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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Speaker, to my dear and distinguished friend, the gentleman, the young chairman of the Rules Committee, David Dreier, thank you very much.
It is David's leadership, not just in the Rules Committee but, I believe, to all of us here in the House of Representatives, that David has led us to be a more open, thoughtful body; a person who used his time and position, power of the Rules Committee in the committee that's upstairs, to speak with all the Members of this body about their ideas that they represent and to make this a more open body. This institution is better because of David Dreier. And I am very aware of what lies ahead for me, but, David, you have done a great job, and thank you. Thank you very much.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today really to support what Chairman Dreier and the gentleman, Mr. McGovern, have been speaking for, and that is a rule and the underlying legislation.
There are over 23 million Americans right now looking for work that are either over- or underemployed in our country, Mr. Speaker. So today is a jobs bill, another jobs bill that is important, and permanent normalized trade relations with Russia and Moldova will provide that much-needed boost, just a little bit. But a boost to the direction of adding jobs and making sure that the jobs we have here in this country to provide goods and services to another country are on an equal basis is important.
This PNTR vote will mean that we're expected to double exports to Russia in just 5 years and to help create and strengthen jobs in this country while providing Russia with a great product at the right price, whether it's in manufacturing, agriculture, or the service industry. I believe this is an important bill for us to move on a bipartisan basis.
Russia is the ninth largest economy and has a population of about 142 million people. It has a large and growing middle class. And Russia holds outstanding potential for the United States, not just in the business interests, but also for goods and services to make the lives of the Russian people even better.
My home State of Texas is the top exporter to Russia among U.S. States, and Texas imports to Russia are growing faster than its exports for the rest of the world. Specifically, Texas exported $1.6 billion worth of goods to Russia in 2011. We, in Texas, value this relationship, the jobs, the exporting, and the ability to have better products and services in Russia, with the Russian people making those decisions to buy these products and services. This legislation today will only help us build on that success, growing not just more jobs, but, really, the American economy.
So I will say this on behalf of all of us. This is an important bill. We needed to work together. We need leadership of this body, all the Members, as well as the Senate and the President to make this happen.
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