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Legislative Program

Floor Speech

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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, 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 Tuesday and Wednesday, the House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning-hour and noon for legislative business. On Thursday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business. Last votes of the week are expected no later than 3 p.m. On Friday, no votes are expected.

Mr. Speaker, the House will consider a few suspensions next week, a complete list of which will be announced by the close of business today. In addition, the House will consider two bills next week to fund government operations.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, House and Senate appropriators are working towards a bipartisan agreement on an appropriations package to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. I expect an agreement to be reached soon. The House will consider this package next week.

Mr. Speaker, to facilitate this, we will need to pass a short-term CR to allow the Senate time to process the bill. I expect to pass this under suspension of the rules early next week.

Finally, I expect the House to consider H.R. 3362, the Exchange Information Disclosure Act, sponsored by Representative Lee Terry. This bill requires full transparency and accuracy from the administration on data reported from the ObamaCare exchange.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman in response to his question, the expected termination, if you will, expiration of the CR will be Saturday, January 18. So giving a week really, Mr. Speaker, for the Senate to act, because we will be acting next week in the middle of the week. We hope that they will finish their business by September--I mean January 18.

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Mr. CANTOR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman and just for the record make clear that the bill, or the measure, that the gentleman is speaking to is a bill that would extend beyond the more than 6 months that unemployment benefits insurance is available now.

As the gentleman knows, we have been trying to focus this Congress on getting back to a more optimistic view of what the economy can do. It is about jobs; it is about growth.

Our focus is about wanting people to get a job. It is on employment, not unemployment. So I would say to the gentleman, if we could work together in trying to reject what unfortunately is seeming to become the new norm for many, instead, let's talk about the things that we do, maybe skills training.

Those who are chronically unemployed frankly could find a job if they had the skills necessary to do so. We would love to be able to work with the gentleman in a bipartisan fashion to perhaps do those kinds of things. Unfortunately, this Congress, this House has passed the SKILLS Act, and there was no bipartisan support for that.

We need to be focused on growing the economy, getting people back to work--and know that there is a lot of pain out there right now. The best response to the pain, in someone looking for some hope for the future, is a job.

And so I would respond to the gentleman, we are watching what the Senate is doing, and I think the reports today indicate the Senate is going to have some difficulty in passing what was thought to have been an easy thing to pass a few days ago. So I would ask the gentleman to join us in looking towards a more optimistic future for this country and economy, focusing on employment and those who have been chronically out of work.

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

If I could just revisit the issue of the SKILLS Act. The gentleman speaks to the amount of money called for in the bill; and I would say to the gentleman the thrust behind the SKILLS Act was to try and refocus the program on actual effectiveness and results. I think the gentleman will agree that the job picture right now is not as bright as it should be.

As I indicated earlier, a lot of the folks who are trying to access skills training are unable to do so. There is evidence that existing programs are not results oriented like we would like them to be. And the purpose behind that bill is to realign the focus of the skills and training programs across the country with job availability and openings in the different regions of the country.

So rather than insisting on spending more money on a one-size-fits-all Washington approach, we provided flexibility for the regions so it could be tailored. The skills training programs could be tailored to the job openings in these specific regions of the country. And they are different. They are different in my region of the country than they are in the Pacific Northwest.

They are different in the Midwest than they are in the Northeast. We know that there is diversity in this country, and we should allow for those differences and the improvement reforms necessary to make it so that we are not accepting the status quo. I would ask the gentleman to take a look at that again as something that perhaps we can work on together.

I would also say, again, the jobs numbers, the gentleman is completely correct that these job numbers, this latest report this morning reflects the lowest number of jobs added since January of 2011. That doesn't speak well about the track record of what is going on here. So let's focus on jobs together.

As for the question about immigration, Mr. Speaker, I think the gentleman is right. Immigration reform could be an economic boon to this country. We have got to do it right; and along those lines, the Speaker has said that we are going to look for the release of a list of principles of our position in the majority here in the House of what we believe is an appropriate path forward for immigration reform.

There are plenty of things that we can agree on. As the gentleman knows, I have been a strong proponent of the KIDS Act that I am working with the chairman of the committee on, because I think all of us can agree that we shouldn't hold kids liable for the misdeeds or illegal acts of their parents. This country has never been about that. There are plenty of things like that, strong border security, and making sure that that occurs first so we don't see a continuing problem of illegal immigration.

I think there are plenty of areas for agreement. Hopefully, Mr. Speaker, we can see after the release of a set of principles of our side that there can be some productive discussions, bipartisan with the White House, so that it is not ``my way or the highway,'' and then we can see a proper way forward.

Mr. CANTOR. I would say to the gentleman, Mr. Speaker, that there is an expectation that the list of principles will be released in the near future, and that is about as definite as I can be. But again, the sense is that there is common agreement on certain issues.

I think that, unfortunately, thus far, given the track record around this town, there is very little room for discussion, negotiations, and hopefully this can be different. But thus far, Mr. Speaker, all I can say is that we are looking for the release of those principles in the near future.


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