Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today in opposition to the Republican Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year. Below are the Leader's remarks.
“Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentle lady for yielding and join her in opposing this rule, urging our colleagues to vote on the rule, no on the previous question, and no on final passage of the bill.
“Voting no on the previous question will enable us, if it succeeds, to bring to the floor our Build America Bonds legislation. Build America Bonds are supported outside the Congress--across the board in a nonpartisan way--by those who are building America, who are dredging our ports to enhance our trade, who are building our schools to educate our children, who are building our roads and highways and mass transit to get people to work and back, improving the quality of their lives, and in moving people and product, again, to work and to market, growing our economy.
“Creating jobs is the number one priority for Democrats. We have said that in every measure that comes before this House, we will judge it by how it creates jobs, how it strengthens the middle class, and how it reduces the deficit.
“Indeed, that is what President Obama's budget, released just yesterday, will do. It will strengthen our nation, invest in the future, help create jobs and grow the economy, while reducing the deficit. By reducing the deficit by $1.1 trillion, it sets us on a path, in President Obama's words, to ‘out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world.' And that is indeed what we must do.
“In terms of innovation and education, the President's budget is a commitment to competitiveness that will keep America number one.
“In terms of out-building the rest of the world, consider this quote from USA Today: ‘Associated General Contractors, a trade group for the construction industry, estimates the plan could create about 5.4 million construction jobs and 10 million more jobs in related industries and the broader economy…'
“President Obama's budget is a tough budget, and it makes tough choices. I don't agree with everything the President cut in the budget. But it is a statement of values that we must support. It makes cuts, and tough ones, in a responsible way. As President Obama said yesterday, we must live within our means and invest in the future.
“That is in stark contrast to the Republican legislation we debate today. With severe and indiscriminate spending cuts, it goes too far. This legislation will destroy American jobs while harming middle class families, young adults, seniors, and yes, even our veterans.
“Since coming into office, Republicans have not put forward any initiatives to create jobs. Indeed, with this legislation, they are making matters worse. According to an independent study [EPI] just released, the domestic cuts in this bill would destroy 800,000 private and public-sector jobs--800,000 private and public-sector jobs.
“Democrats are saying no to the Republican majority. We are saying: show us the jobs. Show the American people where the jobs are.
“Just today, Speaker Boehner said that if jobs are lost as a result of Republican spending cuts, ‘So be it.' So be it? We believe that our budget should be a statement of our national values. What is important to us must be included in our budget.
“Consider what the Republican legislation we debate today would do to diminish our investments in education, halt innovation, destroy good-paying American jobs and make our neighborhoods less secure. Indeed, not even homeless veterans are spared by the Republicans.
“Our federal budget, as I said, must be a statement of our national values. We must ask ourselves: is this Republican legislation a statement of our values?
“Is it a statement of our values to undermine our commitment to educate the next generation of leaders and innovators? The Republican proposal cuts $800 per student in the maximum Pell Grant award. Thousands of teachers would lose their jobs, and in your neighborhood, class size could increase.
“Is it a statement of our values to diminish our efforts to create green jobs and fight disease, innovation? It cuts: $1.3 billion in investments to spur clean energy economy of the future. It cuts more than $1.3 billion for cancer and other disease research.
“In terms of innovation and education, the President's budget is a commitment to competitiveness. This legislation is not.
“Is it a statement of our values to destroy jobs and undermine investments in our roads, schools, and bridges to rebuild America? Tens of thousands of new construction jobs would be lost and 76 projects to upgrade our roads in your districts and bridges in 40 states would be cancelled. I mentioned earlier what the General Contractors said about creating millions of jobs in the industry and ten million more jobs indirectly.
“Is it a statement of our values to diminish the public safety of our neighborhoods? There would be up to 3,000 fewer cops on the beat in your neighborhood and 2,400 fewer firefighters on the job in our communities coast to coast--3,000 fewer cops on the beat, 2,400 fewer firefighters in our communities coast to coast.
“Is it a statement of our values to cut funding for homeless veterans? If there was one example of where this goes too far, think of it: Republicans want to eliminate a $75 million [initiative], it's an initiative that offers housing vouchers to homeless vets. It's a very effective initiative. Republicans want to cut it.
“And is it a statement of our values to deprive women of primary care? When it comes to health and education, Republicans put women and children last.
“Democrats and Republicans must work together to ensure our nation lives within its means. That's for sure. We must continue to aggressively attack waste, fraud, and abuse, and we will subject every taxpayer dollar we spend to the toughest scrutiny - ensuring the American people are getting their money's worth.
“But Republicans have not presented a responsible plan for addressing the deficit. We believe we can cut the deficit and create jobs; to do so we must invest in the future.
“Democrats do not subscribe to Speaker Boehner's verdict that if jobs are lost in this Continuing Resolution, ‘So be it.' Maybe ‘So be it' for him. But not ‘So be it' for the people who are losing their jobs. Instead, we support President Obama's budget to ‘out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.'
“That is why, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote no on the previous question, no on the rule, and no on the underlying bill. Let's put this aside and get on with the business the people sent us here to do: creating jobs, reducing the deficit, strengthening the middle class and protecting the American people.”