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Mr. CONNOLLY. I thank my dear friend from New York, the ranking member of the Rules Committee.
Madam Speaker, I urge my colleague to oppose the previous question so we can bring up a proven jobs bill for consideration, rather than rehash the same old critiques for the 36th time on the Affordable Care Act.
Just last week, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston warned that if job creation doesn't pick up soon, we run the risk of long-term unemployment becoming a structural rather than cyclical problem within our economy. Despite more than 6 million new jobs being created in the last 4 years, the lingering effects of the Great Recession continue to be a drag on the labor market. Unemployment in the construction sector, particularly, is nearly double the national rate, with hiring down 2 million from its peak in 2006.
I have introduced the Put America Back to Work Act, H.R. 535, which would permanently reauthorize the successful Build America Bonds program at a more revenue-neutral rate. In just 2 years, that program, Madam Speaker, supported $181 billion in community infrastructure projects in every State of the Union and created thousands of new jobs. Every dollar of Federal investment leveraged $41 in private sector funds to help our State and local governments recover and construct the needed infrastructure throughout the country. Local governments issued more than $275 million in new bonds, with one of the largest projects completing a missing segment of a cross-county parkway in my district that now links major employment centers.
Reauthorizing Build America Bonds is part of the President's Rebuild America Partnership initiative, and it is part of the Make It In America agenda put forth by Steny Hoyer, our minority whip. More important, it has the strong support of investors, local governments, State governments, and construction companies throughout the United States. Build America Bonds helped provide 36 percent of all municipal bond sales back in 2009-2010 when, literally, municipal bonds had stopped being issued.
Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in opposing the previous question so we can bring up H.R. 535. Let's do something for America, its localities, its States, its crumbling infrastructure. These investments reap large and long-term returns. Look at the interstate highway system, a gift that keeps on giving 65 years later.
Defeating the previous question will allow us to come together finally on a bipartisan basis and do something for our country. Build America Bonds is an idea whose time has arrived.
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