Pelosi: 'Republicans Have Not Led on Economy, Democrats Will'

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released the following statement today at a news conference held to unveil the House Democrats’ Jobs and Economic Growth Plan:

"Thank you all for coming.  I am pleased to be joined by our outstanding Democratic leaders: Whip Steny Hoyer, Caucus Chair Bob Menendez, Caucus Vice Chair Jim Clyburn, Assistant to the Democratic Leader John Spratt, and senior Members of the Ways and Means Committee, the Ranking Democrat Charlie Rangel and senior Member Bob Matsui.  We are also joined by the co-chair of the Steering and Policy Committee Rosa DeLauro.

"With the continued downturn in the economy, there is an urgency in this country to create jobs and get the country moving again.  The American people have been looking for leadership on the economy.  But time and again, the Bush Administration and the Republicans have failed to deliver. 

"On behalf of the Democrats in the House, I am pleased to present The House Democratic Jobs and Economic Growth Plan.

"Our plan is fair -- with tax cuts for working families. It is fast acting -- it creates more than one million new jobs this year and will strengthen the economy in the long run.  And it is fiscally responsible -- it is fully paid for over 10 years.  Our plan adds one million new jobs without adding a penny to the deficit.

"Democrats are united behind a plan that shows real leadership by creating jobs now and reflecting the values of American families. 

"Our plan includes tax cuts for working families. We will increase the child tax credit to $800 per child, immediately expand the 10-percent tax-rate bracket now slated to begin in 2008, and immediately eliminate the marriage penalty tax.  These provisions will immediately put money into the pockets of everyday Americans, which will boost consumer demand, which in turn will produce jobs and business investment needed to meet that demand.

"Our Democratic plan also includes investment tax credits for small businesses, such as business expensing up to $75,000 and bonus depreciation.  These will provide tax incentives to businesses to generate investments and jobs.

"Our plan includes a provision by Congressman Rangel to create a permanent, revenue-neutral corporate tax deduction to encourage U.S. manufacturing companies to expand their operations.  And it includes a new tax incentive to reward businesses that hire new employees.  Any company that hires someone who has been out of work for at least six months would get a tax credit of up to $2,400.

"In addition, we will extend and expand unemployment insurance.  These benefits go to the families most affected by the economic downturn, and they need real help now. This is not only compassionate, it makes good economic sense because it will increase consumer demand by putting money in the hands of those most likely to spend it.

"And unlike the President and House Republicans, our plan does not forget the states, which are experiencing their worst fiscal crisis since World War II. Our plan provides $44 billion over 10 years in direct aid to states for homeland security, education, health care for senior citizens, and highway and other infrastructure improvements.

"The need for a new approach becomes clearer every day.

"Two years ago, Congress passed a $1.7 trillion tax cut for the wealthy that President Bush promised would create jobs and promote economic growth.  Instead, 2.7 million jobs have been lost and the largest surplus in our history has turned into the largest deficit in our history.  That is not leadership.

"Instead of responding with an economic plan that is fair, fiscally sound and creates jobs, President Bush proposed a package that shortchanges working families to help the wealthy, explodes the deficit and fails to make up for the jobs lost in the last few months, let alone the past two years.

"He has the set bar low.  Republicans in Congress have followed his lead and proposed a plan that is not fair, not fiscally responsible and will not create jobs.  That is not leadership.

"It is time for a new approach.  It is time for real leadership.  The Republicans have not led on the economy - Democrats will."