Whip Hoyer Testimony Before the Budget Committee on Priorities for FY 2013

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Transcript: 

“Our budgets reflect our values and the direction we want for this country in the year ahead – and for several years beyond.  With our economic recovery gathering momentum, we ought to ensure that our budget for Fiscal Year 2013 strengthens that recovery and helps American businesses create jobs that grow our middle class.

“Last week, I spoke about why we need a comprehensive deficit reduction agreement, citing its potential to stimulate our economy.  ‘Setting our economy back on a sustainable, predictable fiscal path,’  I said, ‘will help us create jobs by restoring certainty for businesses and enabling them to plan for a future without the brinksmanship that has characterized this Congress. Without certainty, businesses can only focus on the short-term, which leads to missed opportunities for growth and fewer investments that have wider economic benefits.’  Today I want to discuss steps we ought to be taking in our budget that parallel this necessary deficit reduction effort to ensure sustained economic growth into the future. 

“The President’s budget proposal emphasized the need to invest in manufacturing as a way to strengthen our long-term competitiveness. The budget recommendations he proposed include a number of items from House Democrats’ Make It In America plan that I believe – and I know many other members believe – ought to be contained in the House budget.

“Make It In America includes comprehensive business tax reform as a means toward bringing investment and jobs back to the United States.  Today, America’s tax code is complicated and inefficient.  Too often, businesses make decisions based on the best tax outcome and not the best economic or business outcome.  By lowering rates and reducing preferences, the President’s budget proposal promotes reform that simplifies the tax code, brings jobs back, and encourages domestic manufacturing and innovation.  I believe those proposals are positive steps toward a greater competitiveness for our manufacturers.

“Innovation is central to Make It In America, and our budget ought to include investments in maintaining our edge in research and development, particularly in advanced manufacturing.  Among the priorities I wish to see is an increase in the budgets for federal agencies that conduct research and work to support scientific investigation at our nation’s colleges and universities, including the National Science Foundation and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy – or ARPA-E.  The President’s proposal would fund manufacturing R&D programs at $2.2 billion, a level I support.  Other provisions that ought to make it into the House budget include the creation of a national network for manufacturing innovation as well as investments in the development of advanced vehicle technologies that will contribute to energy independence.

“Make It In America is also about enhancing public education and workforce investment.  I strongly support budget provisions that will strengthen our community colleges and help them establish programs with local manufacturers so our students can learn critical skills needed by employers and transition into quality jobs.  Our budget ought to continue making higher education affordable for all, including students from low-income families, by sustaining Pell grants at least at the current $5,635 level for next year.  In Fiscal Year 2013, our public education system deserves investments that enable teachers to prepare their students to achieve no matter what careers they pursue.

“Our Make It In America plan also invests in rebuilding this country’s crumbling infrastructure and laying the groundwork for future growth by building new roads, railways, seaports, airports, and energy projects so that businesses can power their facilities and easily move their products across the country and around the world.  We can achieve this through the establishment of a national infrastructure bank, which will leverage public and private capital to finance large-scale projects.  We can advance clean energy production by supporting domestically manufactured technologies that generate power and improve energy efficiency.

“Finally, our budget ought to help us level the playing field for American workers and businesses by providing incentives for insourcing and supporting programs that help increase exports.

“I thank you again for the opportunity to discuss these priorities with you, which are not only mine but are shared by many members and by a large number of Americans.  Our budget ought to be a vehicle for achieving the goal of getting our economy back on track.  Make It In America can help us not only jumpstart our economy but also restore faith in the American Dream our economy has long made possible.”