Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which passed the House by a vote of 217 to 201. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
“Madam Speaker, I will not speak long because the sooner we finish debate on this bill, the sooner it goes back to the Senate, the sooner it goes to the White House for signature, the sooner jobs are created in our country.
“I agree with much of what the distinguished Ranking Member on the Committee, Mr. Mica, said about wanting a six-year bill. Our Chairman, Mr. Oberstar, has been advocating for that and I agree. I also agree that the language has to be changed, and we have a commitment to do that as we go forward. But that doesn't mean that Americans are not suffering, that that they do not need jobs, and that we should act and we should act today to bring them closer.
“I wanted to remind our colleagues to a place in time, just over a year ago, this Congress passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. As a result of that, more than 2 million jobs were saved or created. All over the country, as Members go home to their districts, they see evidence of investments in the future, clean energy jobs for the future, the education of our children, the safety of our neighborhoods, the creation of jobs, the stabilization of our economy, the stabilization of state and local budgets.
“It is a result of that, just think of what's happened since this one year. In January 2009, the last year of the Bush Administration, America lost 779,000 jobs. This January, we lost 20,000 jobs. We don't want to lose any jobs. We want to be on the upside. We want to be creating jobs. But the point is that following the passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and other initiatives taken by the Obama Administration and this Congress, a difference of over three quarters of a million jobs in one month. 779,000 in January '09, 20,000 in January of 2010.
“In the final quarter of 2008, the final quarter of 2008, before President Obama took office, America's GDP shrank by 6.2 percent. GDP for that quarter was in negative 6.2 percent. Just one year later, the GDP grew in the same period by 5.9 percent--over 12 percent change in the rate of growth of the GDP. Thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and again other actions taken by the Congress.
“When we were debating the recovery bill last year around this time--earlier, in January and February--the stock market was around 6,500, 7,000 points. It is over 10,000 now--an increase of over 3,000 points. And yesterday, we learned that America's manufacturing base grew for the seventh straight month, and it is now at its highest level in five years.
“Still, we must be unrelenting in our efforts to create more jobs. Too many Americans are unable to find work. In some cases, we are talking about putting people back to work, in some cases people haven't had opportunity coming out of school they have not been able to enter the workforce. So it is not just about putting them back to work, it's about creating a broader universe of jobs to have many more Americans participate in the economic prosperity that we hope for our country.
“Today, we are taking another step in creating jobs and laying the foundation for long-term growth and prosperity. With a $15 billion in critical investments, this bill includes a payroll tax holiday for businesses that hire unemployed workers to create some 300,000 jobs with that provision alone, and an income tax credit of $1,000 for businesses that retain employees. Specific support to small businesses with tax credits and accelerated write offs, extension of the highway trust fund. This is very, very important, allowing tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure investments; this is a $15 billion bill, but it triggers tens of billions of dollars more by eliminating a rescission of last year, by restoring the interest to the trust fund that was, it was deprived of, and by triggering further contracting tens of billions of dollars, probably a million jobs in this bill alone.
“In December, the House passed our Jobs for Main Street Act-- a broader measure for creating good-paying American jobs, paid for by redirecting TARP funds from Wall Street to Main Street. Today's legislation is one key element of that legislation, one key element of our agenda to get Americans back to work and to strengthen our economy. Mr. Speaker, I believe that every Member of Congress on both sides of the aisle understands the urgent need to create jobs for our country. And today, we have an opportunity to do so.
“I know that some people have some concerns, on one side of the aisle or the other about this provision or that provision, but the fact is that a million jobs will be created by this legislation. Vote for jobs, vote aye on this legislation. I thank Mr. Etheridge and all concerned, Mr. Oberstar, distinguished Chairman of the Transportation Committee, and so many others for making this important legislation possible.
“It's difficult. It's challenging. And more is yet to be done. But I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for jobs. Vote aye on this legislation.”