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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 5893, Investing in American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, this resolution provides a closed rule for the consideration of H.R. 5893, the Investing in American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010.

The rule waives all points of order against consideration of the bill except those arising under clause 9 or 10 of rule XXI and against the bill, itself. The rule provides that the previous question shall be considered as ordered, without intervening motion, except 1 hour of debate for the Ways and Means Committee and one motion to recommit with or without instructions. The rule also provides same-day authority for a resolution reported from the Rules Committee through Sunday, August 1, 2010.

Madam Speaker, H.R. 5893, the Investing in American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010, creates and protects American jobs through increased investment in infrastructure and by closing tax loopholes that enable companies to move their operations offshore. This is another piece of legislation to add to the long list of bills that Democrats have passed this Congress to spur opportunities to support American jobs, American manufacturing, and American families. Democrats are helping Americans dig out of the worst recession in decades. We are making steady, albeit slow--too slow for me--gains in our economy. The struggle is not over, but we are on the right path.

Madam Speaker, this legislation funds the highly successful Build America Bonds program, the Recovery Zone Bonds, the Emergency State Jobs Assistance program, and it closes unfair tax loopholes that allow corporations to send American jobs overseas. This bill provides critical funding for infrastructure investment that will create jobs here in the United States and will put money in the pockets of people who badly need it.

And yet, still, the Republicans are against it.

Madam Speaker, it seems every other day around here we have to drag our Republican colleagues kicking and screaming to the House floor to try to help hardworking Americans, and they continue to say ``no.''

Every other day we have to try to persuade our friends on the other side of the aisle that it's not crazy for the American Government to invest in the American economy to benefit the American people.

Every other day we have to remonstrate the same old arguments from the Republicans about spending and deficits and taxes and the bad old government stifling our economic recovery.

I'll remind this body that the Republicans were against the largest stimulus in history, which was not large enough for me and some of us in this body. But they were against this stimulus, an effort that demonstrably has saved American jobs.

And I'll remind this body that 95 percent of the Republicans in this House have signed a pledge to protect tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas.

And I'll remind this body that Republicans have consistently voted against job creation and economic development measures that directly benefit, directly benefit hardworking Americans trying to secure enough income to feed their families and keep their homes.

Every single time Democrats try to pass essential legislation in this body, and the other body, Republicans complain about the numbers. If it's spending on investments in our economy, Republicans complain the numbers are too high. But if it's spending on tax cuts for the extremely 1 percent wealthiest of Americans, the Republicans complain the numbers are too low.

Well, here's a number and a letter we should be mindful of: $2.2 trillion, and the letter D: D is the grade given to America's infrastructure by the American Society of Engineers in 2009.

And $2.2 trillion is the amount the American Society of Engineers estimates the United States needs to spend over the next 5 years to repair our crumbling infrastructure.

Madam Speaker, in recent years we've seen levees fail, bridges collapse. As a matter of fact, we saw a levee fail last week in Iowa. Bridges collapsed. I asked one of our colleagues yesterday that appeared before the Rules Committee, how did he feel when the bridge collapsed in Minnesota. He referenced it as a national tragedy, as all of us do and did.

But when I came to this Congress in 1992, there were 14,000 bridges that were in disrepair in the United States of America. And I dare say that we have not even come close and, likely, there are many more. And what I said to him was, I wanted his daughter, who I know, to travel on a safe bridge, and I wanted my children and all the children of all Americans, when they cross a bridge, to know that that bridge is safe.

Millions of tons of hazardous waste have wrecked fragile ecosystems, and billions of gallons of wastewater have poured from burst pipes into our rivers and streams, and we saw that happen this week in America.

Beyond the disasters is the steadily rising gridlock on our highways, roads, airports and rails, the constant erosion of our water systems. Right here in the metropolitan Washington area people are on boil water advisories and limited uses, including for showers.

Declining park land in urban areas and maintenance backlogs in our schools amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars.

Budget cuts are not going to repair bridges, replace water treatment facilities or maintain classrooms. State and local governments desperately need Federal funding to engage American small businesses and put people to work.

This legislation provides billions of dollars in infrastructure bonds and other supports so communities can hire the necessary workers to make sure that, while we are arguing about process here, whether or not it's a closed rule or an open rule, arguing process in the Rules Committee, more dams don't fail. That's what we want to make sure that does not happen.

Dollars that go to infrastructure projects get returned to the economy at higher rates. Infrastructure spending is impactful, essential, and worthwhile, pumping in cash that goes right to the American worker.

The funding in this legislation is paid for. It does not add to the deficit. It is revenue neutral, and there is no wasteful spending in here.

What Republicans argue is wasteful, I say, is essential to preventing millions of Americans from falling into destitution. For every one job opening in our great country, there are five applicants. Unemployment remains unbearably high, and all economists indicate that it is going to remain that way for some time to come.

I dare say that what America needs to understand, and what my colleagues here on both sides of the aisle continue to say, is that it happened on this President's watch, or it happened on that President's watch. The real truth is the economy in this country transitioned, as well as globally, over about a 45-year period of time. I'll get to that one day, so as how there's a better understanding than all of this finger-pointing about who caused this deficit.

And I certainly hope we have a debate about how much the war in Iraq and Afghanistan cost. I can tell you now it's about $1 trillion. And guess what our deficit is? Just a little more than $1 trillion.

Madam Speaker, it's far past time to pass this legislation. I urge my colleagues to vote favorably on this rule and on the final passage of this legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. HASTINGS of Florida. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, you know, Paul Krugman wrote an article in The New York Times sometime back, and he is the Nobel Prize winning economist. On July 20 he talked about ``Tax Cut Truthiness.''

Without reading the entire article, he cites to Erick Erickson and says, ``But I think we have part of the key to how Republicans can believe that returning to the Bush agenda is exactly what we need: they've invented themselves an alternate history in which wonderful things happened under Bush, and earlier booms have been sent down the memory hole.''

Now, I have had the good fortune of being here in the minority and in the majority. I served 8 years under President Bush in the minority. I also served 8 years during the Clinton administration.

My late mom had a statement about all of us as politicians. She used to say, if you are going to say that George H.W. Bush did it, then you have to say that Jimmy Carter did it and then somebody else will say that Reagan did it. She said why don't you all just admit it that George Washington did it and get it over with so as how you don't have to keep pointing fingers at each other.

My distinguished colleague from North Carolina just certainly misspoke and didn't mean to when she said that this particular measure isn't scored.

Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record the Preliminary CBO Estimate of Changes in Revenue and Direct Spending of the Investing in America Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010. I might add that it points out that it is revenue neutral, as I said previously.


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