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Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Thank you. I appreciate my friend's work here on the floor.
I just came back from a week in my home district in southwest Washington. It's a tremendous place. It's where I grew up. Some of my fondest memories are in and around southwest Washington, whether it was lakes or rivers or streams or working my first job at the Vancouver Mall. It's not even called the Vancouver Mall anymore. I had a lot of opportunities--a lot of opportunities that I am very worried the next generation of Washingtonians are not going to have. And let me tell you why. Our unemployment has been over double digits going on 3 years now.
Let me read this to you because this is important. These aren't just empty numbers. These represent families and lives: Clark County, 10.2 percent; Cowlitz County; 11.9 percent; Lewis County, 13.2 percent; Pacific County, 12.5 percent; Wahkiakum, 11.8 percent; Skamania, 12.9 percent; and Thurston County is at 8 percent.
Let me compare those numbers quickly. I'm not happy about 8 percent. I'm not happy about 13 percent. But there's a slight difference in the reason that the Thurston County numbers are lower than the other counties, and that's because that's where the State government is housed.
So there are more government jobs, more public sector jobs in that area. But the rest of the district and even in Thurston County is based on small businesses. These are the hearts and souls of our economy. Small business owners, entrepreneurs, mom-and-pop shops.
I got to tour Somarakis Vacuum Pumps. He is an engineer that started a small little company. Built it up. He's passing it on to his son. He's now expanded into two counties. He has a vision to grow and hire people. In fact, he has been able to stay afloat these last few years because a lot of the trade that he's done, he deals with other corporations and other countries across the world, which is one of the reasons he's been able to remain competitive.
You know what he told me this last week when I was home and I was touring his new facility? He said, JAIME--I wish I could give you his Greek accent, but I can't--he said, JAIME, I'm a proud American. I built this company because I believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of America. I believe in this country. But you in Washington, D.C.--and he's speaking to the governing class here--are making it harder for me to function. You're making it harder for me to survive: the unpredictability, the high taxes, the new energy proposals, some of which the President has supported.
He said, JAIME, if that cap-and-trade bill went into effect or if you increase my energy taxes through the EPA, I will be out of business. I will not be able to hire the next generation of engineers and pass this company on.
And other small businesses around our whole region and around our Nation are saying the same thing: can you give us some predictability, quit raising our taxes, get the EPA off our backs. We all want to protect our way of life, but what's happening right now is small business owners, the job creators, are being squeezed. And why?
I was reflecting on, it's true, neither the Senate nor the President has put forward a really strong governing jobs agenda this year. When we got to meet with the President a couple of weeks ago, he pointed to some of the bills that they passed last year, and some of the plans. If I reflect on the $700 billion-plus bailout or the $800 billion stimulus or the health care bill that was over a trillion dollars, one would think if we spent that kind of money, we would have the jobs to show for it.
But where are the jobs? I just read you the unemployment numbers for southwest Washington State. They have actually not gone up in tremendous rise. So, clearly, borrowing and spending more has, at the very least, a negligible effect. We can do better. We have to do better. The way we do that--stop bailing out big corporations, banks, auto dealers. Right? Stop spending more money.
Fast fact: I had some job creators in my office a couple of weeks ago, and they were asking for more investment. And I asked them about the stimulus--the $800 billion stimulus bill that the President and the Democrats here voted on and passed last year--how much that had actually stimulated job creation. You know what they told me? Less than 3 percent of that number actually went to build roads. Remember the shovel-ready hurrah that was talked about? We're passing this because we're going to build infrastructure. I'm one of those who believes infrastructure is important. Less than 3.5 percent was actually used to build roads.
Where is the rest of that money? My goodness, we borrowed almost half of that. We're going to pass the interest and the debt on to the next generation, and yet we didn't even use it on what we said we were going to use it on. That tells me that we're spending too much, we're borrowing too much. It's time to cut back.
Every family in southwest Washington and across this Nation has cut their own budget back in recent years. Every small business owner, job creators, they will tell you--I have several in my area who haven't even taken a paycheck in several years in order that they not lay anyone else off. And they're looking at us, saying, Why can't you live within your means? Well, guess what? We're going to. Not only are we going to make sensible cuts and reductions, we're also going to stimulate job growth.
