WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“As you know, we are dealing with one of the worst economic climates in memory: 2.6 million jobs lost last year; the worst housing market since the Great Depression; financial turmoil that has threatened the savings and retirements of millions.
“As we move to confront this crisis, we welcome the criticism of our Republican friends—but let’s put that criticism in some context. Republicans have been consistently wrong on economics.
“Let’s remember President Bush saying, ‘My Administration remains focused on economic growth that will create more jobs.’
“Let’s remember Eric Cantor saying, ‘Despite how much Republican policies translate into a stronger economy, what we hear…from our friends on the other side of the aisle is…class warfare.’
“Let’s remember how Republicans reacted to the Clinton economic plan in 1993. Newt Gingrich said that it would lead to ‘a job-killing recession.’ John Boehner said: ‘The message is loud and clear—cut spending first and shrink the size of this Federal Government.’ In reality, the Democratic plan led to unprecedented economic growth and the first budget surplus in a generation.
“Let’s remember how Republicans reacted to the Budget Reconciliation Act in 1990. Tom Delay said that ‘[The Democratic] package will destroy our economy.’ In reality, it reduced the deficit by $482 billion.
“What we have seen from our Republican colleagues is a history of hyperbole—and their predictions have been slapped down by the facts, time and again. How much credibility do they really have left to oppose this bill?
“Today, I hope that our Republican colleagues will put that history aside and join with us to pass this bill and restore our prosperity. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is projected to create or save three to four million jobs.
“That is a projection confirmed a by 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.’
“I am sure almost every Member of the House could find something that he or she thinks should not be in here, or should be bigger, or should be smaller. But this legislation is the result of an honest, urgent effort to include the best ideas from economic experts from across the spectrum, as well as both sides of the aisle. It is an effort that cannot become weighed down by partisanship or parochial interests.
“Overall, this plan contains what is widely viewed as the right mix of spending and tax cuts to spur our economy. It will include 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 have an immediate impact: the Congressional Budget Office estimates that two-thirds of recovery funds will be spent in the first 18 months, which means an immediate jolt to our economy, and we will continue working with President Obama to increase that number. The CBO also estimates that, if we pass this bill, by the end of next year America will have up to 3.6 million more jobs than if we do nothing.
“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, upgrade our schools with 21st-century classrooms, and computerize health records to reduce costs and improve care. 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.
“Finally, we’ve included in the recovery plan 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 the success of these efforts to turn our economy back into the productive engine that it has been in the past.
“I urge my colleagues to vote for this economic recovery plan and start putting Americans back to work.”