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Public Statements

Freshman Class on Jobs and Debt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I thank the gentlelady from Alabama.

One of the ways that we in the House are focused on creating an environment so the private sector can create jobs is by pushing the President to do something about the pending trade agreements. There are three pending trade agreements: one with Panama, one with Colombia, and one with South Korea. And all three of them are just sitting there, sitting there while other countries are developing relationships and increasing exports to these countries.

Now, in January of last year 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.''

I couldn't agree more. The President recognized last year that we need to move quickly with regard to these agreements that will increase exports. Why? Because if we increase exports, we increase jobs. Some estimates say that if we pass these three trade agreements, that we will create hundreds of thousands of jobs. So it's not just important that we pass them. It's important that we pass them quickly.

Why? Well, I sat down this past week with the Ambassador from Colombia, and he was talking about how his country has greatly increased trade with Europe while they're waiting on the administration here in the United States to move on the agreement with their country so that we can increase our exports and do business more efficiently, create jobs in this country. He said, We're waiting. We're waiting for the administration to take action. We keep hearing, It's coming. It's coming. We're working on it. But he knows that those are just words. We need to get these trade deals passed and in place so that we can compete.

Right now, businesses from Europe are visiting South Korea, they're visiting Colombia, they're visiting Panama, and they're doing business. And
the problem that we have, even if we ultimately get these agreements passed--and I certainly hope we will--we will have lost valuable time. It's not like flipping a switch. When the agreements are passed, everything is equal. We're competing with Europe for the business of Colombia or Panama or South Korea. It's not that easy.

Why? Because while we are sitting on the sidelines waiting for these deals to be passed, the Europeans and others around the world are developing relationships. They're flying to these countries. They're meeting for lunch. They're touring their factories. They're exchanging business cards. They're signing contracts, all while we sit idly by, waiting on the President to do something.

The President talked about doing something on these deals last year. He recognized that if we don't do something, we're going to lose the ability to compete. But what has he done? Nothing. Talk is cheap, Mr. President. We are waiting on you to move these trade deals with Colombia, with South Korea, and with Panama. You want to do something that sends a signal to this country that you are serious about job creation, Mr. President? Then get those deals passed. Get those deals passed. Get out of the way of our businesses and let them compete with Europe and other countries around the world so that they can create jobs. We're ready in this House. We're ready. We will help you get them passed. Just join us, Mr. President.


Mr. GRIFFIN of Arkansas. I would just like to say there have been a lot of topics covered tonight, from Medicare to debt to energy. They all relate to jobs. Whether we're talking about reducing the regulatory burden, revising the Tax Code, passing trade agreements, working on energy development and becoming more energy independent, or paying down the debt, they all relate to job creation and making this a country where the private sector can create jobs.


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