Energy was one of the things I mentioned. In the last couple of months we have passed off this House floor several bills that allow us to drill for energy here in America, using American entrepreneurialism, American innovation, and creating American jobs. I call on our Senate to pass those bills and the President to sign them into law. They're saying thousands and thousands of jobs could be created here in America if we simply take advantage of the resources in our backyards. That will do several things. It will drive down the cost of gas, which is going to hit every family and every small business here in the next several months. That's one immediate step we can take, in addition to cutting back overspending. That's a jobs production bill.
We could also make sure that we allow for some predictability. With these Federal regulations that are coming out, small business owners call me regularly, and say, Good grief. I just barely get one rule under order, and you're sending me five new ones. I can't keep up.
Here is the difference. Small businesses, small business owners, they can't just hire someone who is not being productive and just dedicate that person's time to going through Federal regulations. Maybe a big corporation could, one which can retain lots of lobbyists or lawyers; but at the True Value Hardware on Main Street in Ridgefield, both the owners actually work the store, so they can't just waste money to jump through government regulations and government hoops. It has got to stop.
Last year, the EPA released 900 new regulations--900. Do you know what the EPA acting director for the water department told us on the Transportation Committee just 2 or 3 months ago? She basically said she didn't have to take into account any of those regulations and their impact on our economy. That wasn't her concern. I'm sorry. Since when does the government put forward regulations and rules and then say, ``We don't have any concern for what that's going to do to the economy''? That's why we're in the mess we're in now.
We can change it. We can take some steps to bring oversight to these regulatory agencies. Man, they're just going crazy. We're going to work to streamline those, and we're going to do it now because House Republicans believe and understand that job creators and job growth occur in the private sector when individuals and entrepreneurs have the freedom to grow and to develop, not when they're hampered, not when their wrists are tied, not when they're told, You have to jump through these hoops just to sell your product or just to hire someone. It has got to stop, which is why we're putting forward and why House Republicans are proud to put forward bills that are either going to pull back some of these regulations or streamline them, reform them or allow for more American job growth here in the United States.
So I appreciate that, and I look forward to hearing what my other colleagues have to say about this pro-growth agenda.
Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Thank you.
Before I yield to my colleagues, I would like to just go through the plan that the House Republicans have put together that certainly includes addressing the debt, that certainly includes addressing our spending. It's a plan that we believe will help get us on the right fiscal path and help this country--the private sector--create jobs. There is much, much more to what we're trying to do here in the House to encourage private sector job creation, and I'd like to run through some of those.
As I indicated, certainly we need to deal with the debt. That's why we talk about reforming Medicare and saving Medicare for those on it and saving it for the next generation. We talk about that a lot because that directly relates to our debt, and we have to get our debt under control if we're going to have the type of job growth that we are accustomed to in this country: job growth based on technological advancement and innovation. So dealing with the debt is a critical component of encouraging private sector job creation.
Yet there are other parts to our plan, which include increasing energy development, maximizing energy production. We have passed numerous bills here in the House that will encourage drilling in the gulf and that will encourage drilling offshore so that we can create more jobs in energy production and become energy independent. It's not just a jobs issue. It's a national security issue.
There is also the issue of the Tax Code that I referred to earlier. We can't be competitive in this country if we don't reform the way we tax individuals and the way we tax businesses. Ultimately, when businesses decide to land somewhere, they look and they ask, Is that where I want to do business? Unfortunately, we have created an environment in this country that runs business off. We want businesses to look around the world and say, The United States is where I want to create jobs. That's the only place for me. In order to do that, we've got to make sure that we have rules in place that encourage private sector job creation.
I'd now like to yield to my colleague from Colorado.
Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentleman from Arkansas for organizing tonight's conversation with the American people about what our plan for job creation is all about and how we're going to, once again, restore the greatness of this country by getting America back to work, by creating an economy for job creators.
The gentlelady from Washington reminded me of my visits throughout my district this past week in eastern Colorado and northern Colorado, Colorado's Fourth Congressional District. It's around 6 o'clock back home,
and there are probably a lot of people who are just now coming home from work or who are about to get off work. They're worried about how they're going to continue to pay for their daughter's education, how they're going to make ends meet, what they're going to do to afford that car payment.
