San Francisco - Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks at the University of California, San Francisco on the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Speaker Pelosi held a roundtable discussion with Mayor Gavin Newsom, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, chancellor of UCSF, and several local business owners who received recovery funds to create jobs. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
“Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor, for your kind words, for your tremendous leadership, and for being an entrepreneurial mayor of a great innovative city. It is appropriate that we are here at UCSF. Thank you, Chancellor Desmond-Hellmann, for your leadership nationally and globally on innovation and for having UCSF be such a magnet for resources from the National Institutes of Health. Specifically, well over $100 million from the Recovery Act alone.
“Let me say, this is a very special day for us because we worked very hard to put together this Recovery Act. Our country was on the brink of falling into a deeper recession; the Mayor is talking about it not getting credit for saving jobs, I think that should indicate how deep the recession was that we are pulling ourselves out of and that we had to save ourselves from falling beyond the brink.
“Under the leadership of President Barack Obama, we were able to pass this Recovery Act. Yes, the Mayor says there are those who say not one job was created, but as the President indicated this morning, that has not prevented Republican Members of Congress from going to ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings and dedications of projects that must be creating some jobs in their districts. [Laughter.]
“I am certainly proud to represent a district that has always been a model of national significance that others can learn from, so that of course we would be a magnet for resources to encourage innovation. As the Mayor indicated, nearly a billion dollars in this one piece of legislation, again that kicks open the door for much more as we go down the road. But, nothing we can say, as officials, is as eloquent as the validation that our small business people and others. Bernadette Pereira from the police department, Arik Levy from Laundry Locker, Bill Ortiz Cartagena from Gentle Parking. Gentle Parking, that is quite a name. Nat Ford telling us what is happening in terms of the Muni; Mr. Alvarez told us earlier, in terms of housing; Chris Cary told us and others about education; the Mayor told us about jobs now; Eric Weaver and Scott Hauge talked to us about small business.
“Bernadette, I am going to give the President these pictures. I had the honor of receiving these from Bernadette earlier today, signed by members of her recruiting class, with their appreciation for the difference the Recovery Act has made to them. This is about them as individuals and the jobs and their aspirations, to be part of the public safety of our community. So it is about jobs, it is about economic recovery, it is about public safety. So thank you for your interests. Because as the police chief said to us, and we all know, unless the community is safe, it is hard to do anything else and that is our first responsibility, the police and fire which both have benefited from the recovery package.
“I think it is important to note the following: a year ago, just think of these four things- one year ago, the unemployment rate for the month, the preceding month, was 740,000; not the unemployment rate, the job loss was 741,000 jobs; same month, this year, 22,000 jobs lost, about a 720,000 job loss difference. Now we do not like losing 20 thousand plus some jobs, and we have to do better than that. But it was almost three quarters of a million jobs more last January. Stock market then was 7,000; it is over 10,000, a gain of 3,000 points. The difference that this Recovery Act has also made in our GDP- last year, corresponding time, reported in January, for January 6.2 percent negative. GDP, this year- 5.7 percent positive for the corresponding month. What is that? Over 11 percent, over 12 percent change in the GDP.
“So whether it is the GDP, whether it is jobs, whether it is the stock market, whether it is the sustained investments six months in a row, the best performance in over five years. So this recovery package is making a big difference. Let's remove all doubt about that in terms of saving our economy from the path it had been on because of the policies of the previous Administration. I didn't even really want to talk about them, but if the Mayor is saying they are trying to counter the impact this, I think we must remove all doubt.
“But again, nothing we can say as is eloquent and or more important than what we hear from small business people, and what it has meant to them, what we hear from our own public safety, our transportation, our housing, our education, and the rest, what it has meant to them. Again it translates into jobs, and jobs put food on the table. It's about consumers, and consumers are the lifeblood of the economy, but in addition to that, it is about the safety of our children, the safety of our neighborhoods, of the quality of life for our people.
“So are very proud and I salute President Obama. That is why I am going to bring him these pictures, which I know he will be so delighted to receive as soon as we go back into session next week, to show him firsthand your personal validation of his hard work. I will tell him about the pushups too. [Laughter.] They were doing pushups today.
“But again, let me get back to where we are, to UCSF. This is one of the largest recipients of National Institutes of Health funding in the country and there is a reason for it, because of the caliber of the leadership, Chancellor Desmond-Hellmann's naming was well received throughout the country and the world, as well as we take special pride here because of her innovative thinking, and her entrepreneurial thinking about scientific research.
“Here we stand in a place which has demonstrated the biblical power to cure, have the imagination, the ideas, the scientific knowledge, they need the resources, and they have always competed favorably for them with this Recovery Act, over $100 million in this one year alone. Now generally speaking, let's just say this, much of the money for the recovery package has yet to come. Much has been allocated, not all of it distributed, some of it to be allocated yet.
“So we are on a path that is very positive and the word that the bill the legislation was supposed to instill is ‘confidence.' So let's recognize the success of it, let's be confident about how we go forward, because that confidence and the confidence of our President advancing this and other initiatives is what is going to grow us out of this recession that we were in, and the fact that it is a heavy lift is indicative of the change that was needed because of the path we were on before.
“Occasions like this are taking place across the country; they have people who have taken advantage, exploited the opportunities in the recovery package in a very positive way. I think that it is indeed today in cause for celebration, to observe the recovery package, all I can say is - more to come. Thank you all very much.