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National Security and Job Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. PELOSI. As we come to the floor this afternoon to talk about this sequester issue, the clock is ticking. Every moment we delay in dealing with the budget issue is a moment of time that does not increase confidence in our economy, that does not bring more certainty to our economic situation, and that does not reduce the deficit.

I heard the previous speaker say that this legislation that is on the floor would end sequestration. It does not. That is one of the major differences between it and the Democratic proposal put forth by Mr. Van Hollen. Unfortunately, afraid of debate on the floor, the Republicans on the Rules Committee did not allow Mr. Van Hollen's proposal to come to the floor today so that we could have a vote on it; but even with that, we can have a debate on it.

The debate is about fairness. It's about balance. It's about living up to our responsibilities. It's about saying, yes, we all have to compromise--there will be cuts; we need revenue; we want growth. That's what Mr. Van Hollen's proposal does. It does, indeed, replace the sequestration. It is a better plan. It actually does end sequestration, as I mentioned, through a mix of cuts and revenues.

The reason we have a problem here is that our Republican colleagues have refused to have one red cent from the wealthiest people in our country contribute to resolving this fiscal crisis, this budget crisis--not one red cent. If they cared as much about defense as they say, 1 year ago they would have agreed to a plan with fairness and balance, where we would have had growth on the table, making decisions about revenue and about cuts to produce growth and not getting into a situation that called for across-the-board cuts in defense and in our domestic budget.

This is really silly. It's really silly. It's not serious. It's a charade, this bill that they have on the floor today. It just keeps making matters worse as the clock keeps ticking. So I urge my colleagues to reject this mirage of a bill that poses as a suggestion and to support, instead, ideas that are being advanced by Mr. Van Hollen. I don't like everything about it. We've cut over $1 trillion. That's how we got through last year--all cuts, no revenue.

You need only see how we differ by just looking at the Ryan-Romney Republican budget. Their blueprint says we're going to end Medicare; we're going to make seniors pay $6,000 more as we end Medicare; and we're going to give tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country. That's not fair and that's not balanced, but that is what would happen if the Republican bill were to become law. It would enact the Ryan bill. So I urge my colleagues to think very seriously about this, because people sent us here to find solutions. We must resolve this.

When the Speaker of the House says, I'm not confident we can do this, we are confident we can do anything we set our minds to, and we certainly have to be confident that we can honor our responsibilities to the American people. We all have to go to the table and be willing to yield, willing to compromise. We had to do it with President Bush, Senior, and with President Bush on his recovery package for our country. Democrats cooperated with both of those Presidents when we were in the majority.

Why is it that the Republicans in the House see no reason to compromise even at the risk of the full faith and credit of the United States of America? even at the expense of the health of our economy? even at the expense of jobs for the American people?

Vote ``no'' on this mirage. Support what Mr. Van Hollen is putting forth. Let's get moving because the clock is ticking.


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