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Public Statements

Jobs and the Economy

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. EDWARDS of Maryland. I thank the gentlelady.

Madam Speaker, I have to tell you, it really troubles me to be here this evening because once again we have to point to action by House Democrats to bring jobs to the American people and inaction by our Republican colleagues, particularly those who sit in the United States Senate, who have failed to deliver on the promise of jobs to the American people.

Now, when President Obama came into office, I think that month, Madam Speaker, we lost something like 750,000 jobs that one month, after having hemorrhaged for over a year thousands and thousands of jobs, not creating a single job in this country. And so then the President comes in and we have to deal with a financial crisis, also inherited from the previous administration. Still, Americans are without jobs.

But this Congress didn't stand still. The Democratic leadership in this Congress didn't stand still. We passed significant jobs legislation. First, the stimulus package that created jobs across this country, saved or created 3.5 million jobs around this country in every single State, in every single congressional district, so that Americans could continue working.

But we said that wasn't enough. We need to be on the progress of building up our economy and creating more jobs for the American people, creating jobs that are about the 21st century, making sure that Americans don't just get extended unemployment benefits, which I agree we ought to have done. It was the right thing to do.

And it was wrong for Republicans to say that people who receive unemployment benefits don't deserve that because somehow that keeps them from looking for a job. Those aren't the Americans that I know. The Americans that I know get up every single day. They want to work hard, and they do work hard to take care of themselves and their families. And our job as Members of Congress is actually to deliver on that promise.

So what have we done in this Congress? We have delivered.

Democrats in the House of Representatives, almost without any Republican votes, have delivered jobs for the American people. But where is it? Sitting over in the Senate. At least five jobs bills that I can think of, and I know that there are more. Jobs for veterans, jobs for teachers, jobs for first responders, jobs in the 21st century economy and the green economy, all of these sitting over in the United States Senate because Senate Republicans are standing in the way of job creation for this country.

I will tell you, Madam Speaker, it's not that they're standing in the way because these aren't good ideas. They're standing in the way because they have let politics get in the middle of whether Americans should have jobs or not. And so here we go. It's time for the Senate Republicans to actually deliver a paycheck and a payday for the American people, to stop standing in the way of job creation, to make sure that Americans can get paid an honest day's wages for an honest day's work, because Americans want to work.

Now, here we have bill after bill. We have House Resolution 5297, passed on June 17; 5019, passed May 26, May 28, March 21. I mean, it's been days and days and days since we have passed major jobs legislation that sits to this day in the United States Senate. It is not right. It's not right for the American people, and it's time for Senate Republicans to stop standing in the way and filibustering jobs for the American people because they believe in politics and not a paycheck.

So, Madam Speaker, let me just tell you something. We've done a lot of things in this Congress, but we have to draw attention to this. And I'm asking the American people, Madam Speaker, that they turn on their television screens at 2 o'clock in the afternoon to make sure that they know that House Democrats will be waiting on the Senate floor, waiting moment by moment, 2 o'clock every single afternoon this week so that we can bring jobs to the American people.

It's time for the Senate to get out of the way. It's time for Senate Republicans to stop standing in the way of a paycheck for the American people and to deliver the jobs that House Democrats have created over in this body. And we need to move them forward over in the other one.

So, Madam Speaker, I would say to you it is time that we deliver a paycheck for the American people, millions of jobs and a paycheck for the American people, that we stop standing in the way of job creation.

Madam Speaker, here's what we've done. It's really payday for the American workers. Small Business Jobs and Credit Act for small businesses and tax incentives. Home Star Jobs, incentives for energy-efficient homes and cutting energy bills and delivering jobs. America COMPETES. That's about what we do in the 21st century. It's about whether we're going to be competitive globally by creating jobs in this new economy. Jobs for Main Street, so we can boost small business, build highways, and hire and retain teachers, police, and firefighters.

You want to tell me that there are not police and firefighters and teachers who need jobs in every single State in this country, whether that State is led by a Senate Democrat or a Senate Republican? Of course they need jobs.

And finally, Madam Speaker, I'll tell you, the other side does a lot of talking about small business and infrastructure, but here we've passed H.R. 4849, small business and infrastructure that we know are going to create jobs, and who's sitting on that? Those Senate Republicans sitting on jobs, playing politics with the American people.

The American people want a job. American workers want to work, and it's time for us to deliver that work. Thank you.


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