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Public Statements

Legislative Program

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Maryland, the Democratic whip, for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, on Monday and Tuesday, no votes are expected in the House. On Wednesday, the House will meet at noon for morning-hour and 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30 p.m. On Thursday, the House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning-hour and noon for legislative business. On Friday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes of the week are expected no later than 3 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, the House will consider a number of bills under suspension of the rules next week, including a prioritization of visas for foreign graduates of American universities in the STEM fields, an issue being championed by Chairman Lamar Smith, the gentleman from Texas, as well as Bob Goodlatte from Virginia and Raúl Labrador from Idaho. A complete list of suspensions will be announced by the close of business today.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, the House will consider H.J. Res. 118, sponsored by Chairman Dave Camp, which provides for congressional disapproval of the rules submitted by the Department of Health and Human Services relating to waivers of work requirements with respect to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

The House will also consider H.R. 3409, the Stop the War on Coal Act, sponsored by Bill Johnson of Ohio, which is a package of bills to expand domestic energy production and help create American jobs.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, Members are advised that with the Senate's expected passage of the continuing resolution, we no longer anticipate votes in the House during the week of October 1. This is a change from the original House calendar.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Before I get to the farm bill, I would just like to respond to the initial statements about the House's work in terms of jobs and taxes.

The gentleman well knows that we have sent to the

Senate well over 30 measures that are job-creating bills that will help improve the environment for small business men and women to actually begin to invest and create jobs again.

We've also, as the gentleman knows, passed H.R. 8, the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act. We did that on August 1. It was a bipartisan vote, including 19 House Democrats. This followed up on over 20 hearings on tax reform in this Congress. What we did in that bill, Mr. Speaker, as the gentleman recalls, is we made sure that taxes are not going to go up on anybody right now because of the economic situation that exists throughout this country. We don't believe that it is a desirable outcome to see taxes go up on anyone and to take more of their money right now while they're having a difficult time getting through the month.

That is why, Mr. Speaker, we continue to stand on the side of the hardworking taxpayers, and we ask the gentleman to please, when he cites the fact that we didn't pass his job bill, we passed a jobs bill. We passed numerous jobs bills--in fact, over 30 jobs bills--sitting in the Senate. The inaction has been on the Senate.

So, Mr. Speaker, with the gentleman's question about the farm bill, I, in fact, just came out of a meeting with one of his members to talk about the farm bill. We're trying to look for ways forward. Yes, there can be a possibility that we act again on the issue of the disaster of the drought. As the gentleman rightly said, we passed a drought relief bill on the livestock issue. It's sitting over in the Senate. Again, inaction.

The gentleman indicates the reason for opposition to that bill. There is nothing in the bill that is controversial. It's a fact that some who insist on having something else in the bill didn't have it. Well, one thing we know in common is we're all for allowing the relief on the livestock issue for the farmers.

Why can't we get that done? Why can't we just finally decide to say, You know what? There are some areas of disagreement, and we realize that, reasonable people do, and certainly in election season it sort of emphasizes that, unfortunately. But we also know there are things in common. Addressing the livestock drought issue is something we do have in common. We passed that out of the House.

Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman any indication that he could give that perhaps there would be some movement on that would be, I think, a positive thing for the farmers. We continue to work on how to go forward, and, yes, there could be a possibility there is some action next week on the issue of the farm bill, looking to find ways that we can work together on issues that we all support, not issues that divide us.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I would say that there is not agreement right now that we ought to raise taxes in this economy. The reason is, Mr. Speaker, that we are concerned about those individuals that the gentleman speaks about that perhaps may be out of work, or underemployed, or trying to make it and having a real difficult time. We're concerned about those people, and the best thing we can do is create a job and see them go back to work.

We saw that this summer Ernst & Young put out a study demonstrating that his tax policy--the gentleman's tax policy, the President's plan to raise taxes--is going to destroy 710,000 jobs, slash $200 billion from the economy, and lower wages for all working Americans by 1.8 percent. That's what that study said.

So, no, there's not agreement that we should raise taxes like that because if you raise taxes, there are going to be less jobs, there is going to be less growth. We're trying to focus on those people who need to get back to work, who want to get back to work. That's where the agreement is--that we all want to help people. We just don't believe that you help people right now by laying down a tax increase, putting more money into the government that can't seem to figure out a way to fix the problem once and for all. That's what we want to do, fix that problem, help those people.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Again, no, that's not why these bills haven't passed. First of all, the Violence Against Women Act passed out of this House. It's sitting over in the Senate because the Senate's got its own bill that has a blue slip problem. Let the legislative process work over there, send us a bill, and we'll get something done. The gentleman did not, on his side, overwhelmingly join us in the VAWA bill. Okay. So the fact that the minority didn't get their way, they wouldn't join us on the bill. We went and did our work.

And I'll say more to the gentleman, Mr. Speaker. The postal reform bill, the fact of the matter is his side, Mr. Speaker, the minority will not agree to reforms. Everyone knows the post office needs reforms. Everyone knows the debt that that organization continues to incur and lays on the U.S. taxpayers. We're trying to fix that problem. But because the gentleman and his colleagues refuse to go along with reforms like a 5-day delivery--this is something that the President supports. But because his side refuses to go along with trying to reform that organization, we can't move. Again, it's this insistence: We can't do that. We all know that's common sense. Common sense is reforming the postal service--something everyone knows needs reform. That's why that bill didn't pass, Mr. Speaker.

We've got another issue on the farm bill. There are issues of policy differences. And the gentleman knows throughout last year we went through a lot of these policy differences in the SNAP program and the rest. We have GAO recommendations year in and year out about that program, but unwillingness on the part of the minority to ever engage in a discussion of real reform in those programs.

