WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act conference report, which passed the House. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Today, after weeks of debate, and in the depths of an economic crisis that has already claimed more than three and a half million American jobs, we begin our recovery. Today, with final passage of this bill, we start putting Americans back to work.
“I’m sure that everyone in this room can find something in this recovery plan that they think should be bigger, or smaller, or gone altogether. Like all bills, it is imperfect. But like few bills I’ve ever seen, it is desperately needed—desperately needed to spark demand in our economy and put an end to the vicious cycle of layoffs, decreased consumption, and more layoffs. That’s a task that’s only possible with bold and swift government action.
“And in stepping up to that task, we’ve taken good ideas from across the spectrum: spending and tax cuts, emergency provisions and foundations for the long term. What we have rejected is any one-sided solution that puts ideology above the concrete task before us. For instance, a plan comprised entirely of tax cuts would only reenact the failed economic thinking that helped us get into this mess—and the argument that such a plan would create more jobs is based on cherry picking of data and economic models.
“Today, I hope that our Republican colleagues will join us in passing this bill and restoring our prosperity. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is projected to create or save 3.5 million jobs, a projection confirmed by a wide range of leading economists. Mark Zandi, a former economic advisor to Senator McCain’s presidential campaign, found that ‘the jobless rate will be more than 2 percentage points lower by the end of 2010 than without any fiscal stimulus.’
“The recovery plan includes tax relief for 95% of working families; tax cuts for job-creating small businesses; projects to put Americans to work renewing our crumbling roads and bridges; and nutrition, unemployment, and healthcare assistance to those families who are being hit hardest by this recession.
“Those steps will provide an immediate jolt to our economy. But a real economic recovery isn’t just about responding to a short term emergency—it’s about building a wise foundation for the future. Besides creating jobs immediately, we will invest in new energy technologies, fund cutting-edge research, and help our hospitals save money and lives. All of those are investments that promise growth and savings in the years to come, to ensure that our nation does not slip back into recession.
“But just as important as passing this bill is keeping our promise of a long-term return to fiscal discipline. As Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag wrote to Chairman Obey: This plan ‘should not be seen as an opportunity to abandon the fiscal discipline that we owe to each and every taxpayer in spending their money—and that is critical to keeping the United States strong in a global, interdependent economy.’ President Obama has committed to paying for any of the polices in this bill that are made permanent, within the context of a disciplined budget.
“Finally, this bill includes unprecedented levels of accountability and transparency, so our constituents will know that their tax dollars are being spent on getting us out of a recession, not siphoned off by the politically-connected. So there will be no earmarks or pet projects in this bill. A new Accountability and Transparency Board will be working to keep waste and fraud far away from this bill. And all of the plan’s details will be published online, so we and our constituents can track every dime.
“I urge my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, to join President Obama and make this recovery a reality.”