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Public Statements

We Can All Agree on the Need for Jobs

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WOODALL. Madam Speaker, as you know, when folks turn on C-SPAN, it's not hard to find those things that divide us here on the House floor. We can talk to anybody that we see walking around the Capitol today, and they could talk about those issues that divide us as a Nation. But I'm a firm believer that there is actually more that unites us as a Nation than divides us. And I know one of the things that unites this House in this time in our Nation's history, more than in others, is that desire to create jobs for American families.

We all have those families in our districts that are struggling with foreclosure right now, Madam Speaker. We all have those families in our districts that are struggling with layoffs. And we have those families in our districts that are the small business owners that actually drive this economy.

That's another area of agreement we have, Madam Speaker. Folks know it's not the big businesses in America that hire; it's the little businesses in America. It's those entrepreneurs out there. It's those folks who think that they have an idea. It's that husband and wife team who goes out and says, I can do it better, and they hang out their own shingle.

But anybody who's talked to those small business men and women these days, Madam Speaker, knows that folks have a tough time getting access to credit. It seems now in America the only people who can borrow money are folks who don't need any money at all. And that's a challenge. That's a challenge because what makes this economy grow are those folks who say: I can use that money better. I can do something more efficiently. I can add productivity if only you'll take a chance on me.

But the regulators, Madam Speaker, that's what I hear from my bankers: My regulators won't let me lend anymore. That's what I hear from my bankers: The regulators came in, Rob, and told me I can't give any more money out to small businesses.

So where are we? Where are we? What's going to hire our young people, Madam Speaker? What's going to fuel the economy? What's going to pay the Social Security taxes that need to be paid if we can't create those jobs?

Well, I want to talk about something else that unites us as a House, and that's H.R. 1418. It's the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act, Madam Speaker, and it's sponsored by 33 Republicans and 51 Democrats. You don't hear that very often when you watch C-SPAN, Madam Speaker. I know that to be true. But about half Republicans and about half Democrats come together on what is called the Small Business Lending Enhancement Act that says to our credit unions, those small institutions in each of our communities, be a part of job creation.

I ran for Congress, Madam Speaker, on the platform that it's not that the government does too little; it's that the government does too much. There's nothing wrong with the foundation of America. It's the way we've hamstrung America with additional rules and regulations. Our credit unions are in that spot.

For folks who don't know, credit unions today are only allowed to lend about 12 1/4 percent of their assets to small businesses, to businesses at all, in fact, and they want to do more. Folks can't find the money at banks. They come to their credit unions. They say, Can you help? And Congress has said, No. Congress has said, No.

It's not what we need to do. It's what we need to undo. H.R. 1418 undoes that 12 1/4 percent cap, Madam Speaker, and raises it to 27 1/2 . Hear that. Every credit union in America would be able to participate in funding small businesses, in providing the capital that small businesses need to succeed. You can't succeed without capital. Capital's not available in America today. We need to find ways to do that.

Something else you don't hear a lot, Madam Speaker, is where the House and the Senate are coming together on things. These days, more than most, it seems hard to find those things that the House and Senate agree on. But to be clear, this bill has been introduced in the Senate, too. It's S. 509 on the Senate side, and it has 20 cosponsors in the Senate, so that's about one-fifth of the Senate is already on board. Eighty-four Members of the House, that's about 20 percent of the House also on board.

This is something we can do, Madam Speaker. It's something we can do today. It doesn't cost the taxpayer a nickel--doesn't cost the taxpayer a nickel--and frees up capital for our small business men and women.

I want folks, Madam Speaker, to look out over the horizon, as you and I do, and say: What's going to change joblessness in this country? What's going to change it?

We have the lowest level of entrepreneurship in this country that we have seen in 30 years--30 years--and it's entrepreneurs that drive this train. It's not the big guys; it's the little guys.

This bill, Madam Speaker, frees up our money that we have put into our credit unions by removing restrictions that we, as a Congress, have placed on our credit unions to allow them to be a part of job growth.

We don't need another stimulus bill. We don't need to spend more taxpayer money. And by ``taxpayer money,'' I mean, as the gentleman from Massachusetts said earlier, money we're borrowing from China to spend on stimulus programs. We can do it simply by undoing those rules and regulations that we've passed already in this House, Madam Speaker.

H.R. 1418, it doesn't do it overnight; it does it gradually. It requires that the regulators be involved. It says only if you have experience in member lending, only if you're well capitalized, and only if you have a history of doing it well.

Let's pass H.R. 1418, Madam Speaker, and let's move it to the Senate.

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