I and every single person here tonight will assure them that we have a plan for jobs, that we have voted on our plan for jobs and that we will continue to pursue policies to create jobs in this country, not because they're created by government but because we get government out of the way and allow the private sector to flourish.
This last week in Colorado, I met with a number of businesses. I toured a number of businesses in northern and eastern Colorado, and I had the opportunity to talk to the leadership of those companies and to the people who work on the lines in the factories. I was struck by one statement, one statement by an individual who said, It's time that we let loose the innovators and the entrepreneurs in America.
What are we doing to let loose the innovators and the entrepreneurs in this great country?
I know what the Republicans have been doing to make sure that we're reducing regulations, to make sure that we have an energy policy that, instead of strangling the American working family, helps the American working family and that opens up our resources. We can do so in an environmentally responsible manner. We have done it, and we will continue to do it. We will continue to pursue tax policies that are fair and that don't chase businesses overseas but that allow those jobs to be created right here.
Another business owner in my State gave me a call last year, and said, You know what? My number one competitor just moved to Ireland, and I'm left with a choice. I can either stay headquartered here in Colorado and pay 30 percent more in taxes than they do or I can go overseas and find another place to do business and take those jobs with me.
That's not the kind of choice that we ought to be presenting in this country to the men and women who create business in the United States. Instead of deciding where to go, the question they ought to be asking is, How much can we grow right here in the U.S.? Along these lines, of the factories that I toured and of the manufacturing plants that I toured, I spoke with one employee who came up to me and said, I'm just glad this business is located in Colorado. I'm glad they chose Colorado.
It wasn't that long ago that I was a State legislator. I remember one of the debates that we were dealing with was a particular regulation that many small businesses were struggling with. They were trying to figure out whether or not they could survive under that regulation. While the debate in the Colorado State Legislature was taking place on whether or not this regulation was good for job creation or not, there was an advertisement on one of the State's largest radio stations from our neighbor to the north, the great State of Wyoming. Their Chamber of Commerce and one of their municipalities said, Come to Wyoming, a business friendly place. They said that because Colorado was forcing a regulation on its business owners that was going to put the men and women of our State out of business. They saw an opportunity. They said, Come to us. We'll take your jobs. We'll take your businesses. You can do it right here, and you'll be better for it.
That's not the kind of policy I want for Colorado, and that's not the kind of policy I want for the United States. The policy of this country should be this:
We will make sure our government gets out of your way to let you do what you do best--run your businesses, your families and your lives. We're not going to foster policies that force you to make a decision to go overseas because of an arbitrary decision in our Tax Code or a regulatory scheme that says, Don't do business here because we're going to make it too tough on you to do business.
Our plan for jobs in the 112th Congress is clear. Unfortunately, on the other side of the aisle, my colleagues on the Democratic side seem to have labeled their 112th Congress mission the ``kick the can down the road'' tour.
It is the kick the can down the road tour because they're not going to present solutions for Medicare. They're not going to present solutions to solve our energy crisis. They're not going to present solutions to solve our debt and deficit, but no, they're going to pass it on to the next generation. They're going to kick the can down the road and say, You know what? If you're 50 or 55, we're going to go ahead and put the burden all on you, all on you.
That is not a solution for this country. That is debt, doubt, and despair, as my colleague from Illinois just a few minutes ago so eloquently stated. Debt, doubt, and despair. I haven't heard a campaign theme of debt, doubt, and despair, but that is certainly what they are running on.
We can do better, and I'm glad to be part of the 112th Congress and the Republican majority that has said we will create jobs in this country, we will get back to economic opportunity, and we will start by taking care of future generations, and that work begins today.
I thank the gentleman from Arkansas for his time.
Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Thank you to the gentleman from Colorado.
I now yield to the gentlelady from Alabama.
Mrs. ROBY. I appreciate my colleague from Arkansas for giving us time tonight to talk about this most important issue, which is jobs.
It is the number one issue here, and what I see and we've all testified to tonight is that, as we travel throughout our districts, the number one thing that we hear from business owners all throughout the United States is the heavy hand of government has created so much uncertainty that the private sector, even those who have the ability to create jobs, are not doing so because they're fearful. They don't know what the Federal Government is going to do to them next, and this is so evident by the recent unemployment numbers that have come out.
