Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the House floor today to call on Speaker Boehner and House Republicans to bring forth a jobs bill that benefits the middle class and the American people. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, on the floor today, we’ve heard from some of our colleagues in the majority, starting with the Speaker of the House, demand that the President work with Congress to create jobs and grow the economy. If Republicans were willing to spend time on these issues, that would really be good news. I think there is a really, it’s necessary for us to have a reality check. In the sixth months of this Congress with the Republicans in the majority, there has been no jobs bill brought to the floor. There has been no budget bill brought to the floor. The budget is the blueprint for job creation, for deficit reduction, for growing the economy from creating jobs, for keeping America competitive, for making sure that America is number one.
“At the beginning of the year, Republicans said we want regular order, we want to pass a budget bill, and we did. And the Senate will pass a budget – that is not a good budget, not a statement of our values, but nonetheless a bill passed the House. They said: ‘We want regular order, we want the Senate to pass a budget bill before we can proceed with any jobs legislation.’ Over three months ago, I think not nearly four months ago, the Senate passed a budget bill. Again, a blueprint for job creation, deficit reduction, [and] growth in the economy. The minute the Senate passed the bill, the Republicans said: ‘Never mind.’ Never mind? No, it is our business to mind, to mind this Congress to make sure that we create solutions that will get results, that we are in the business of job creation in the public and private sector. With public and private partnerships with no budget, with no jobs bill, that cannot happen.
“So, when the Speaker of the House comes to the floor and makes demands on the President, which the President has made offer, after offer, after offer; he’s extended the hand of cooperation so many times I want to count his fingers to see how intact his hand is because of the reaction from the Republicans. The Republicans’ response to the President’s offer of cooperation: ‘Nothing. Nothing is our agenda. Does nothing work for you, Mr. President? Our timetable? Never. Does never work for you? Because that’s the only time that we are going to work together with you to pass a jobs bill.’
“Previously the Speaker talked about jobs being created. Why? By giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country? I’m so glad that the President’s out there today saying that we’re going to build jobs and build our economy from the middle class out. It’s really important that the prosperity of our country is enjoyed by many more people and in fact inspired by their ingenuity, their creativity, their entrepreneurship, and we have to have policies that incentivize that. It will put more – the President today will put more ideas on the table to grow our economy. He recognizes, and I think we all agree, that the economy would best work when it grows from the middle class. We on the Democratic side, not the trickle-down, top-down. Our friends on the Republican side said: ‘Trickle-down? What’s wrong with that? If it trickles down, it could create jobs. If that happens, that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s the free market.’ If it doesn’t create jobs in their words: ‘So be it.’ So be it? No, I don’t think so. So be it. Our country has come a long way since the depths of the Great Recession, which was caused by these very same trickle-down policies. ‘Tax cuts for the rich,’ that is the Republican jobs program.
“And you know what, what’s interesting to me is because we are going to be coming up in September with the five year anniversary of the meltdown, of the announcement of the meltdown during the Bush Administration. Under the trickle-down policies, and the laissez, laissez, laissez, laissez, laissez, laissez-faire attitudes of the Republicans in Congress and in the White House, we’re facing – we were facing a great meltdown of our financial institutions; a great recklessness by some, not all, but by some on Wall Street causing joblessness on Main Street.
“And what’s interesting about it is when we were notified finally, when we asked what’s going on here and they finally told us what was happening, no less a person than the Chairman of the Fed, in response in a description given by the Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary Paulson, about the seriousness of the meltdown that was occurring, the Chairman of the Fed said we could by – this was Thursday night – we could by Monday, we could by Monday have no economy. Have no economy? That is the place that these trickle down policies, this laissez-faire attitude toward no regulation, no supervision, took us in our economy, coming up five years ago in September.
“That's why it's really important for the President to be out there, for the public to understand. Not so that we can create divisions between Democrats and Republicans, but so that we can come together, as a people, to make the decisions here about a budget that does grow the economy by creating jobs and reducing the deficit at the same time, keeping America number one. That we have a [budget] that builds the infrastructure, that makes it in America by giving an incentive for jobs to stay here rather than what the Republicans suggest: tax breaks to businesses that send overseas. Build the infrastructure of America, make it in America, have our communities suggest how they would like to grow, with the proper education of our children, the safety of our neighborhoods, the security of our people.
“And so, really it's almost like another universe to listen to the Republicans talk about the economy when they have had a complete ‘never, nothing agenda and timetable’ for bringing a jobs bill to the floor that really does address the challenges that working families in our country face.
“On the positive side, I'm very pleased that the President's strategy from the growth, of course, centered around the middle class, ensures that every American has the opportunity to have a good job that pays them enough to support a middle income life; a strong education that equips our youth for the job market; a home that is not at risk of being taken away as it was five years ago; a retirement free of financial anxiety; secure healthcare with decent benefits; a higher minimum wage.
“And when I talk about what happened five years ago, what's interesting to me is the Republicans still have the nerve to be asking the question: ‘Are you better off now than you were five years ago?’ Five years ago, we weren't going to have [an] economy by Monday. We weren't going to have an economy by Monday under their policy. The President has led us out of that Great Recession. He did so in the first two years with a Democratic Congress that was – had a recovery package and an initiative to grow the economy. Since then, it's been again the ‘never nothing timetable and agenda’ of the Republicans. How much faster our country could be growing if the Republicans would cooperate with their ideas and the President's, working together in a bipartisan way to get the job done for the American people?
“And while the matter, I want to put in a word for our Democratic women's agenda, an agenda for America's women and families: ‘When Women Succeed, America Succeeds,’ an agenda that recognizes and values the work of women in the workplace by having pay equity, by raising the minimum wage, by rewarding work. An agenda that helps women balance home and work by saying that when we have – and we'll be celebrating the 20th year anniversary of the implementation of the Family and Medical Leave – that we need some paid sick leave as well, paid maternity leave as well. And the third, the bigger issue – that will take a longer time facing the challenges – is affordable quality child care for all of America's families so that our children can be learning while their parents are earning.
“The important component of it is the entrepreneurship of women in the workplace. The ownership, the women's business ownership is the fastest growing rate of small business growth in our country, minority women's owned businesses as well. So, we do believe our economy will grow, our families will prosper, our nation will continue being number one to the extent we invest in the middle class and those aspiring to it, and that we place a special emphasis on women in the workplace. Because again, when American women succeed, America succeeds. And that's how we want to ignite the American dream, build ladders of opportunity for all who want to work hard, play by the rules, take responsibility.
“We have work to do. Let's do it instead of living in a world of illusion where we don't – where the leadership won't bring a real jobs bill to the floor that can be enacted into law. The Speaker has said it isn't a measure of success as to how many bills you can enact, it's about how much law you can repeal. Well, you haven't even succeeded in that. You haven't repealed anything. So, let's get the work on the positive side to create jobs. That's the best thing we can do for the American people and let's do it soon. ‘Never’ doesn't work for us.
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield back the balance of my time.”