Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Speaker, tonight we want to talk about jobs in America, we want to talk about how we can rebuild the great American manufacturing sector, and we also want to spend some time talking about a very special part of the American economy, and that is the infrastructure upon which that economy can grow and prosper. So there are many pieces to this puzzle about rebuilding the economic strength of this Nation.
Much of it comes down to what we call the Make It in America agenda. It's an agenda to rebuild the great manufacturing sector of this Nation. That's where the middle class found its strength. That's where the middle class grew following World War II. Unfortunately, in the last 15 years or so, we've seen a decline from some 20 million Americans in manufacturing down to perhaps 11 million.
In recent months, we've seen a resurgence in part due to some changes in law that we've put in place that end tax breaks that American corporations received when they sent jobs overseas--really foolish tax breaks. We ended many of those, and we have a few more to go. What we want to do is give manufacturers, American corporations and others, who want to on shore bring jobs back to America, we want to give them a tax break.
So the Make It in America agenda is about rebuilding that great American manufacturing base. There are many different parts to it. Part of it is the infrastructure system.
I was talking to one of my friends from the Connecticut area just a few moment ago, and he said, Listen, I can't be with you tonight, but what I want you to say is we had a terrible Amtrak train wreck in Connecticut just a week ago, and we think it may have been due to bad track.
That's the infrastructure, folks. We really need to build that train system here in America, the infrastructure for it.
I'm going to put up one more sign here before I call upon my friend from New York. Here it is. Now, that's a beautiful locomotive. That's an American-made locomotive. So this is manufacturing. This is an American-made locomotive by a German company, Siemens, one of the great industrial companies in this world. They bid on almost a half-a-billion-dollar project that was in the stimulus bill for 70 locomotives for Amtrak that had to be American made. This German company said half a billion dollars, American made, we can do that. They set up a factory in Sacramento, California, and that's the first American-made locomotive in many, many decades, or generations, and it's a beauty. It's electric. I think it's about 7,500 horsepower, and it's going to be used here on the East Coast and on that Boston to Washington, D.C., track. Hopefully, it'll be rebuilt.
Joining me tonight in this discussion about infrastructure and jobs and Make It in America is my friend from New York, Paul Tonko. We're redoing the East-West show.
Mr. TONKO. Representative Garamendi, thank you for leading us in this hour discussion focusing on jobs--from a manufacturing sector, jobs from an investment. They come about in an investment in research, R&D, and they come about through innovation.
We have talked about this many times on this floor, that we come from districts that have that keen sense of vision about how to do it smarter, which can be that difference in the competitive edge that our businesses require in an international marketplace.
What I like about the investment through this package, Make It in America, is an across-the-board holistic approach, incentives that provide everything from encouragement to the local industries to retrofit and rebuild their manufacturing processes; to investment in the workforce, making certain that those cutting-edge skills and trades are being developed within our workers, making certain that we have that human infrastructure up and ready to go so as to be robustly competitive; and also talking about the investment in this ideas economy, which speaks to the sophistication of our American society. The intellectual capacity that is harnessed to produce jobs is an awesome measure that allows us to maintain a great bit of hope that we can robustly respond to the needs of today's economy, an international economy, and be a winning agent out there. And it happens with this investment. That's how we grow jobs.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Tonko, you have come to a very important point here, and that is: Before you came to Congress, you headed up a consortium in New York that did precisely that, didn't you?
Mr. TONKO. Absolutely. I was at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and we saw what public-private matches were about. We were able to deal with the ideas economy. We came up with new ways to harness energy, to create energy efficiency in the outcome, and by so doing, innovation and research equals jobs, good-paying jobs that allow us, again, to have that cutting edge of cleverness, of having a thoughtful way to do things. The smart factor can win those contracts on an international scale. So I'm thrilled about what we can do through research.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Well, the Make It in America agenda has many, many parts to it. It has a research piece. It has an innovation piece. It has some tax issues to it. All of these have been packaged and pulled together by our leader, Steny Hoyer, who I see has joined us on the floor.
Maryland is on the East Coast. California is on the West Coast, so now we've augmented our East Coast-West Coast show. Mr. Hoyer, thank you so very much for your leadership on Make It in America.
Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for taking the floor, and I thank the gentleman from New York for joining in. I think that we are on the cusp of a real expansion and reinvigoration of our manufacturing sector in this country for a lot of reasons that I point out around the country, and I know the two of you do as well.
First of all, salaries are going up overseas. That's good news for them and, frankly, for us.
Furthermore, as we all know, it's costing a lot more to ship goods back to the biggest market in the world than it used to.
Thirdly, I think both of you have talked about energy. We are about to become an energy-independent Nation with energy that has a cost less than most of our competitors around the world, so we have become, in a relatively short period of time, I think, in many respects, the venue of choice for someone who wants to either expand or establish manufacturing here in this country or, frankly, continue to grow things in this country.
As you know, our Make It in America agenda really has four component parts. One is having a plan. Nobody talks about this more than John Garamendi of California, and God bless you for that. Thank you so much for your leadership on this issue. And Paul Tonko from New York also has been very focused on this issue, and I thank him for that.
The second part of the agenda is to not only have a plan, but be focused on exports, be focused on building markets for small, medium, and large businesses. Large businesses have the resources to look for markets themselves. In many respects, small- and medium-sized businesses do not, but they are producing products that they can sell not only here but around the world.
President Obama was in Baltimore not too long ago at a relatively small company, Ellicott Dredges, in Baltimore. They have sold dredges to over 100 countries in the world, and they are making those dredges in America.
The third part is to encourage bringing jobs home, not sending them overseas. It makes no sense to have a tax policy that gives benefits to people who are sending job overseas while we have millions of Americans who can't find jobs. So what we want to do is incentivize bringing jobs home by giving a tax break for not only bringing jobs home, but creating jobs here in America.
Lastly--you both referenced this--we need to make sure that we have a 21st century workforce. As a result, we need to invest, as the gentleman from New York just said--I am just repeating his words, but I use them all the time as well--we need to invest in education, innovation, and infrastructure. That's what helps you grow American manufacturing jobs. And Americans, when they're polled, over 85 percent of them say, if America is going to be the kind of country we want it to be, it will be because we make things here in the United States of America. And the ``Made in America'' label is seen all over the world. In fact, the ``Made in America'' label is a very popular label all over the world.
So I want to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Garamendi) and the gentleman from New York for their leadership and their focus on what is critical: if the next generation of Americans is going to make it, that we provide the kinds of jobs and opportunity, as well as education and investment in innovation, that they need to continue to live in the most successful economic country on the face of the Earth. I thank the gentleman for his leadership.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Hoyer, thank you so very much. As I've heard you say over and over again, America will make it when we Make It in America.
Mr. HOYER. Amen.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Thank you very much for joining us.
Mr. Tonko, education, innovation, infrastructure--those are keys. There are a couple of other keys, as Mr. Hoyer was saying. Part of it is our tax policy, the policies that come out of this building. And we can really do the kinds of things, laws, that really make a difference.
I put up that picture of that new Amtrak locomotive. It was a law, the Stimulus Act, that allowed the men and women in Sacramento, some 200 of them, plus another 70 companies that are the supply chain that supply the various parts to this locomotive to have a job.
And what happened in the stimulus bill was, okay, we're going to spend half a billion dollars for 70 locomotives for Amtrak. But, another sentence, they must be American-made, using American taxpayer money to buy American-made equipment.
So we now have this manufacturing plant in Sacramento. We now have men and women employed, not only in Sacramento, but around the Nation, making the various parts for this most advanced locomotive.
So it's public policy. I have a bill in that does that. It requires that if we're going to build the infrastructure and locomotives, buses, trains, roads, bridges, and use American taxpayer money, then we must be buying American-made products. Pretty simple stuff. It's the Buy America, and it creates jobs in America.
I know you have several pieces of legislation that you're sponsoring and supporting. You may want to bring those up. We'll talk about them for a few moments.
Mr. TONKO. Sure. The wordsmithing that you talk about is so critical. The addition of language that clarifies or specifically states ``made in America'' as an outcome, very critical to the legislation. And two things were happening. The wordsmithing didn't happen as tenderly as it should have for American workers, but there was also a disinvestment in manufacturing as a sector of our economy. And agriculture was ignored. Manufacturing was ignored.
Service sector was paid attention to; and then more narrowly, financial services got great attention. But we know that story: turn your back as government, say go function as you choose, and create derivatives to avoid government overview and avoid the watchdog. And we saw trillions lost to American households because of that failure.
