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Public Statements

Making Life Work for American Families

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. WAGNER. I'd be pleased to. Thanks so much for sponsoring this Special Order and talking about making life better and for working Americans across this country.

I'm a proud freshman Member of the 113th Congress, and we were elected to tackle the big problems. There is no bigger problem facing our country right now than getting hardworking Americans back to work with the skills they need during this tough economy.

Today, the Federal Government currently operates more than 50 different job training programs, many of which are duplicative, at a cost of some $18 billion annually to taxpayers. With nearly 20 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, it's time to cut through the red tape and start training individuals with the skills they need to find high-paying middle class jobs. That's why this House in the 113th Congress passed the SKILLS Act. It streamlines 35 overlapping job training programs, including many that were identified by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, and eliminates unnecessary red tape so that State and local resources go directly to help those that are actually seeking jobs.

According to a report released by my home community, St. Louis, by the community colleges there, 76 percent of employers found that workers lacked the proper training to contribute right away. And the most in-demand certificates for job openings, believe it or not, were for registered nurses. I think it's time that we start investing in nurses, medical assistants, manufacturing technicians, and computer support specialist jobs, and stop wasting billions and billions of dollars every year on ineffective government programs that do little to train individuals with the skills they need to succeed.

I believe it is past time for the Senate to take up this SKILLS Act, to do its job and pass commonsense legislation that puts America back to work, #makinglifework.


Mrs. WAGNER. Absolutely. We're all reminded, with tax day having just passed, that we do need a Tax Code that is fairer, that is simpler, that we don't have to hire accountants and lawyers and go through thousands of pages of code in order to comply with the law.

We must remain competitive in society. We must cut through the red tape. Whether it's lowering tax rates for hardworking Americans and businesses and job creators or whether it has to do with cutting through overregulation--which is running rampant through our government--we've got to do things that cut waste and not workers. That's why making life work for Americans is so very important.

Balancing our budget, living within our means, I will tell you every family, every hardworking middle class family in the Second District is working hard to figure out how to make those tennis shoes last another 6 months. The dishwasher may be broken; but you know what, they'll wash them in the sink until they've got the money to pay for it.

There are private sector job creators, there are working families everywhere, there are State governments that are living within their budget, living within their means. It's time that the Federal Government balances their budget and lives within their means. Only the House budget balances within a 10-year period of time and cuts the kind of waste that needs to be cut instead of cutting workers and making sure that the American Dream is available for all Americans.


Mrs. WAGNER. Absolutely. And I will tell you, it puts the job back in the people's House--we, the people. This is not governance by fiat. We were sent here by our districts across the country to pass commonsense legislation and to get the government off the backs and out of the way of hardworking Americans across this country. And, truthfully, the overregulation, the overburden, on business and industry is passed along to everyone across America. Every worker, every family is paying the cost of this overregulatory burden. Whether it's the debt and deficit, whether it's tax reform, whether it's flexibility for families, whether it's living within our means, I'm finished with mortgaging our children's future.

And I agree with the gentlewoman from Washington. I'm tired of mortgaging today. It's not just about the future, it's about mortgaging what's happening right now.


Mrs. WAGNER. We thank the gentlelady from Alabama for putting the Special Order together, for really caring about all Americans and about what's important to them, as you said, sitting around the kitchen table. It's about making life work. And at the end of the day, that's what government ought to be doing--getting out of the way, off their backs, working for the people, not against them.


Mrs. WAGNER. There are tens of thousands of Americans who have been turned away who are suffering and sick and ill with preexisting conditions, and I hope we're going to address this tomorrow.

Do you know what we're going to do?

We are going to defund this preventative care act--this slush fund in the Affordable Care Act--that has been going for everything from paths and bike paths and advertising campaigns and spaying and neutering dogs. Instead, we're going to defund it. We're going to pay down about $8 billion on the deficit, and we're going to move money into these high-risk pools, which are run by the States, that are going to actually take care of sick Americans.


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