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Public Statements

Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Chairman, I would like to just congratulate everybody with the Progressive Caucus and thank all of the staff that did such a good job preparing this excellent budget which gives us an amazing choice as Americans to confront this jobs crisis. I'm so proud that our Speaker has told the world--Speaker Boehner--that the debt crisis is not immediate. He's right, it's not. But let me tell you what is immediate: the jobs crisis.

That's why the Back to Work budget brings down unemployment to 5.3 within 3 years by investing in people--our construction workers, our teachers, and our police officers. We're also fiscally responsible, reducing the deficit over the long run by $4.4 trillion.

The Republican budget makes the wrong choices for our country. I respect the fact that they have honestly projected a vision, but it's an austere vision for the American people. It's no surprise that this message lost the election that we just had. It was put in front of the people. They said we will have none of it, but the American people do want what's in the Back to Work budget.

Gallup released a poll that confirms what you and I already know, and that is that the American people want jobs, not austerity; 72 percent, Mr. Chairman, of Americans said that they support putting people back to work repairing our Nation's infrastructure, including a majority of Republicans.

Now, the fact is that the Back to Work budget is about putting people back to work. As the Speaker and I agree, it's not the moment where we need to clamp down on debt. It's the moment we need to put Americans back to work. So which budget meets the test? The Progressive Caucus budget invests at the level the American Society of Civil Engineers says is needed to close our infrastructure gap. The Republican budget cuts transportation by 20 percent.

Mr. Chairman, it's time to get back to work, and let's pass the Back to Work budget.


Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Chairman, I want to congratulate my Republican friends on convincing some Americans that the only thing they should be thinking about is debt and deficit. While it is important, we acknowledge that, even Speaker Boehner last weekend said that it was not an immediate crisis. But the immediate crisis is the jobs crisis, so we should be comparing these budgets based on who creates more jobs.

Now, the Progressive Caucus Back to Work budget creates 7 million jobs in its first year with a jobs package that repairs 35,000 public schools, rehires 300,000 laid-off teachers, and boosts consumer demand with a tax credit for working families. I believe my friend who just spoke said that we raise taxes on middle class families. Not true. We actually cut taxes on middle class families.

The Republican budget would kill 2 million jobs in its first year by slashing investment in research, education, and public safety.

Now by a job-to-job comparison, not just a debt-to-debt, deficit-to-deficit comparison--again, an important thing, but not the most important thing--on the jobs measure, the Back to Work budget is superior in every way to the Republican budget. It puts people back to work doing jobs that need doing.

The American Society of Civil Engineers, experts who are completely nonpartisan, have said we have $3.3 trillion in unmet maintenance needs. We make a downpayment on that infrastructure gap, and we put Americans back to work with the Back to Work budget.


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