Hoyer Floor Statement on Republican Bills to Undermine Clean Air Protections

For Immediate Release:

October 5, 2011

Contact:

Daniel Reilly, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to the EPA Regulatory Relief Act and the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act. See below for a video and his remarks:

Click here to watch the video.

"I rise in support of the Rush amendment and opposition to the underlying bill.

"First of all, let us lament the fact that we are not considering on the floor today a jobs bill. Now, I understand that my friend from Kentucky believes this affects jobs. He may well be right. It does affect jobs in the short term. In fact, as the gentleman knows, one of the regulations that's the subject of legislation this week has been stayed until next year. And the EPA is working very closely with the cement industry and particular individuals in the cement industry to try to work towards an implementation which they can in fact comply with.

"What is lamentable, however – and the gentleman from Kentucky mentioned it – he pointed that the senators don't agree with the President's jobs bill. In fact, the senators do agree with the jobs bill. They don't agree with how it's paid for, and so they have a different pay-for. That, I suggest, is the legislative process. But what I tell my friend from Kentucky is my friends on the Democratic side in the Senate and the Democrats in the House both agree on, we ought to be considering jobs legislation. We have five days a week legislation trying to get Americans back to work – millions of Americans who can't find jobs, who can't support their families, who psychologically are being damaged daily by their inability to have a job. That's what we ought to be doing.

"We've been in this Congress now for almost ten months, nine months-plus, and we haven't had a jobs bill on this floor. The President of the United States came before the Congress and the American people and said ‘I got a bill, the American Jobs Act, that invests in creating jobs and putting money in people's pockets and invests in allowing small businesses to expand their base, expand jobs, grow businesses. It invests in making sure our schools are appropriate for our kids. It invests in making sure that 240,000 teachers stay on the job educating our kids so that when they get out of school they can get a job. And yet, my friends, we are here talking about two industries vital to America's well-being.

"I couldn't agree more with the gentleman from Kentucky. We need to have regulations and rules that are consistent with America being able to grow businesses. But nobody -- and the gentleman from Kentucky said you're concerned about the air. I'm absolutely convinced of that. I know you are. But I’m also convinced that the gentleman from California, who's been such a giant in this effort for clean air in America, was correct when he said the witness said you ought to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act.

"I have a granddaughter who has asthma. Now, luckily we have an intervention that she puffs on every morning and every evening that helps her. But throughout the rest of the day she puffs on the air in our country, in our state, and in our county, and Americans expect us, as their representatives, to try to the extent we can to make sure that air is healthy and breathable and life-sustaining. So yes, we have to make a balance, and that balance is between making sure that our people are healthy and making sure also, hopefully, that they're wealthy. Not wealthy in the sense of being rich but wealthy in the terms of having a job, having the self-respect of a job and the ability to support themselves and their families.

"We ought to be considering a jobs bill. I know you say these regulatory bills are jobs bills, but I want to call your attention to an article written by somebody who you may know, Mr. Bruce Bartlett. As you know, Mr. Bruce Bartlett was in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and served on the staff of Representative Jack Kemp and Ron Paul. He's never been on our press staff, and he says the focus on these regulations as if they're job creators or job destroyers are inaccurate. That does not mean we shouldn't pay attention to them. We should. But, ladies and gentlemen, we ought to have on this floor jobs legislation – job creation legislation. Bring to the floor the President's bill. If you don't like it, vote against it. If you don't like it, amend it. But give the American public, the American people a chance to have a jobs bill considered on this floor to give them hope and opportunity, and I yield back the balance of my time."

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