Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this afternoon in support of H.R. 1586, the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, which passed the House by a vote of 247 to 161, and will now be sent to President Obama for his signature into law. Below are the Speaker's remarks.
“Today, Madam Speaker, we have an opportunity to create jobs. At the press of a button, each of us will play a role in creating over 300,000 jobs, saving over 300,000 jobs across the country. Their jobs--these people are consumers. It's important to our economy that they are employed.
“But it goes further than that. It's about jobs for teachers. It's about the education of our children. It's about the innovation of our nation. It's bigger than just a job. It's about the future. It's about the jobs of firefighters and police officers, but it's also about the safety of our neighborhoods and our communities where are children thrive. It's about nurses and health care providers to keep our country strong in terms of the health and well-being of the American people. It's about the stability of state budgets.
“Economists have told us that if this legislation were not passed, and these jobs are not saved, and the budgets of the states are not stabilized, we would go into another deep recession like the one we inherited from the previous Administration. And it would be a much longer path out of that recession.
“So I thank the distinguished Chairman for bringing us to the floor with this legislation. I thank the Members of both sides of the aisle for responding so quickly to the call to return to Washington to save and create jobs for the American people.
“The pay-for in this legislation, which repeals the opportunity for businesses to get a tax break for sending jobs overseas, is part of our ‘Make it in America' agenda. ‘Make it in America' means manufactured in America. It also enables people to make it in America.
“This is about innovation--innovation that is created here with our creativity and the benefit of our education system and our entrepreneurial spirit and the rest. And then it says when we have the idea and we create the innovation, that we create the jobs here to produce it, to manufacture it and not to scale up overseas. Invent here; create the jobs overseas. No. Invent here; manufacture here; and market to the world.
“This is really important legislation also because of the way it is paid for. While I don't support all of the provisions, I am not happy about the taking money from our energy sector or from food stamps, but I hope that we can, Mr. Chairman, make that up in another way. I am very pleased about the funds that are obtained by repealing the provision to send jobs offshore. This legislation is fiscally responsible and fully paid for. It invests in American's communities, again by closing that tax loophole that allows corporations to ship jobs overseas.
“Those who claim that the legislation will add to the deficit are simply wrong. In fact, according to nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, this bill reduces the deficit by $1.4 billion.
“Madam Speaker, it's about time that we had this bill passed. We first passed it in the House last year, in the end of last year. We passed it again, some features of it, in the spring. Finally, the Senate acted last week. Finally, they were able to get enough votes to pass it with a supermajority in the Senate. The minute we anticipated that that would happen, the word went out that we called to the House to come back to Washington so that not another day would go by without our pressing that button for over 300,000 jobs.
“My grandchildren, the ones who are in public school, went back to school yesterday. So this is, it's about time, again, that we passed this bill. Children in other parts of the country may be preparing to go back to school, in another week or so, or at the beginning of September, and they cannot afford to wait for us to put teachers back into the classroom. That's why it was urgent that we acted. Communities struggling to keep police and firemen on the beat and firefighters on the job that were on the brink of layoffs-- this is good news for them. And tens of thousands of Americans will not be joining the ranks of the unemployed.
“So I thank the gentleman, again, for his leadership. For making this part of what we have been doing for a matter of moths so that we were ready. We were ready when, thank God, the Senate acted. So that we can educate our children, innovate for our country, protect our neighborhoods and our homes, as well as keep the American people healthy, in a fiscally sound way.
“Again, we are doing so in a way that helps people make it in America. And for that I am grateful to the Chairman and to the distinguished Democratic Leader, Mr. Hoyer, who coined the phrase. But for all of our Members who worked so hard to make America, have America continue to be the shining star, the lead competitor, the innovator, Number 1. President Kennedy, when he launched the campaign to send a man to the moon and back safely many, many decades ago, he said he would do so within 10, years and he did. But when he did it, he said: ‘If we are to honor the vows of our founders, we must be first, and therefore we intend to be first.'
“This legislation is yet another piece of legislation that enables America to be first. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for allowing us that privilege. And to Mr. Obey as well.”