Since the first day that this administration took office through the end of April of this year, the economy has lost 2.5 million jobs. That is an average of 3,044 jobs every single day. And unfortunately, and just to talk about the gentlelady from Washington's unemployment numbers, those numbers aren't even necessarily correct, because the rate is so much higher because so many job seekers are giving up and they are leaving the labor force.
I traveled, like you all did, throughout my district this week, and I found myself at Rand Manufacturing, and they manufacture water heaters. It's a household name. They have over 1,000 jobs in the city of Montgomery, and they brought me into a room that was used for research and development for their company, but it was an addition, a $1 million addition to their headquarters which is already over 700,000 square feet, but $1 million that they had to invest due to regulation alone. This is not a research and development facility to further their products. This is to keep up with the government regulations that they have to comply with.
How in the world can we expect the private sector to invest in job creation when every dime they have is going toward complying with government regulation? Companies in the United States of America are hitting the brakes on hiring and production. And to go back to the U.S. factory sector, the engine of our recovery, it had its biggest 1-month slowdown since 1984, and they showed private sector hiring dropped drastically.
You know, I'm a mom. I have two children, Margaret and George, who you hear me talk about often, and a lot of Members have their children up here this week with them. And as I look around the floor and I see these young people, I think: This is why we're here. And as was so eloquently said, it has to be about the future generation and not the next election. And when I look into my children's eyes, I am reminded about how important it is that we do all we can, which is what we are. We're leading. We're doing all we can to lift this heavy hand of government. And when I go to the grocery store and when I'm at the gas pump, we see it. We feel it. We know exactly what is going on.
In January of 2011, President Obama said entrepreneurs embody the promise of America, the idea that if you have a good idea and you are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country, and in pursuing this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs. That was President Obama in January of 2011. The Obama administration has done nothing to encourage businesses to create jobs. They have been obstructionists, causing uncertainty, this growing uncertainty with this overreaching regulation. Economic growth has been stifled.
House Republicans have taken steps to reduce spending in a meaningful way by approving all the legislation that the gentleman from Arkansas talked about
to decrease spending for the rest of the year, and we adopted a budget that will cut nearly $6 trillion over the course of the next 10 years.
Our friends on the other side of the aisle have done nothing to demonstrate their commitment to private job growth in this country. Increased spending, misguided attacks on the budget that we passed, raising the debt without deficit reduction, and burdensome regulations--this is the plan being offered by the other side of the aisle, and this is not what the American people sent us here to Washington to do for that future generation.
I ask the President and my Democrat colleagues to let us make sure that entrepreneurs continue to embody the promise of America. Enough is enough. More taxation, regulation, and litigation will not create more jobs in this country.
America is certainly at a crossroads. We have an opportunity here, and House Republicans are committed to taking every possible step to spur job creation and get our economy back on track so that Americans can do what they do best, that is, create and innovate and lead.
I again thank the gentleman from Arkansas.
Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Thank you to the gentlelady from Alabama.
You know, when I think about where we are in this country in terms of unemployment and I think about what we can do to encourage job creation, it's clear to me that we can fix this problem. This is something that is possible.
Sometimes I feel like this administration's solution to the unemployment problem is to go around and beg the private sector to invest, to beg the private sector to create jobs. That doesn't work.
There's a reason that folks in the private sector who have money to invest are not investing. They're sitting on the sidelines. Why? Well, it's a lot like investing in your own family situation. You want to be careful with your money. You've got a certain amount of money to invest. You want to invest it in something that's safe. You want to invest it in something where there's certainty. You certainly don't want to take this money that you have, this limited amount of money, and just gamble it on something risky. You want to make sure that what you're putting your money into is going to pay dividends.
And so what you have is you have a lot of businesses in this country who have money to invest but they're uncertain. We've heard that word ``uncertainty'' tonight. Well, it is not just a buzzword. It's a fact. When businesses don't know what's going to happen, job creators, when they don't know what's going to happen, they hold on to that money and they say, Well, I better wait; I better wait until I know how things, with more certainty, how things are going to shake out.