Again, let's remember what we're talking about in a farm bill. Most of it by far are not farm programs, they're food programs. Again, raising the question of how it is we're going to go forward, we need to understand the specifics and know there are real policy differences. Yes, we're all willing to work together--or at least we are on this side. So I really take exception with the gentleman's assertions that somehow we're sitting here demanding everything. No. We want to work together and set aside differences and agree on things we can find in common. That's how anybody in everyday life tries to run their business or run their family. It's not all or nothing. It's not black or white.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman, it's not true. We don't want to exclude anybody from the benefits under VAWA, and he knows that. It was simply a matter of new language inserted by the Senate that, really, we don't want to deny those benefits to anyone. We want everyone to have the benefits and not exclude some by specifically identifying others, and the gentleman knows that. It's unfair to characterize anything we're trying to do to exclude people from benefits when they are subject to domestic abuse. All of us care about those victims.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding again.

First of all I'd ask, was there over 8 percent unemployment then? That's the first thing, Mr. Speaker.

We are about trying to do something to get people back to work. And if you're worried about the 98 percent, which we all are, the best thing we can do is to make sure there are more jobs. And so our objection to the gentleman's proposal to raise taxes is the fact that that tax hike that he's advocating is going to affect 53 percent of all small business income. The Joint Committee on Tax says that.

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Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, the point is about jobs. Okay?

And the jobs come from the small businesses who are generating income. If you want to help people who are creating jobs, don't raise their taxes, especially when unemployment is over 8 percent.

It's about jobs. I mean, that's the thing, Mr. Speaker. We always hear somehow that we're favoring some big bad business. No, we're about the businesses who create jobs. Small businesses, according to the Small Business Administration definition, create jobs.

So, Mr. Speaker, just because, in the gentleman's mind, somehow somebody he doesn't like because they're so successful gets a benefit, the overwhelming majority of the people who will not get a tax hike under our plan will go out and create a job.

Mr. HOYER. Reclaiming my time, Mr. Speaker, it is an absurd assertion that people I don't like. I would hope the gentleman would retract that. It has nothing to do with people we like or don't like.

Mr. CANTOR. I absolutely retract that, Mr. Speaker. I absolutely retract that. But the gentleman continues to malign people who he feels don't deserve the same treatment on taxes. And what we're saying, if they're successful, that means they're creating jobs. That's the prescription we need right now is more jobs.

Our policy is about helping those small businessmen and women who are creating jobs so we can finally do something to bring this unemployment down and get people back to work. That's all.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I think the differences are very plain. The gentleman has a way of simplifying things. According to what I took from what the gentleman just said, if we'd just raised taxes, all those jobs wouldn't have been lost, and everything would have been fine. Again, our proposition is completely the opposite.

We believe that we've got a real spending problem here, Mr. Speaker. We've got a problem with an unwillingness to reform some programs. The gentleman talks about Members having to pay more when, in fact, it was our side that put forward the proposal that we should actually allow and require Members as well as Federal employees to pay more towards their retirements. The gentleman wasn't supportive of that. We've got some serious unfunded obligations at the Federal level. The American people know that. We are trying to solve problems. The problems are not solved by raising taxes.

Now, if the gentleman is so intent on raising taxes--again, because there is a 2 percent that he just wants to pay more--I ask the gentleman to join us in actually fixing the problem that all experts say you can't tax your way out of and you can't grow your way out of.

You've got to reform the programs. Mr. Speaker, we've been the only ones to put forward a plan that even begins to solve the problem--the President has not; the Senate has not; and the gentleman has not.

It's about solving problems, producing results for the hardworking taxpayers of this country who so desperately want to see us go forward, reclaim America in its true aspirational sense and be that place of opportunity.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman.

I'm going to try and make sure that I don't bring on even more because I know our colleagues are waiting to speak.

I would say to the gentleman there is not unanimity on his side, as he knows, on Bowles-Simpson. In fact, the minority leader rejected Bowles-Simpson and the President has not endorsed Bowles-Simpson, which is part of the issue that the gentleman seeks some clarification on, which is: Where is the plan to get us out of this? The President was unwilling to even adopt that.

The gentleman I think knows the reason why our side rejects Bowles-Simpson. We believe there are some good things in Bowles-Simpson, and I do look forward to working with the gentleman to see if we can work together in a cooperative fashion to get some results and resolve this cloud hanging over the economy. I'm looking forward to that.

But Bowles-Simpson, number one, is not this so-called balanced approach, unless you say $1.22 in new taxes with $1 in cuts is balanced. We don't believe so, because we believe it has a detrimental impact on the growth of the economy.

We also believe that the Bowles-Simpson revenue target of 21 percent of GDP is the highest target and something that exceeds that which we've been at pretty much over the last 70-something years, save for 3 years. We believe that that is too much of a revenue flow into Washington for Washington to make the decisions.

We've got an issue there about the amount of taxes and the size of government. Yes, it's a totally legitimate discussion point, but it's an issue. It's not just rejection out of hand like the minority leader and the President have said. They reject that. We say this is why, and then we also say the disproportionate driver of the deficit is health care entitlements. The gentleman and I both agree upon that. How are we going to deal with it?

Bowles-Simpson leaves in place the structural nature of those programs now and doesn't address this fundamental problem of growing unfunded liabilities. We want to solve that so that the safety net programs are there for the future and save them. That's our position.

So I do look forward to working with the gentleman. There are some great things about tax reform in Bowles-Simpson. I want to work with the gentleman on that, and, if we can, have a conversation about resolving the deficit and the spending.

Again, I'm trying not to invoke any more time, Mr. Speaker.

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