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Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed--Resumed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, entrepreneurs and new businesses are vital to the strength of the U.S. economy. We need to be a competitive country in which we have great success in creating jobs in America.

Between 1980 and 2005, startup companies--less than 5 years old--accounted for nearly all the net new jobs created in our country. New firms create an average of approximately 3 million jobs each year. In order to create jobs for Americans, we need to create an environment where entrepreneurs are free to pursue their ideas, start businesses, and hire American workers.

Now, why is this important? This is important, obviously, for the purpose of creating the opportunity for all Americans to pursue the American dream. It is important for us to have the ability to put food on our families' tables and save for our kids' education and save for our own retirement. And it is important because at a time in our Nation in which the fiscal condition of the Federal Government is so serious, so much out of balance--we are spending so many more dollars than we take in--the deficit is holding back the growth of our country. These facts are important because at this point in time, because of our country's fiscal condition, we have an inability to grow the economy, and we have seen little evidence that the administration and Congress are willing to address our fiscal issues.

I raise these facts because we have to act now in order to create jobs in this country. The way to do that is to create an entrepreneurial and innovation environment in which people--Americans--who have ideas want to take a product to market. In the process of pursuing their success, they put other Americans to work. We need to create the environment in which that can happen. In the process of creating the benefits of new jobs in America, we will have a better fiscal condition than the one we find ourselves in today and avoid the chances that the United States will become another Greece or other southern European country.

A number of us in the Senate who believe we can work together to accomplish this have come together and entered into negotiations and created legislation based upon information provided by the Kauffman Foundation on entrepreneurship in Kansas City, as well as the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. On the floor with me today are several of those colleagues. The Senator from Virginia, Mr. Warner, and I gathered together our thoughts several months ago and introduced legislation called the Startup Act. Also on the floor this afternoon is Senator Coons of Delaware. He and the Senator from Florida, Mr. Rubio, introduced the AGREE Act, designed to put some things in place that most Members of Congress agreed upon to grow technology and create jobs. The four of us then came together with an idea and have now introduced Startup Act 2.0.

Today, Members of the House of Representatives introduced companion legislation--this morning--in a bipartisan effort. So we now have a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation that we believe is important to the country. We believe it is important to individual citizens, and we believe it is important in the ability for us to have the economic growth necessary to begin the process of making our country fiscally sound again.

This legislation has a number of components related to the Tax Code, related to the regulatory environment, related to the global battle for talent, related to the ability for us to take the money we spend--the taxpayer dollars at universities in conducting research--and to encourage that money be spent in a way for research that is able to be used in bringing new products to market, in commercialization, and to create an environment in which States across the country can demonstrate their interest and willingness in pursuing an entrepreneurial environment so that entrepreneurs and innovators find a place to build their companies.

It is an honor to be here this afternoon to highlight this legislation, to encourage our other colleagues to join us, and to approach this in a way that says we believe this is something more than just introducing a bill, it is something that is important not just as a symbol that we are working together, but we are of the belief that this is legislation that can follow the JOBS Act that was passed by this Congress and signed by this President several months ago, that we can follow on with legislation that will increase the chances that entrepreneurship is alive and well and America retains its competitive place in a global economy.

Let me ask my colleagues if they would like to join in this discussion. I would yield to the Senator from Virginia.

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Mr. MORAN. I very much appreciate the remark of the Senator from Missouri and his cosponsorship of this legislation.

Let me highlight something he pointed out, which is in the short time that those of us on the floor today have been in the Senate, about 14 months, seven countries have adopted new laws to attract entrepreneurs. We have not.

Listen to this fact. A recent report from the World Bank shows that America has slipped in the rankings in terms of startup friendliness from first to thirteenth. There are provisions in here about visas for those who were foreign born. This is very much about American jobs. This is about the opportunity for someone to start a company here and hire Americans. If they happen to be someone who is foreign born but highly educated in science, technology, engineering and entrepreneurial with money and they want to invest in the U.S. economy and agree to put people to work, we are saying the doors of the United States of America are open for business for purposes of hiring U.S. citizens.

It is an important component. We do not want to lose this battle. As we see, these are ads from U.S. publications in which entrepreneurs are being lured to places outside the United States to start their companies. When I visited with an entrepreneur recently, they said: We could not get the person we needed to hire to work at our company because they could not get a visa. They were foreign born. So we hired them, but we put them in our plant in Canada. We put them in our facility in Dublin.

The fear is, the concern, there is more than just those number of jobs that we are out to create in the United States. It means people who are entrepreneurial are now in Dublin and in Toronto where they are making decisions not just about what they have to do today for a check, but when they have an idea about starting a business, they are outside of the United States and we lose the benefit of that job growth.

Let me also say something else about this legislation. An entrepreneurial engineer told me to get a plane to fly, there are two forces at work: thrust and drag. Too many times, in my view, Congress spends its efforts in creating new laws, more spending, it promotes the thrust. What we are doing is reducing the drag, increasing the chances that a new business will succeed.

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Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, the answer to that in Kansas is that it doesn't make any sense at all. There is no good judgment there. That is a point I would make in a more broad way. The provisions of Startup 2.0 are mostly about common sense, things that would make sense to the people of my State and to the people of the State of Virginia who, if you looked at a problem said how can you solve it and grow the economy, they would say these things make common sense. That is what this legislation is about.

In my view, I guess 80 percent of our colleagues in the Senate at least would be supportive of the provisions of this legislation. I think the Senators on the floor this afternoon and others are out to prove that when there is broad support for commonsense ideas, we are still in a legislative body that can accomplish much and that, as the Senator from Virginia is fond of saying, we didn't get the memo that says we don't work during an election year. The American people expect us to make the necessary accomplishments to grow the economy, to put Americans to work, and to get our fiscal house in order.

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