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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.
Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or conservative, no matter where you live, I think most people agree that the number one issue confronting our country is the lack of jobs for the American people. It is the central issue of our times, central problem of our times. The American people want us to look forward and work together and solve that problem rather than looking backward and relitigating political debates.
One hundred ninety-five days ago, the President of the United States came to this Chamber and set forth a series of specific ideas to put Americans back to work. One of those ideas was to put construction workers back to work in repairing and building our roads and bridges, building schools, wiring schools for the Internet, and in putting our construction industry and transportation industry back to work. We're going to spend 6 hours debating whether to repeal part of the health care bill--again. We're not going to spend 6 minutes debating a bill that would put our construction workers back to work fixing our roads and bridges.
The Republican leadership of the House is kind of isolated on this because Democrats in the other body voted for a bill to put our construction workers back to work; and Republicans in the other body voted for the same bill. Three-quarters of the Senate voted for a bill to put our construction workers back to work.
The Democrats are ready to vote for that bill. We introduced a version of that yesterday that says let's do that here, but the House Republican leadership won't put this bill on the floor. So instead what we're going to do is have what are recurring debates about whether to repeal the health care bill.
People feel very strongly about the health care bill, pro and con; but I think most people feel even more strongly it's the wrong thing for us to be talking about right now. If there's a bill that three-quarters of the Senate voted for to put Americans back to work, why don't we vote on that here today? Instead, what we're going to do is vote on repealing part of the bill that talks about a committee that might or might not take action 5 years from now to do something about the way Medicare money is spent.
I think if you said to a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or a conservative anywhere in this country, What would you like your House of Representatives to be voting on today: a bill that three-quarters of the Senate agreed to to put construction transportation workers back to work, or a bill that will decide whether a body will or won't act 5 years from now on the way Medicare is going to be run? I think we all know the answer to that.
The right thing to do is to oppose this rule and instead put on the floor the Senate transportation bill that three-quarters of the Senate voted for. Let's approve it, let's put it on the President's desk, and let's finally work together to put Americans back to work.
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