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Eleanor N.
Democrat DC 0

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  • Make It in America: The Economy

    by Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton

    Posted on 2013-03-12

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    NORTON. I want to thank my good colleague from California for keeping before the Congress the notion of making jobs in America. You were just talking about infrastructure. Infrastructure is all made in America, if we make sure that we don't build bridges, for example, from materials from China. But when it comes to the roads, when it comes to the cement, we don't get those from abroad. We make those here. And that's why infrastructure has always been the foremost way to stimulate an economy. It's interesting that it stimulates not only the construction trades, but it's best because it stimulates other parts of the economy below it. It's the way to get everything going.



    I couldn't agree with you more in pointing out--and you and I are on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee--the importance of infrastructure. That used to be the great bipartisan issue of the Congress of the United States. And I think there is some chance it will be again. We note that the bill that we just passed in the last Congress, the Surface Transportation bill, will have to be renewed next year; and I certainly hope that becomes an opportunity to do a Surface Transportation bill for more than 2 years. That's where we have to get to work right now.

    But I wanted to come to the floor today, in particular because the Ryan budget has come forward. And I note the very good news of the 246,000 jobs that the private sector, on its own, with no help from the public sector and no help from the Congress, has produced, cheering all of us up.

    Mr. Speaker, I want to note that we are about to countermand all that the private sector is doing alone. The reason is that the Federal and the State sectors are doing just the opposite. They are reducing spending, the States and the cities are causing layoffs, and the result is that for every job that the private sector makes, we are moving in exactly the opposite direction because all oars are not in the water. Thank goodness we have a private sector that is beginning to say, we won't wait for the other oars--the Federal and the State oars. We're going in now. The rest of you should join us.

    The very least we should do, however, is to cease making it worse for the private sector to keep doing what it's doing. The sequester, of course, will do that. The markets have not reacted yet, but there is no way in which people in the private sector, particularly small business, is going to continue to add jobs if they see that the Federal and State governments are doing just the opposite. The reason the State governments are doing that is because when we make cuts, they pass through directly to them. So they're trying to protect themselves because they must produce annual balanced budgets. Since they must have a balanced budget, they are making cuts every single day, or at least reducing spending.

    The Ryan budget comes forward and in a real sense it looks a lot like it's always looked. But look what it does: it makes half of its so- called savings from health care--Medicare, Medicaid, and, of all things, the Affordable Health Care Act. I guess we ought to say a budget is what, indeed, it always has been: it's a hope-for document. I hope that we don't get the Ryan budget. But I cannot believe that Mr. Ryan believes that at this late date, with an election having already taken place, with the benefits of the Affordable Health Care Act, flowing every day, that we're about to repeal that. Half of his savings are from Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Health Care Act, and he caps food stamps.

    {time} 1950 I want to say to my good friend from California, I think we ought to stop slapping the private sector in the face every time it makes jobs, making sure that we do cuts that take away the effects of those jobs. That's what we're doing.

    I note that you have one of the posters that show how we hurt people. We ought to also understand we are hurting people and we are hurting the economy at the same time, and that's why CBO said 750,000 jobs are at risk because of the sequester alone, leave aside what the Ryan budget would do.

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