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Public Statements

Creating Jobs in America

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield to some of my friends here. We are going to spend some time talking tonight about the difficulty this country is having in terms of unemployment and job creation. We have got a big challenge ahead of us, and the Republicans here in the House have a lot of good ideas about how we can get this economy going, how we can take the regulatory burden off of small businesses, how we can reform the Tax Code for individuals and for businesses so we can be competitive.

I would like to yield to my friend from Illinois, Adam Kinzinger.


Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I thank the gentleman.

I hear a lot of folks who talk about the problem that we have economically, the debt problem, all of the many things that we have been trying to address here in the House, and I hear them say, well, if we can just get to where we need to be after the next Presidential election, after the next President, whoever that President is, after that President is sworn in in January of 2013, if we can just get to that point in time, then we can really address the problems.

That scares me because I don't think we can wait anywhere near that long. In fact, I think we are already living on borrowed time in terms of the crisis that this country is facing. We know for a fact President Clinton appointed a Medicare commission over a decade ago, a bipartisan Medicare commission.

Why did he do that? He did it because we had a problem then. We had a problem then in 1998, and we still have that problem now. We have a problem with the insolvency of Medicare. We have a problem with rising health care costs. We have a problem with our debt and the deficits that we run year after year after year. We have a problem with too much regulation--too much government regulation--which stifles job creation. We have a problem with our Tax Code. If you're talking about our business Tax Code and business taxes, we have a problem there. Why? Because it's hard to compete with other countries when you've got the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

It's not about whether you like big business or small business. It's about job creators. And our Tax Code discourages job creation. If you're talking about individual income tax, we've got a problem there, too. We've got one of the most complicated Tax Codes.

So what have we done about it here in the House? Well, on all of these counts we have acted. We have acted. And we've been passing legislation that addresses the jobs issue, our spending issue, Medicare, the Tax Code, overregulation. This is what we've been doing day in and day out since we got here.

And I would like to yield to some of my friends. Before I do, I would just like to say this: we're the only one with a plan. Where's the Senate's plan? Where's the President's plan?

So as we discuss here tonight, I just ask us all to think about where is the other plan that we can compare ours to. There's not one. In fact, a former Democratic National Committee chair who's running for Senate now in Virginia, Tim Kaine, said today, It's a pretty bad deal when the Senate hasn't even passed a budget. The U.S. Senate doesn't have a plan. The President doesn't have a plan. This House has a plan. And we're working hard every day to execute it and implement it.

I would like to yield now to the gentlelady from Washington.


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. 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. 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?


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. 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.


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