Here there's a conscious attempt to say, no, we're not going to pay to have you ship jobs offshore. Yes, we're going to pay to have you bring them back. Yes, we're going to invest in workers. Yes, we're going to invest in research to develop new processes.
I have a bill that deals with energy efficiency that allows for us to enhance the efficiency of turbines that are being produced in Schenectady, that are being made in Schenectady at GE, and then exported to the markets around the world.
Routinely, I am showcasing manufacturing in my district so that the media, as a partner, can showcase what's happening right in our very neighborhoods, and that the story fully, complete and told to everyone, is that we're also exporting from Tech Valley, New York. That is so important for people to know, and we need to enhance that.
We need to provide for the reinforcement, the underpinning of support through language in bills, resources that are attached to various appropriations bills, and pointing a focus on American manufacturing.
I saw what happened through an incubator program at RPI, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in my district, where a local manufacturer was able to revisit his process, his manufacturing process. They upgraded it, went to a community college in the district, Hudson Valley Community College, which trained the workers from this facility how to use this new automated piece; and now they've added workers who are specifically trained on this automated concept. They're winning contracts, and Kintz Plastics in Schoharie, New York, in the upstate New York region, a rural county setting, by the way, is strengthened by all that investment.
That's what it takes. It's a focus, laser-sharp focus on how to meet the various elements of the equation that will take us to a winning effort. And it's straightforward, it's thought out, it's not mindless.
Instead of issues of ignoring manufacturing, providing for sequestration that automatically cuts programs where there ought to be investment, let's move forward with a sound budget. Let's move forward with an agenda that produces jobs.
The President has introduced a package that calls for a budget that's real, that displaces sequestration. He knows of the damage that that would do to the economy and to the investment in manufacturing that is needed now in a very targeted way.
So this is a thoughtful, mindful, analytical, academically driven agenda that really speaks to the
needs of all sorts of efficiency operations, turbines that will be built to better scale, that will allow for better outcomes and save us, in the process, save jobs in the process, grow jobs, and then provide for more productivity on the local scene.
So, I think it's incredibly successful when we just apply simple logic to the situation.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Tonko, I certainly agree about logic and the sometimes lack of logic, the sequestration, which is no sense, otherwise known as nonsense, but extraordinarily damaging.
But you're talking about Rensselaer and what came out of that. I'll give you an example in my own district, Davis, California, University of California-Davis. And here's where your discussion really meets the road.
The engineering school did computerized programming for machine tools and did some very advanced research on how to do that. One of the Japanese companies that manufactured machine tools, one of the most advanced machine tool manufacturers in the world, Mori Seiki, came over to University of California-Davis, talked to the engineers and the students and the professors that were putting together this computerized system for machine tools and said, we want to be part of that.
And so they began to use it and realized that what they needed to do was to be right next to the research so that they could constantly upgrade their machines. And they, therefore, came to Davis, California, built a factory, hired, I think, about 120 people now; and they're making the most advanced machine tools, computerized-driven machine tools anywhere in the world right in Davis, California.
So we can see the connection between research, the adaptation of that research into the manufacturing process, and then the jobs. These are all middle class jobs and above that are now available in Davis, California. And there are others that spin off from that, providing certain parts of it. So these are the keys.
Now, here's where the nonsense comes in. If those are the keys to industrial growth and manufacturing and job growth, why is it that we have a budget that's going to be back on the floor tomorrow that actually cuts research, cuts the educational components, cuts the job training, the retraining that's necessary, and doesn't do anything to create jobs except reduce the Federal support that has been critical in this Nation's history?
Why would we do that?
I don't understand, but it's going to be back here. This is the Republican Ryan budget. They're going to play some games tomorrow, try to pretend that somehow it passed the Senate when, in fact, we really need a budget conference committee so that we can sort out our differences, so we can lay the platform for future economic growth.
But that's not what that budget does. It's exactly the opposite. It's an austerity budget, and it cuts those things that really do create economic growth.
Unfortunate, but we have a different agenda; and we want that agenda of growth.
We, perhaps, ought to shift our gears here a little bit and talk about the infrastructure component which is integral to this. You mentioned it earlier.
