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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3578, Baseline Reform Act of 2012, and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 3582, Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding.

For a long time, Americans have believed if you work hard every day and play by the rules, you'll be able to earn enough to own a home and educate your children and retire with some dignity. It's the American Dream.

Precious numbers, or large numbers of people, rather, are now disbelieving in that because it's not really happening in their lives. They're working as hard as they can, but they seem to go backwards, not forward, and they work so hard.

You can't reignite the American Dream unless you reignite the middle class, and you can't reignite the middle class unless you reignite small business. Small businesses in this country create about two out of every three jobs created in the country. In the last 20 years, 80 percent of the new jobs have been created by businesses that are younger than a year old. So new small businesses are the key to getting things done.

Now, if you talk to small business people around the country, as we have in our districts, here's what they'll tell you: Their number one concern these days is they don't have enough customers. There's not enough people eating in their restaurants or buying goods in their stores or buying the manufactured goods that they do or buying the software code that they write. They need more customers.

So 147 days ago, 147 days ago, the President of the United States came to this Chamber and said we ought to do four things to stimulate customers for those small businesses and grow the middle class:

First, he said, we should repair our Nation's aging bridges and railroads and highways and put construction workers back to work, and building schools in the process. The Congress has never voted on that proposal.

The second thing the President said is, when a small business hires people, their taxes should be cut, so a tax cut for small businesses that hire Americans. The Congress has never voted on that proposal.

The third thing that he said is, because of the economic distress of our country, cities, counties, and States are laying off police officers, firefighters, teachers, which hurts public safety and hurts education. But it also hurts businesses, because police officers and firefighters and teachers, without a paycheck, aren't going to be buying things in the stores or eating in the restaurants or spending their money. The President said let's take some money and help States and localities rehire and put those teachers back in the classroom and put those firefighters back on the apparatus and put those cops back on the beat. We've never voted on that proposal.

And finally, the President said, look, we cut Social Security taxes, we cut the payroll tax for really all working Americans in 2010, at the end of 2010, and that tax cut is about to expire; and if we let it expire, it will be about a $1,000 tax increase for middle class Americans, which will not only hurt those families, but it will hurt the economy by draining their purchasing power from the economy, so let's extend that Tax Code. We did manage to do that for 2 months, and that's about to expire, now, in 27 days. We'll be back at that by the end of the month.

Now, if that's the urgent agenda for the country, what are we doing today? What we're doing today is passing a change in budget rules that essentially says the following: If you're really optimistic about what a tax cut might do to the economy, you can assume that optimism for the purposes of keeping score in the budget. This is like a family sitting down and planning its budget at the beginning of the year and saying, I think we're both going to get a raise this year. You're a teacher. I'm a truck driver. I think we're both going to get about a 5 or 10 percent raise, so let's plan the family budget based on that. I think scarcely any of the constituents who send us here would ever draft their family budget in that way. If this rule goes through, that's the way we'll draft the Federal budget.

It has become an article of faith, religious orthodoxy on the Republican side that tax cuts produce higher revenues. At best, the evidence is ambiguous. Most the time it doesn't. Maybe sometimes it does, but I don't think--I think we should respect the establishment clause of the Constitution and separate church and State. If the Republican religion is the tax cuts always produce more revenue, I don't think we should write that religion into the law of the country because it's not always right.

Now, beyond that, if we go home to our constituents, our middle class families, our businesses, and they ask: What did you do this week?


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