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Public Statements

Unfinished Business in this Congress

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee) for 5 minutes.

Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I would like to join my colleague in asking for the blessings on this Nation and to remind America that we gathered on Tuesday, together, in commemoration and recognition of 9/11. But America also needs us to do better. And I speak in the backdrop of a horrific tragedy that we are all reminded of in the loss of Americans in what continues to be an attack on our values. That's why it's important for us to shed all that partisanship leads to and the lack of bringing forth bills that would help all of America.

So I am here this morning to remind us of work yet undone, that we just had 61 bills that have been signed into law this year, the fewest in more than 60 years. In all of 2011, only 90 bills were signed into law. And so we know in the last session, the 111th Congress, 258 bills were signed into law. We have got to do better. And the most difficult thing that I rise and speak about is the lack of presenting on the floor of the House the President's jobs bill, the American Jobs Act, that would invest in small business, that would create an opportunity for those who have lost their unemployment to be extended, to create summer jobs and part-time jobs, to be able to ensure that there is job training, and to make sure that we say to America: we are your partner in job creation. Why haven't we been able to overcome those who would stand in the way on the other side of the aisle for putting forth the American Jobs Act? It is to help the American people.

We have not been able to tackle, if you will, postal reform. Those are jobs. Those are people who work to make America's commerce travel from place to place. I have spoken to small businesses, and they say the U.S. Postal Service is their lifeline for their small business. They can actually make a profit by using the U.S. Postal Service. Senior citizens who receive their Social Security checks, sometimes in the mail, many times we know online, but are connected to the post office. They're connected to the letter carriers. They're connected to the local post office in their neighborhood. How do I know? Because of the outpouring of concern for the closing of a post office on Mesa Road in the 18th Congressional District, my congressional district.

So I am interested in this Congress not being known by the do-nothing Congress, do-nothing Republican Congress. I want us to work together and be able to say that these items need to be put forward for the American people. What do we have to say, now looking toward sequestration? We realize that you cannot cut discretionary funding. We realize that 50 million Americans are suffering from food insecurity, and we have a $13 to $16 billion cut in the supplemental nutritional program. That simply cannot be. That cannot be the record of this Congress. No jobs, no postal reform, cutting food that people need, and, of course, staring down at our men and women in the United States military where resources that they need may be cut.

So I am asking that we may be reminded that there are those who have written, Norm Ornstein and Thomas Mann, that in studying Washington politics in Congress for more than 4 years, this is their quote, they have never seen such a dysfunctional place. We can do better. We must do better.

Democrats are ready to work to pass the American jobs bill, to pass postal reform, to pass bills dealing with helping to improve the lives of Americans, to ensuring that no American goes to bed hungry, and that we welcome our troops home and provide for their families. That's the Congress that we should be known for. That's what America is all about.

I ask that God blesses this Nation, but this Congress recognize that we have to be busy until He comes. Let's get busy for the American people. Democrats are busy and want to work to succeed to do what is right for America.

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