I know that in your area a year ago you had tremendous flooding; and so the infrastructure, the protection from that, you may want to pick that up, and I'll follow along.
Mr. TONKO. Sure. Even the data compilation there, the research that's done with the weather patterns, putting together data that's compiled that are very compelling bits of information allow us to grow back smarter. If we're just going to rebuild after the damages of these consequences of Mother Nature----
Mr. GARAMENDI. It's global warming.
Mr. TONKO. Yes. And we have to be real about this. We have to take into mind and heart the situations out there. And to just simply rebuild and ignore the facts, if there's increased precipitation over the last 20 years, markedly so, discernibly speaking to us, we need to move forward accordingly. And so there should be retrofits that are responding to the data.
You don't rebuild a bridge to the same span and same height if the water volume is growing exponentially. We have combined heat and power situations that were impacted or survived the consequences of the disaster of Superstorm Sandy. Should we revisit how we rebuild some of the electric infrastructure?
So there are calls here that challenge us, that require us to do it more wisely, to do it more effectively, and to do it with intelligent approaches that allow us to use the innovative approaches that are available.
I watch what is being designed here by so many of the startup industries that are taking into account climate change, taking into account the various elements that are impacting us, causing coastal areas on your coast, on my coast of this country, where people need to rebuild in a clever way and in a way that's sensitive to the demands of the system. And the threshold years out there by which we need to respond to climate change are quickly approaching us. Some suggest as early as 2017. Others will stretch it to 2020. Regardless, that is around the corner. And the call to order here is to be sophisticated in the approach. Go forward, do it with science, do it with intellect, do it academically, so that we can grow jobs that are going to respond to the pressures out there that are bearing down upon us and are undeniable. Let's get the stuff done.
Recently, I went to several college graduations in my district. And to see the technical strength walking across that stage. From doctorates to master's degrees to bachelor's degrees, there is great talent being released out there. Let's put it to work so this Nation can build upon that pioneer spirit that has always driven us. There's just such great opportunity here. And if you believe that all the products ever required by humankind have been conceived, prototyped, developed, manufactured, and sold, the story is over. But we know better than that. Products are being developed as we speak. And the challenge to a sophisticated society such as ours, it's okay. Maybe some of those manufactured goods that you did a century ago are now replaced by some new, precision-oriented, heavy-duty ideas reformulation that really allows us to be clever in the attempt.
Mr. GARAMENDI. The infrastructure system of this Nation is the foundation for the economy. And any economic growth that we have has to be built on a solid infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers rates the American infrastructure at a D. That's not good. That's doggone bad, actually. You take a look at the other countries of the world, China and others, that are building first class infrastructure, and you come to the United States and see that we're really not. We're way behind.
You talked about the safety issue. I have probably well over 1,100 miles of levees in my district that are flood protection. And they're decades old. They need to be upgraded. So just in terms of the communities being safe--for example, Natomas, in Sacramento, is an area that I share with Congresswoman Matsui and is one of the riskiest places in America for flooding, right behind New Orleans. We need to upgrade those levees so that that community can, A, be safe and, B, grow. We know that other areas in my district have the same problem.
Yet at the same time, the sequestration, to go back to that nonsense, removes $250 million of levee improvements from the Army Corps of Engineers' budget. So projects are going to be delayed. We're going to have another winter and, God willing, we won't have a flood. But it could happen. The money that is necessary to rebuild those levees is gone.
The President has been very, very upfront about this. The President was standing right behind us here at the State of the Union and said, We need to build our infrastructure. And he proposed three things. First of all, he wants to put in an additional $50 billion to be spent in the near term--this year and the year after--to really give a major push for America's infrastructure. He also said we need an infrastructure bank. Europe has had one for nearly three decades, and it really helps to finance projects that have a cash flow: sanitation systems, water systems, toll roads, toll bridges, and the like.
The other thing that I think we ought to do is, when we spend that money, we ought to spend it on American-made equipment. And that's what my bill does. The other part of this is that we really need to address the infrastructure issue with a very robust program.
I'm going to take this for just a second. For every $1 that we invest in infrastructure, there is a boost to the economy of $1.57. So by investing in the infrastructure, we actually grow the economy more than a one-to-one basis. It's $1.57 for every $1 that we invest. And so you set this kind of economic growth going on and you've built the foundation for the future. That's what we ought to be doing.
