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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC



Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. I want to thank the Chair for the time.

Madam Chairman, I rise to voice my strong support for H.R. 4033, the Labor-HHS bill. There is no bill that Congress produces on an annual basis that has such a profound impact on everyday people's lives like this bill.

I want to congratulate Chairman Obey and the subcommittee staff on the product that is before us today. I also want to thank Ranking Member Walsh and the minority subcommittee staff working with us to produce this bill.

I think former Labor-HHS Chairman Ralph Regula said it best when he described this bill as the ``people's bill.'' And I want to commend the gentleman for his statement in support of this product.

This might seem obvious, but your view depends on where you stand. From where I stand, I see an America today where the overall unemployment rate is 4.5 percent. For African Americans it's 8.5 percent. The average life expectancy is 77.6 years. For African Americans it is 69.2. Sixty-three percent of white students graduate from college. For African Americans, it's 43 percent. These numbers represent real problems for real people that need real solutions, not tax cuts and amendments to cut 1 percent and .5 percent across the board. This bill is a solution that illustrates how Congress can solve real problems.

We've heard from the other side already language like ``wrong,'' ``fiscally and recklessly irresponsible.'' The entire debate about earmarks is to divert our attention away from these very real problems that this bill seeks to solve.

Specifically, this bill includes a $43 million nominal increase for Job Corps, projecting the administration's proposal to cut 4,310 student training slots. The administration's request for CDC would have reduced funding for our primary health activities by $159.4 million, cutting childhood immunizations, State and local public health emergency preparedness, and efforts to combat chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease and emerging infection.

Madam Chairman, I encourage Members to look at the facts around this bill and to be supportive.

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