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Public Statements

Make it in America

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. JACKSON LEE. I want to thank my good friend from California for really framing the discussion tonight around, I think, the only theme that gives us the kind of positive agenda that puts Americans back to work. We know, as the economy collapsed, 12 million were out of work. We also know that we have steadily made an increase, but it's not where any of us would like to be.

I listened to the gentleman so eloquently and so effectively ask the simple question as to why are we again putting on the floor of the House a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, something that has not only been resoundingly embraced by many of our leaders and by the uninsured in our Nation who are looking forward to the opportunity to be insured, but in the last election, I think it was very clear that, in the affirmation of President Obama, 64 million-plus people voted for him, and an enormous, unequaled divide in the States supported him, and he made it clear that he wanted to ensure, on behalf of the American people, that there would be the coverage of working families.

Now, as he looks to implementation, we recognize that Members of Congress will be engaged in making it work right, but we also realize that the Affordable Care Act will provide more resources for health professionals, that it will establish more federally qualified health clinics, which will create more jobs, and that it will attack the dastardly number, my friend, Mr. Garamendi, of 28.4 percent uninsured, and of 6 percent uninsured in the State of Texas. Of course, our Governor sees fit to reject the expanded Medicaid.

I can't imagine why we have not embraced this

agenda, which includes the idea of all of the above and of creating clean energy and manufacturing jobs, bringing solar energy back to the United States again, making solar panels. Certainly, I'm aware of the fact that any country will grab what it can grab, but the United States has the capacity to do solar energy. It has the capacity to build wind turbines. All we have to do is invest.

It has the opportunity, in actuality, to build submarines and to get back in the shipbuilding business. I'm sure there are Members listening and saying, We've long left that business. No, I don't think so, because there is always a more technologically efficient, more effective, more swift, if you will, ship or submarine. You can always make it bigger and better, smaller and better. With the technological revolution, we also have the opportunity to raise the specter of manufacturing.

Of course, in the energy sector, where I come from, there is a whole array of opportunities as we utilize clean natural gas. That is making the manufacturing opportunities grow grander and grander, and I truly believe that we will find a common balance between natural gas producers and the manufacturers who need to use clean energy. Let me also say that the housing market is booming, and I am delighted to stand here and say that that is creating jobs, and many of these homes are being built on the basis of clean energy. H.R. 1524 is a bill that speaks to this issue.

I don't know why we are spending our time, 3 days, on the floor. I know that they will be in the Rules Committee tomorrow, and I will have a number of amendments that I hope to be introducing that hopefully speak to the issue of the utilization of expanded Medicaid for States that have 20 percent-plus of uninsured, the idea of ensuring that we include the right kind of Medicare reimbursement. These are issues that can go in regular order, but yet we are spending the Nation's time, dollars, and resources to be on the floor when we could be putting forward tax reform.

Many of us want to work on tax incentives for small businesses, the backbone of the economic engine of this country. My friends--I call them all my friends; I want small businesses to be paying attention--you are our friends. You create jobs. You stay the course.

Just today, I was listening to an individual in the ravaged area of Hurricane Sandy, and she was saying she has six restaurants. She was complaining that we had not done what we were supposed to do. Obviously you remember they stalled the compensation for those souls in that eye of the storm. We waited and our friends, the Republicans, wouldn't let the money out. She is a victim of that. She said I have six restaurants and some of the ones I cook in. But just give her, in addition to the compensation from FEMA which is overdue, give her a tax structure that can help her grow her business and pass legislation that gives incentives for hiring the unemployed. That's what should be on the floor of the House as we approach all of the excitement of graduation, when young people will be coming out of college doors, looking for the opportunity that America has always promised when they say we all are created equal.

I'll be going to a number of graduations. I know I will. You'll be speaking at graduations. What will you be saying to them? That America is a land of opportunity, yet we pound day after day after day after day, month after month, year after year on a bill that has been passed, signed into law and is being implemented, where physicians and researchers are saying thank you for the Affordable Care Act. For the items we have to fix, let's fix them together.

So I came to the floor to just say that I want to join the chorus of getting to work; I want to join the chorus of creating jobs. In fact, I want to join the chorus of putting our heads together and creating a summer youths' job program for the young people, high school students that are coming out in the middle of their high school years. We always used to be able to find work. No one cannot tell me that when we did it in 2009, the first year of President Obama's administration, it was a grand and exciting--it was not an experiment, but a grand and exciting response to all those young people who were in the high schools preparing to go to college.

Let me finish by saying this and just throw a little something on the table just to say that if we want to work, let's move toward immigration reform. That is another job creator and one that answers the questions of America's businesses. Let's do that. If we want to work--of course, I know I'll see a couple of my friend running out the door, but we can find sensible gun legislation. But I'll just say that if nothing else, can we get something that says store your guns?

Over the last weeks, we've been seeing people leave guns around and do this. So could you do that? Could you just have a simple--H.R. 65 says to hold people responsible for storing their guns.

I want to thank my friend for your leadership. It has been a persistent and pronounced leadership that I've been delighted to join you on. And I want to thank our leader, Nancy Pelosi, for her pointedness about can we get to work and her rising leadership, if you will, in the backdrop of the tenor that she had as Speaker to be able to get things done. And, of course, all the leadership, including the leading spokesperson for Make It in America, our friend, Steny Hoyer, and I must mention all of our leaders, Mr. Clyburn, Chairman BECERRA, and our vice chair in Mr. Crowley, along with our committee ranking members.

But our message has been that we can do all of the fussing; we can fix the IRS; we can talk about issues that are occurring with leaks. That's our job. We understand that. But it is not our job to come back over and over again and revive a bill that is the law of the land not only by the vote of the United States Congress, but by the United States Supreme Court. What more do we need to answer that question?

So I hope to accomplish this in partnership with the gentleman. We're writing legislation, as well. Let me throw one other point in there. We joined in on some legislation about doing human exploration again. That creates jobs, as well. It builds the Orion that's on the books right now that is getting ready to be built. There are so many things we can do together bipartisan. And I want to thank the gentleman for his leadership.

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