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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I now choose to turn to another topic--a topic that is important to many Americans, a topic that relates to an important anniversary we are recognizing.

Today, we are highlighting the third anniversary of President Obama's failed stimulus package.

The President promised 3 years ago that the stimulus would create what he characterized as millions of jobs. But today, unfortunately, devastatingly, there are nearly 13 million people in America who are still unemployed and many millions more have even given up on looking for jobs.

Three years ago, the White House said that because of the stimulus package, unemployment would not exceed 8 percent. That has not happened. In fact, the unemployment rate has topped 8 percent for 36 straight months now--the longest stretch of high unemployment since the Great Depression. The Congressional Budget Office predicts it is going to go even longer. We will not see sub-8 percent unemployment, according to the CBO, until 2014.

The President sold his stimulus package to the American people by claiming he would make immediate investments in what he characterized as ``shovel-ready'' jobs. But last June, the President acknowledged that ``shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.'' Nevertheless, a lot of money has been spent, as we have been waiting for these jobs to materialize--jobs that never quite came about.

In fact, some of it was spent in ways that have nothing to do with stimulating the economy. For example, consider some of the ways in which this stimulus money has been spent. Mr. President, $760,000 was spent on interactive dance software; $1.2 million was spent on a train museum; $2 million was spent to study ant behavior; $762,000 was spent to study improvised music--I am not sure what that is, but I am sure it is lovely, not necessarily deserving of scarce Federal resources--$300,000 to track weather on other planets--great if one lives on another planet, not so great if one lives on Earth in a country that has accumulated an unprecedented debt exceeding $15 trillion--$153,000 for an indoor water park; and $712,000 to develop a ``machine-generated humor'' system--in other words, a joke machine.

This big joke is on the American taxpayer. Unfortunately, it is no laughing matter.

In the last 3 years, we have added more than $4 trillion to the national debt, we have recorded the three largest annual deficits in our Nation's history, and we are on pace for a fourth straight deficit exceeding $1 trillion.

This week, the President submitted a budget that calls for adding $11 trillion in new debt over the next decade. His own Treasury Secretary calls the level of spending unsustainable, and it is.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that his stimulus package has failed, the President has called for additional increases in spending.

I know the President is a good man. I also know he faced a difficult economy when he took office. But the President is unwilling to tell the truth to the American people about what lies ahead, about some of the challenges we face. I think he needs to do so, and he needs to acknowledge the fact that this stimulus package has failed so we can avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

Today we cannot celebrate the anniversary of the President's stimulus. Rather, we must lament a tremendous lost opportunity by this administration to put this country back on the right track over these last 3 years.

For the sake of future generations, I hope it is not too late to change course.

I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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