

Mr. HOYER. The individual bills. You're right.

Mr. CANTOR. Right. So, again, the gentleman is correct in saying there is bipartisan support for these bills. The President supports them. Where's the problem? It's across the hallway here, and if we could actually get the majority there to help move these bills, we could make some progress.

Mr. HOYER. We could make some progress if, frankly, the majority leader could get 60 votes to enact the legislation and transact business on the floor of the Senate. Unfortunately, as the gentleman very well knows, the majority leader, Harry Reid, has had very great difficulty getting 60 votes to proceed with business on the floor of the House of the United States Senate. I think that's unfortunate.

But let me move on because the gentleman went from an infrastructure bill, which, as Secretary LaHood said, was the most partisan bill he's seen in 35 years, and shifted to the jobs, on which we agree. The fact of the matter is that I want to talk about another piece of legislation that the Senate has worked on. We have a bill here. We've asked that it be taken from the floor, from the desk and put on the floor, and that's the STOCK Act. The gentleman has expressed support for the STOCK Act. I'm hopeful that we can pass a House bill and then go to conference with the Senate on a bill in the near future.

Would the gentleman comment on that.

Mr. CANTOR. It has always been my intention to try and act with dispatch on this very important issue and to get the President a bill that he can sign as quickly as possible.

Again, the underlying notion is, as the gentleman believes, we need to make sure that the people that send us here know that we are acting and abiding by the trust that they place in us. That's what the STOCK Act is about. So what we're going to do next week, Mr. Speaker, as I indicated earlier, is we are going to act with dispatch. We are going to take up the Senate bill. We are currently reviewing the actions the Senate took on that bill, and we intend to strengthen that bill, again, to do so in a way that can get a bill to the President's desk as quickly as possible so that there is no misunderstanding on the part of the people that sent us here that they can have trust in this institution and the Members, and there is no perception whatsoever that anyone here misuses information that they gain in the performance of their duties for their own personal benefit.

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Mr. CANTOR. I say to the gentleman, first of all, I know the gentleman likes to talk about past Congresses. When he was House majority leader, he did not bring this STOCK Act to the floor, and it was a submitted bill. So let's set the record straight. This majority leader is going to bring a STOCK Act bill to the floor next week.

I would also say, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Walz's bill actually would weaken the Senate bill; and it is our intention to pass and get to the President a workable, strong bill that makes sure that we're delivering on the promise that we made to the people that sent us here. I hope the gentleman--I know he wants to join me in the effort to reinstill the confidence of the public that we are abiding by that trust.

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