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Public Statements

The 2011 Continuing Resolution

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Bass) for 5 minutes.

Ms. BASS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the reckless spending plan in H.R. 1.

Mr. Speaker, it has been 43 days since I joined the new Congress, and my colleagues across the aisle have not offered one job, let alone offered a jobs plan to put Americans back to work. While hardworking Americans struggle to keep a roof over their head, food on the table, and the heat turned on, my colleagues have not taken one single action to create jobs for the unemployed. They have completely abandoned the number one issue for the American people right now--jobs and the unemployment rate--and in fact, they are blatantly destroying, instead of creating, good jobs.

In fact, the Speaker recently said, ``Over the last 2 years since President Obama has taken office, the Federal Government has added 200,000 new Federal jobs,'' greatly exaggerating, citing a number 10 times greater than what has actually been reported. He said, ``If some of those jobs are lost in the spending cuts, so be it.''

Mr. Speaker, under the Republican plan, jobs are the target of the cuts. For example, the largest cuts ever in history for education programs under H.R. 1 would result in more than 26,000 K-12 teachers and support staff, 14,000 Head Start teachers, and 7,000 special ed teachers all losing their jobs. This is just the education budget alone.

According to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, the Republican continuing resolution would cost the Nation almost 1 million jobs. Included on the majority party cut list are 25,000 new construction jobs from infrastructure projects, 1,300 police officers by eliminating the COPS program, 2,400 firefighters by terminating SAFER grants, and 16,000 private sector construction jobs lost from cutting $1.7 billion to the Federal Buildings Fund.

The spending plan would also slash in half all job training funds--dollars used to help workers obtain the skills they need to compete in the global economy.

Mr. Speaker, reducing the unemployment rate is the most important challenge facing this country. The most promising new source of economic growth and job creation is in our public infrastructure system, from roads and bridges to broadband and air traffic control systems to a new energy grid. I commend President Obama for his leadership in crafting a budget proposal for fiscal year 2012, for his leadership in crafting this budget proposal that focuses Federal dollars on rebuilding America's infrastructure, which USA Today describes as ``a massive job creation engine, with plans to generate millions of jobs by repairing and expanding highways, bridges, and railways.''

Mr. Speaker, the President's budget addresses the real sources of our deficit and makes tough but careful choices needed to reduce the deficit. With cuts of $78 billion, President Obama has taken the first step in curbing the massive defense budget, and I want to work with my colleagues and the President to find additional savings in the defense budget by closing permanent bases overseas that no longer serve a strategic value.

For example, I believe we need to examine why we still have over 200 military bases in Germany 65 years after World War II and many years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The President also makes necessary sacrifices to sustain the maximum Pell Grant award for all students by eliminating the summer Pell Grant program. These are hard cuts to swallow but are necessary.

The Republican bill, on the other hand, prefers to arbitrarily make shortsighted cuts; for example, cutting funding from programs that affect women and their children, like $758 million from the WIC program and $1 billion from Head Start. The long-term impact of these cuts is clear: prohibiting access to family planning services. So guess what happens? Then denying food for the child and denying access to preschool.

Mr. Speaker, H.R. 1 recklessly cuts spending at the expense of our economic recovery and job creation; nor does the Republican plan put us on a sustainable path to deficit reduction.

I urge my colleagues to vote against this job-cutting, fiscally irresponsible spending bill.

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