Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I join with my earlier colleague in acknowledging the 150th year of the Emancipation Proclamation. What a moving moment last evening at the National Archives when I read the words: Hence forth these slaves are free.
I rise with a more optimistic view and a view that says we have the opportunity to do what is right by the American people. But we must also recognize that we have to tell the truth. At the end of the Clinton administration, this Nation had $5 trillion in surplus. But with wasteful tax cuts and spending by our Republican friends, we find ourselves in this deficit.
I don't know what my decision will be as we move forward on this issue of the fiscal cliff, but I will say this: we will not tolerate the American people being held hostage over the debt ceiling and these unhelpful cuts that will cut into those who are the most vulnerable. That will not be the pathway that we will take because every economist will tell you that if you invest in your people and build infrastructure, you will grow this country and you'll turn this economy and you'll be able to get people jobs. That's the message that will come forth from this day, January 1, when we are here in this Congress.
I want the American people to be optimistic because there are Members of Congress that will fight for your growth, your opportunity, your freedom. That is what America is all about.