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Mr. ANDREWS. I thank my friend for yielding the time.
The month the President took office, the U.S. economy was in the midst of a horrible collapse into oblivion for a lot of American families. The economy lost 700,000 jobs the month the President took office.
Last Friday, we had the news that the economy gained over a quarter of a million private sector jobs. This is welcome news, but we have a lot of work to do. This is not nearly sufficient to restore the American Dream to America's middle class and really fuel the kind of recovery that we need.
Now, the President came to this floor 152 days ago with specific ideas that both parties had agreed to over the years, to try to fuel the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are the fuel of the American economy. And he came to the floor with four ideas. The first was to cut taxes for small businesses that hire people, something people on both sides say they're for. We've never taken a vote on that idea, never since then.
Second, he came to the floor with an idea that, as teachers are being laid off from the classroom, and firefighters are being laid off from our first responders, and police officers are being taken off the street, why don't we help the cities and towns and States to keep some of those people on the job, not only so they can do their job, but so they can spend money in the stores and the restaurants and help small businesses. We have never taken a vote on that idea in those 152 days.
The third thing the President said is, let's put construction workers back to work building libraries of the future for our schools, repairing the crumbling roads and bridges of the country, making sure rural America's wired for the Internet. And those construction workers would then become the customers of the small stores and the restaurants, the appliance stores that make America go. We have never taken a vote on that idea in the last 152 days.
And finally, the President said, let's avoid a massive tax increase on the middle class people of this country that was scheduled to go into effect on January 1 of this year. Well, we sort of took a vote on that and were able to dredge out of that process a 2-month extension to avoid that massive tax increase. That extension ends 22 days from today. In the 2 months since then, there's not been one proposal on the floor to fix that problem.
What we have on the floor today is a very interesting bill, and I, frankly, commend the seriousness of it. The bill essentially says we should re-examine the method by which we value guarantees issued by the Federal Government when we account for them in our budgets. In other words, if you cosign a note
for someone, how should that show up on your balance sheet? That's essentially what this bill is about.
Now, this is a serious question. But I think the unemployed carpenter and the small business owner about to close her store and the police officer who got his pink slip last week thinks it's a pretty irrelevant question. And what they would rather have us do is vote ``yes'' or ``no'' on cutting taxes for small businesses that create jobs. We vote ``yes.''
``Yes'' or ``no'' on putting police officers, firefighters, teachers back to work. We vote ``yes.''
``Yes'' or ``no'' on helping the middle class by avoiding a massive tax increase on the American people. ``Yes'' or ``no.''
What we ought to be doing is bringing those questions to the floor, those questions to the floor, and having a debate. Instead, we're having a debate that's serious, but it really belongs at the American Society of CPAs, not the House of Representatives.
Let's get to work on the questions we're hearing at home, ``yes'' or ``no.'' We say ``yes'' to fueling the middle class job creators, the small businesses of this country. The majority responds with silence.
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