So I ask my Republican colleagues here: pay attention. Forget about whether it's President Obama or President whomever. Infrastructure is really, really important. Take up what the President has suggested. Call it a Republican suggestion. Boost the infrastructure spending in this Nation. Put the men and women who build America's foundation back to work so that we have a foundation for economic growth and for safety.
Let's realize that we had a train wreck in Connecticut. Was it caused by a bad track situation? Possibly. We had a bridge collapse in Washington State. We know that that was an infrastructure maintenance problem. We have potholes. We know that the economy of this Nation has slowed down because of traffic jams and insufficient capacities on our highways. And we know that we have insufficient transit systems. In New York, you need to rebuild, as you just discussed, from Superstorm Sandy.
Mr. TONKO. Absolutely. When you talk about roads and bridges, my home county of Montgomery, New York, in my district, was host to a terrible bridge collapse. We commemorated in 2012 the 25th anniversary of the collapse of a thruway bridge that took several lives. That was a stark reminder 25, 26 years ago. We have only accumulated more concern for deficiencies.
So it's roads and bridges. It's rail, as you made mention. But it's also telecommunications and utilities. You look at a system that was engineered to be a monopoly, serving regions of energy needs for people, and then with deregulation came the wheeling of electrons from region to region, State to State, nation to nation. You had Canada wheeling in electrons to New York State. We need to upgrade the system. The interconnection devices need to be upgraded. There's new technology. You get more efficiency, less line loss. These are the things that are smart. And we're asking with this package that we've talked about here tonight, let's be smart. Let's respect the hard-earned tax dollars that are under our stewardship.
In August of 2003, I was serving in State government in New York when we had a major collapse of the system that was driven by transmission. An outage in Ohio triggered a collapse into New York. So Ohio put out the lights on Broadway in New York City. And this was long-term in its consequences. Great economic loss, great challenge to us. In the midst of homeland security, anti-terrorist sentiment, you had a glaring, gaping vulnerability for terrorist minds to see that weakness.
We need to invest in the infrastructure. So an infrastructure bank bill, you're absolutely right, is a tremendously strong, powerful way to leverage public-private sector matches to extend the opportunities, to grow the opportunities to make investments in all sorts of infrastructure.
I live in one of the oldest sections of the country. Our water-sewer systems are antiquated. Our utility sectors are very, very old.
The upgrades that are required, the technology that can be invested, the cutting-edge improvements that are part and parcel to that solution, these are incredible opportunities for us to strengthen the outcome for businesses. We have business coming in to upstate New York that, in one case, Global Foundries, represents some of the greatest job growth in the world for chip manufacturing. Are they energy intensive? You better believe they are. Do we need state-of-the-art hookups? Do we need reliability and predictability in that capacity that's delivered? Absolutely. So we know what the needs of business happen to be. We know how best to respond to that. We do it through clever, public, progressive policy that enables us to see the worthiness of investment.
Belt tightening, we've talked about this before--waste, inefficiency, fraud, outmoded programs undone. We belt tighten. But that is cut where you can so that you invest where you must. And that mantra should guide us: cut where you can so you invest where you must.
And the infrastructure requires our response. You need to move freight. You need to move workers. You need to have safety addressed, public safety addressed. I saw the consequences. I saw the deaths that came from the tragic collapse of a thruway bridge in upstate New York 26 years ago. That should not be repeated. That sort of tragedy should be avoided with any clever cost being assumed. And here we're asking simply to put people to work.
This is not just spending money. It's investing in workers that will make for a stronger outcome, and it provides for state-of-art opportunities. And that's where the business partnership is with this country. If you're going to sit there and say we're just going to cut our way to prosperity, cut our way to deficit reduction, and cut our way to job growth, it's not going to happen that way.
Mr. GARAMENDI. No, it certainly won't. You've been talking about bridge collapses, the bridge that collapsed in the Twin Cities, Minnesota and Wisconsin, lives lost. We're continuing to see the infrastructure, bridges and others, unable to really carry the modern loads that are there, rusting and falling down. We need to really address that.
