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Mr. McCARTHY of California. I thank my friend for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, this is my second term. Since being elected by the people of California's 22nd District, I am reminded about how much things have changed.
Three years ago on this date, unemployment was 4.5 percent. Today, the unemployment rate has more than doubled to a 26-year high of 10.2. Three years ago on this date, the stock market was over 12,000. Today, the stock market has dropped by 2,000 points. Three years ago on this date the current House majority promised to drain the swamp. Today, the swamp in Washington isn't drained; it's overflowing. And 3 years ago on this date, November 7, 2006, the Democratic Party was victorious in winning control of this House.
Today, we are here on the floor to vote on a $1 trillion government takeover that can replace the health insurance that millions of Americans have. This is a defining vote for this Congress. We can reject tax increases on small business at a time when 2.8 million jobs have been lost since the stimulus was signed into law and say yes to helping small businesses access more affordable health insurance for their employees. We can reject the government takeover of our health care that will increase health insurance costs and say yes to saving American families up to $5,000 off their current health care premiums.
I know that over the last 3 years there have been many disappointments, when the voices of Americans have been overruled by government bailouts and now a government takeover of health care, but I urge my colleagues to reject the politics of the past and fight for a better direction for our country, for our children, and for our grandchildren.
I urge a ``no'' vote on H.R. 3962 and a ``yes'' vote for the Republican bill.
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Mr. MCCARTHY of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong opposition to H.R. 3962. Specifically, I am very concerned about how the House Democratic Leadership's government takeover of health care legislation will affect the biotech industry, which has been a source of innovation and job creation in California.
Californians know very well how the burden of heavy taxes and regulations can harm small businesses and innovation, as our state economy continues to lag and continues to have an unemployment rate much higher than the national average. On top of state taxes and regulatory burdens, H.R. 3962 would only add on to the devastating burdens facing our biotech industry, through its $20 billion excise tax on medical devices and by establishing a pathway for follow-on biologics that could harm innovation and American jobs.
As one of the biotech leaders in our country, California boasts more than 2,000 biomedical companies and has created more than 271,000 jobs. The proposed excise tax, whose purpose seems to be solely to raise revenue, is a job killer and would stifle innovation. It will ultimately result in making it more difficult for millions of Americans to have access to life-saving medical devices that they need for their health and well-being.
Further, H.R. 3962 would establish a new pathway for follow-on biologics that could slow advances to new life-saving therapies, and ultimately reduce the number of American jobs. The bill does not expressly require clinical trials for follow-on biologics to be completed in the United States, which could allow for these studies to be conducted overseas. Over the past decades, many innovator biologics have demonstrated to be safe, reliable and life-changing--the product of strong clinical trials and research done by dedicated researchers here in America. As unemployment has now crossed 10 percent nationally, and is over 12 percent in California, I hope that we could continue to foster the creation of jobs and research in America.
These are some of the many concerns I have with H.R. 3962, which is why I instead support the Republican health care alternative. The alternative excludes the unnecessary and burdensome excise tax in H.R. 3962, and also includes a responsible pathway for follow-on biologics by including provisions from the Pathways for Biosimilars Act, which I am a proud cosponsor of. By passing the Republican alternative, we can ensure that the American biotech industry can continue to lead the world in innovative therapies and that the necessary research and clinical testing in the field can continue to be done domestically so we can continue to create good-paying American jobs.
Californians, and all Americans, need Washington to pass strong common-sense health care solutions. But we need solutions that strike a balance in reducing health care costs, strengthening health care access, and allowing health innovators, like our biotech industry, to continue to research and improve therapies for patients. That is why I support the Republican health care alternative--it addresses the needs of patients and ensures that we keep good-paying jobs in America.
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