There's certainly always going to be some sort of uncertainty. Are the crops going to get rain? Well, that's not something we have control over. But some types of certainty and uncertainty we do have a control over, and it directly relates to policy.
Mr. GARDNER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. GRIFFIN from Arkansas. I yield to the gentleman from Colorado.
Mr. GARDNER. A group of us had the opportunity today to discuss with one of the Nation's leading economists job creation and what's happening to our businesses around the country. And he made the observation, he said, You know, there are a lot of businesses--exactly what you had said--there are a lot of businesses out there that have money on their rolls, but they're not investing into our economy because of what he called and used the term ``government activism,'' policies that relate to government activism. I said, What do you mean by government activism? I am assuming you are not talking about somebody going out from government with a picket sign. And he said, No, no, no. Government activism in terms of the policies that they are pursuing that result in uncertainty, whether it's a regulatory approach that is an activist approach that takes away the certainty business has for the tax structure, for business environment regulations. And the conversation you had was, If we could bring back certainty, if we could get this country back to a point where businesses know what's ahead tomorrow, they know what's ahead next year, then they can plan, and they won't be afraid to invest that money. They'll start creating jobs now. That's one of the Nation's leading economists who said exactly what my colleague from Arkansas is saying tonight.
Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. And I think the debt is directly related to the issue of certainty or uncertainty. If you are an investor and you want to build a new plant, create a new business, do something that would result in job creation, whether you are from outside this country or here in the United States, you are thinking about investing, you look at the nervousness in the market, you look at the debt that we have, you think about the housing collapse in September 2008, and you sort of think to yourself, You know, this debt makes me nervous. I'm not sure where this is going. And they look and say, Is the government of the United States, led by the President, are they going to get their fiscal house in order so that if I invest, it's a safe bet? So if I invest, I can be certain that I'm investing in a country where the government has got their act together? Or am I looking to invest in a country that's going to just continue to raise that debt ceiling, see no limit?
I actually was in the Judiciary Committee a couple of weeks ago, and one of my colleagues on the other side made the argument that we just haven't spent enough money. If we only would spend another trillion or so, we might have some economic activity. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. And I said to myself, How high does unemployment have to go? How high does the debt have to go before we realize that we've got to get the spending under control?
Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I yield to the gentlelady from Washington.
Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. I was thinking through your comments here. And the gentleman from Colorado was talking about the uncertainty in investment. Why would you invest when you saw someone just burning through cash? You know, there's another reason that people wouldn't invest, and I think of a company in my district, Longview Fibre.
In southwest Washington, we have tremendous resources in our timber, sawmills, Holden paper companies, just tremendous renewable resources. And one of those energy sources that people have seemed to research is the ability to, through biomass, create energy. This is a green source of energy.
Let's talk about what uncertainty can do to a business. So in the last couple of years, the EPA has signaled--and then pulled back and then signaled--that they're not going to count biomass as green. So a company takes considerable time, energy, effort, and resources to put in play a biomass facility. And then the EPA steps in and says, Oh, time out, it doesn't matter how much money you have invested, it doesn't matter how much time and resources you have invested, we don't think that is going to count--and puts everything on hold.
Well, the EPA decided to stay its ruling for a little bit, meaning they're not really sure whether biomass is green or not. In an environment like that, what company would take the time and the energy and the resources to create a biomass facility? And for a moment there--let me explain. Biomass isn't chipping whole, new, old-growth trees--I guess that would be old trees. It's chips. It's the waste. It's the bark. It's actually fully using the resource of timber, right? It's properly managing that resource. But the EPA--actually, what I think it is is some bureaucrat in the central planning office somewhere here in Washington, D.C., has said, Ah, we don't understand that. We think you are going to cut all your trees down. We're just going to go ahead and tie your hands. It ties up
resources, capital, and jobs.
Longview Fibre is in Cowlitz County. Cowlitz County is upwards in double-digit unemployment. These are good-paying, family wage jobs. This uncertainty is killing us. You know, another thing you mentioned--actually, I think it was the gentleman from Colorado who talked a little bit about business is not hiring and why.