You did raise an essential point about the electric grid, that power infrastructure, the electric power infrastructure of this Nation, critically important. We need to make the investments there. And we're also making--Mr. Hoyer talked about the energy independence that we're moving towards in the United States. One part of that is the natural gas that is now being more readily available and at a reasonable price, and we're seeing the repowering of many of the coal-fired power plants using natural gas, which also reduces the greenhouse gas emissions from coal. All of that is good.
I want to pick up another area of infrastructure that's really important. I've now become the ranking member of the Coast Guard and Maritime. While I've always been interested in the ports, at least in the California ports, I'm now in a position here to spend even more time focusing on the ports and the maritime industry. International commerce, critically important to economic growth, Mr. Hoyer talked about the export potential that this country has and will even grow more in the future, but that is also the ports and the airports.
Both of these, airports and the ports, are unable to meet the demands of modern and advanced transportation. Many of the ports in America need to be deepened so that the new container ships that are now coming into play and many of the new oil tankers and the rest can access the American ports. In doing so, we will be able to maintain the vitality of international trade, the export market, which we really must, once again, dominate, and the jobs that go with the ports.
And so it's ports and it's railroads that lead out of the ports and the trucking industry that goes out of it so that we need a comprehensive transportation plan. We're going to rewrite the Surface Transportation Act in this session of Congress, start on it this year, get it done in, well, hopefully this year or maybe next year--not maybe. We have to do it next year because we see the expiration of the current transportation plan.
So there's enormous responsibilities that we have to create the infrastructure upon which America grows. It's the roads. It's the ports. It's the airports. It's the electrical system and the communication systems. All of these are critical, and all of them, in one way or another, are dependent upon the actions taken by the 435 of us in the House of Representatives and the 100 Members of the Senate and, of course, the President.
Bear in mind that the President has presented to the Congress a very robust infrastructure plan that takes into account all of the elements that we've discussed here tonight. Very, very little of that has actually
been taken up in any committee hearing, and what we have seen pass the House thus far is not the kind of robust investment that is needed for infrastructure but quite the opposite: a disinvestment through such things as the sequestration and the Ryan budget which will be back on the floor again in the next day or so. These are not the way you grow the economy. These are austerity programs that actually reduce the investments that we need for the foundation of America's economic growth: education, research, infrastructure investment, modern manufacturing. These are the keys, and we have to do it.
Mr. Tonko, we've gone through most of our time. If you'd like to take a wrap, and then I'll take a wrap and we'll call it a night.
Mr. TONKO. Well, you talk about the challenges that we have out there, and you've listed what I think is a very aggressive agenda but a doable agenda; and I think to reinforce the doability of it, the acceptability of it, perhaps we just need to recall some of our most golden moments in American history when we were challenged, when there was a need to respond with boldness, with vision, and with courage. We did it.
My district is the donor area in a large way to the Erie Canal system. You talk about ports. It grew a port out of a little town called New York. It was that port of entry that then allowed for the shipping of goods up the Hudson into the Mohawk, into the Erie Canal system, a system that was brought about under tough times. The proponents of the canal said, Look, we're going to do this; it's a tough time, but let's invest.
Did that prove successful? You'd better believe it. It sparked the westward movement and an industrial revolution, gave birth to a necklace of communities called mill towns. Mill towns became the powerful epicenters of invention and innovation.
When President Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, led this Nation out of its worst economic crunch, it was about investing in America, putting people to work and developing projects that were essential to our hopeful tomorrow. It put a lot of people to work. It pulled us out of the doldrums of the Depression and allowed us to rise from the situation and provide, again, hope for this Nation.
President Eisenhower, understanding that in some tough times we needed to develop an interstate system for our highway network because, again, it was transporting and shipping of goods and we needed to modernize and advance what was best for America, that golden moment of our history should speak to us.
Certainly, President Kennedy picked up on that Sputnik moment when we dusted off our backside and said, Never again. He called us together as a nation, a rather youthful President, saying, We're going to win this global race on space. We're going to do it, because with passionate resolve, we're going to say ``yes'' to the investments required so as to stake that American flag as the first flag onto the surface of the Moon, winning that race, that global race on space. And we did it because we invested, we believed, and we resolved with passion and worked together as a nation.