I'm a member of the Small Business Committee. And through testimony, I think it was about 2 weeks ago, we had a whole panel on--it had to do with health information technology. But interestingly, the Gallup organization was represented there, and they do nightly surveys. On some of the questions that they had asked, it showed small businesses, that small business owners were not hiring to capacity. In fact, there was about 40 percent more they could hire. So existing businesses could hire up to 40 percent more people if they weren't doing it. So, naturally, we asked ``Why?'' in the answer. Shoot, they didn't have the certainty to know whether or not they were going to have any kind of cash flow, or if they could make payroll if they did it. You know what was on the top of that list up there? Health care. Health care costs.
Our small business owners continue to be targeted by government-run health care schemes. And that's what they are. Because if we want to talk health care, we can talk health care. We can talk compromise in health care because that's a passion of mine. But the schemes that were passed target, unfairly, these small businesses. Now some are getting waivers. Some are not getting waivers. Shoot, why in the world would you hire more employees if you didn't know whether you are going to be targeted or not targeted? That's uncertainty, and it's got to stop.
It's time that we put people before politics. We think of the families who are at the pump, the moms who are trying to make ends meet, balance the checkbook, go get groceries, pick up the kids from school, make health care appointments. It's time we put them first, not agendas, not ideas. It's time we put people before politics, and that's exactly what we have been doing and that's what we are going to continue to fight for here on this House floor.
Mrs. ROBY. To add to that, again, the district work weeks, this new schedule that we have, which affords all of us more time with our constituents, which is so important for transparency and accountability to the people who elected us to be here, who we are making decisions for on their behalf, representing their interests. I can't tell you how many times in these meetings--just what you are saying--in preparation for full implementation of this health care law, we are seeing businesses sit around conference tables, throwing their hands up, having to spend lots and lots of dollars that could go toward creation of jobs. But they're spending all this money just trying to figure out how this law is going to affect them and their bottom line. And it is a huge travesty. And I'm sure that each of you have had similar situations. But we know that there are free-market solutions to driving down the cost of health care in this country, and that law does nothing to do that, to increase competition and to drive down cost. But yet what we do see every time we sit down at the table with these business owners is, we see how the costs associated with implementing the law is killing them.
So I just wanted to add that to the table. And on behalf of the folks in Alabama that I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be here to represent, I can't say it strong enough and loud enough about the plan that we have here in the majority of the House to do all that we can to untie the hands of our business owners so that we can get this country back on track.
Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Thank you. You make some good points about health care. And one of the things that we have pursued here in the House is medical liability reform. And when we were meeting with the President at the White House, a little over a week ago, someone raised the issue of medical liability reform. He said, well, I'm for that. I'm for that.
It's one thing to say you're for it. It's another thing to advocate for this sort of legislation. We're going to send it over to the Senate from here in the House, and we need the President to get engaged on this issue.
Medical liability reform is one of many solutions, market-based solutions, that can help reduce the health care costs. And it's not enough for the President to say, well, I'm for that.
The President said in the State of the Union on the issue of business taxes, he understands that we're at a competitive disadvantage. He says he does. He says he would like to see us be more competitive with regard to business taxes. But no action, nothing, no leadership on the issue of business taxes.
If he wants to talk about competitiveness, let's talk about competitiveness. Let's talk about having a tax structure that welcomes job creators, not repels them.
If you want to talk about competitiveness, let's talk about trade agreements. On January 27 of 2010, President Obama said, ``If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the opportunity to create jobs on our shores.''
Mr. President, opportunity lost. We've been waiting. We've got three free trade agreements just sitting on the shelf, one with Colombia, one with Panama and one with South Korea. And the estimates are that these trade agreements, if they were implemented, would increase U.S. exports by more than $10 billion. I've got to think that $10 billion in increased exports would equal some jobs. But no action from the President.
I yield to the gentleman from Colorado.
Mr. GARDNER. I thank the gentleman from Arkansas. And I too have heard the President talk about his desire to increase trade and the exports of this country. In fact, I believe I've heard the statistic quoted, something to the effect that if we could increase trade in this Nation by exports by 1 percent, we'd create tens of thousands of jobs.
We talk about what we're going to do to get this country moving forward again, how we're going to get this economy back, and there is a perfect example of what we can do, not only from my home State of Colorado, but for this country. The goods that we produce, to share them with the world, to make not just U.S. consumers, but world consumers of the excellence in manufacturing that this country used to be, can be, still ought to be and should be into the future.
And so again, I think you talk about the opportunities that we have missed. The other night we came to the floor, and there was a group talking about make it in America. Well, you know what we need to make it in America? We need a business environment that fosters job growth. We need a tax policy that doesn't penalize people for choosing to work in the United States.
To make it in America we need an energy policy that doesn't force people to pay $60, $70 every time they fill up a tank of gas just to get to work. To make it in America we need regulations that are pro-business, not anti-business.
To make it in America we need a government that actually represents the American working families, not just bureaucracy. That's what we need to make it in America. And when it comes to trade agreements, I believe that we can and we ought to make it in America, and we can sell it abroad.
Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. You make a good point. It's not just happenstance when a country has a good manufacturing base. You don't just happen to have job creation. It's a function of policies. It's a function of the policies that we adopt in the Congress, or that we don't adopt.
For example, we haven't reformed our business taxes in years. While other countries are making themselves more competitive, we're sitting on our hands. It's not happenstance.
I want to be so attractive in this country to job creators that manufacturers in other countries want to come here. I want manufacturers around the world to want to be in this country. And the manufacturers that we might have lost, I want them to say, hey, they've changed their tune. I'm going back home. I want businesses, job creators around the world to say, that's the country where I want to create jobs because it's the best place to do business.
And we, the policies that we adopt here, the regulations that the administration puts forth, it all has an impact. It's not happenstance. It's by design. So we need to make sure that we're doing the things here that encourage the private sector job growth.
Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. And I couldn't agree more. I was just sitting here reflecting on the number of people who come up and talk to me in my district in southwest Washington about how hard it is to find work, how hard it is to find a good paying family-wage job.
I mentioned timber resources. In our neck of the woods we traditionally have had just a booming timber economy, resource-based economy; and a lot of those operations have either shut down or moved elsewhere to be more competitive.
We've got to allow job growth. I mean, it sounds simple. It really does. You know, the last time our country had the amount of spending that we see happening right now was actually in the lead up to World War II. And I've talked a lot about cutting and reducing government overspending and government growth. It needs to be done. In the last 3 years, the what we call discretionary spending, the money that has to be appropriated annually has increased by over 80 percent. Federal employment has increased by 10 percent in about
that same time. So government spending has grown. And people are saying that the way to--not ``people''--my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and the President are saying that the reason we have stagnant job opportunities is because we haven't spent enough.
Well, I listed earlier the stimulus, the bailouts, the auto bailouts, the health care bill, all this spending that's taken place; and we're still where we are now. And people say, well, it happened during World War II; we spent a ton of money and then coming out of that we grew jobs. The difference, the big difference was coming out of World War II, the last time our debt to GDP ratio was near where it is now, the difference was, and the thing that saved us, was the immediate cuts. Right?
We cut government spending back, but we grew jobs. We literally made things here in America. You know why? We had an environment that fostered job creation. We had an environment that cultivated entrepreneurs. We grew jobs here in America because we made things here. We produced things.
Again, in southwest Washington we had a roaring timber industry that has all but shut down, and the sad thing is if you don't manage the health of a forest, it deteriorates. Some of these folks who are here in these bureaucratic offices in Washington, D.C. I swear have never stepped foot in a real forest. They think you just tie a big ribbon around it and don't let anybody in or out, and that's how we protect our environment. They're wrong. You see, they think that our environment and our economy are mutually exclusive.
Man, that is such a low opinion of American researchers. That really must say that we don't think we can, our citizens, our people are intelligent enough to come up with new and innovative ways to both manage our timber and our timber economy and protect our environment.
So what we have now is shut off stands of trees ripe for beetle infestation, disease or worse, fire as we enter the summer seasons with a lot of dry foliage and underbrush. You know, it sure would be great if the EPA would have allowed some of those companies I mentioned in my district to create their biomass facilities, because then we could create jobs because we'd have a biomass facility up and running. We would be taking the remnants of trees. We wouldn't be taking full trees, but chips and bark, and using those in the biomass facility so we are creating green energy. We're fully utilizing a renewable resource, and we're creating jobs.
My goodness. That's a novel concept. We need to get there.
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