So, let's take inspiration from those golden moments, an Erie Canal, an FDR comeback with the workers corps and the building of an infrastructure, highway infrastructure, and the winning of a global race on space. Let's let that speak to us as a nation. Let us move forward with the passion and the resolve and say, Invest in the clean energy, science and tech, innovation economy. We know we can win this. But if we sit there complacently and don't allow for the investment in our workforce, deny the potential of this Nation, that is not leadership. That is not leadership. We will then be passed by by other nations.
We have the intellect that can be harnessed here to grow the sophisticated products, to deal with a position orientation of manufacturing today, to provide for advanced manufacturing, to come up with clever batteries as a linchpin to the energy revolution, and the list goes on and on and on. Leadership from this Chamber can make a difference, and a sound budget, an honest budget, one that invests in America is what we require right now.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Tonko, thank you so very much. Your passion on this has been displayed on this floor numerous times as we talked about making it in America, about jobs and infrastructure. As you were going through that recitation of American history, I want to go back even further than the canal period. Let's go back to our very first President, George Washington.
He refused to go through the Inaugural in a suit made by England. So he wanted an American-made suit. He found the cloth from Boston and a tailor, and wore an American-made suit.
He also, immediately on taking office, our very first President in the very first days in his office, turned to his Treasury secretary, Alexander Hamilton, and said: We need to develop the manufacturing in this country. I want you to develop a plan on manufacturers.
Hamilton went out--I don't know if he had a committee or not--but he came back with a report. It was probably 30 to 50 pages. Now it would be 30-50,000 pages. But nonetheless, he came back with a report--I think he had about 15 different thoughts in it--and they were precisely on this subject of ``making it in America.''
You will love this. One of the very first things in that document was: We need to build the infrastructure; canals, roads, and ports. The very first President said: The role of the Federal Government is to help build the infrastructure. And here we are centuries later still debating how we're going to do it. Well, just pay attention to the Founding Fathers. They told us how to do it.
They also said we ought to spend the American taxpayers' money on American-made goods. It's in that document dating back to the very first policies of this Nation. And so when I introduced this bill that says use the taxpayer money to buy American-made products, it's not new, folks. I'm simply copying what Alexander Hamilton suggested to George Washington and the first Congress of the United States.
There are other elements in it that play into this in a similar way. And certainly we know that Thomas Jefferson was really big on education. And so the University of Virginia came up. These are the elements of economic growth.
Here we are--435 of us in the House of Representatives--and the question for us is are we going to put in place policies that provide the foundation for economic growth, or are we going to go the opposite direction and continue on the austerity route which actually disinvests on those key elements that create economic growth?
For me, I'm an investor, I want to invest in America's future with infrastructure, education, innovation, research, and manufacturing in America. Those are the policies that I believe we need to put in place, Mr. Tonko. You and I have been here many nights and we've talked about these issues many, many times. And we're not going to stop, are we?
Mr. TONKO. You know, we're not. And I think it's, again, that belief, that sense that we can accomplish; as you were talking about, those early, early days from our humble beginnings.
I was reminded of the event this weekend in my district in Saratoga where we were revisiting the area that hosted General Burgoyne's surrender to the American troops after the Battle of Saratoga. And this was the David and Goliath routine. We weren't supposed to win that battle. It's been dubbed the battle of the millennium. And that it was more than a national battle. It made a statement around the world that this mighty force came up against insurmountable odds and won. That's in our DNA.
We are replete in our history of all sorts of response that came in powerful measure, that said, ``this is America at her best.'' That's the moment to seize right here. Not to walk away and sequester us, weaken us, disinvest in us, defund us.
I told a group of young students this weekend with the Hugh O'Brien Youth Leadership Conference, hundreds of students: Do not let us as a political generation undo your political generation. You are worthy of education dollars, you are in need of access affordability to a college path, you deserve your climate change to be addressed, your planet requires our stewardship. What is this walking away from the next generation? Is that our legacy? Is that what we want our legacy to be? Or is it us remembered as a generation that faced immense challenge after a difficult recession and we came to terms and said the academics applied here show us how to work our way through this critical test and how to invest in America so that her best days lie ahead?
That's responding with fairness, with respect, and justice to that next generation of workers who are only asking us to do what generations before us did: Believe in us, care for us, invest in us, so only our best will be available for us, our best opportunities.
Mr. GARAMENDI. Mr. Tonko, I don't think I could say it better. And so what I think I will say is, Mr. Speaker, we yield back our time.