tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN September 20, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
growth and medicare and medicaid and putting social security on a firm foundation. vareations of such a grand bargain were recommended by the simpson-bowles commission and the domenici task foffs. any -- task force. any group trying to find a solution is forced to the same solution. the president's speech voiced his clear commitment to the double strategy of creating jobs and reining in future deficits. . the committee which i think of as conrad gregg, come to real life, has the power to go beyond its initially mandate and make the grand bargain a legislative reality. the best thing that could happen to prospects for american growth and jobs, both long run and short run, would be for this committee, with the strong support of the president and congressional leadership, to go big, to use their
extraordinary powers to put into law an immediate jobs creation program incorporated into a grand bargain to stabilize the debt. mr. chairman, you and your former colleague, senator judd gregg, and many others worked tirelessly to get the congress and the president to this point. i honestly hope the select committee will prove able to finish the job. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, good morning, chairman conrad, senator sessions, and senator warner. i'd like to make several points this morning about the unemployment rate and also about the u.s. labor market situation over the next several years. number one, as we all know, the great recession has created very high unemployment that will persist for several years to come and will have lasting negative impacts on millions of workers even after the economy recovers.
as senator conrad pointed out, over 40% of the unemployed already suffer lengthy spells of unemployment at six months or longer, which will make it harder for them to re-enter the job market and find labor -- find jobs when job creation actually picks up. and low earnings will scar millions of young workers for years to come even when the labor market recovers. but point number two, even before the recession began, most american workers suffered from stagnant earnings growth and very high earnings inequality. during the full economic cycle of 2000 to 2007, median earnings stagnated or declined for most groups of american workers. many of those hit hardest ,,,, made.
so thank you, i will stop there and look forward to our question and answer session. >> thank you very much. dr. foster. >> chairman conrad, ranking member sessions, thank you for the opportunity to testify today. my name is j.d. foster, i'm a senior fellow at the heritage foundation, the views i express are my own and should not be construed as representing an official position of the heritage foundation. risk to the economy today are great so our focus on jobs and
economic growth is critical. two years after the end of the great recession, as the economy should be accelerating, economic growth and job growth have ground to a halt. mr. chairman, as you noted, when a recession is fundamentally involved with financial markets and they are troubled, they are the epicenter of the recession, you're going to have a very troubled recovery. absolutely correct. but you will have recovery. two years on we should be in recovery. not flatlining, not heading toward a double dip, possibly. so while financial markets may explain the early troubles of the recovery, i don't believe they provide much of an explanation for today. speculation, argue mentation, thee rising and models are now irrelevant on this simple point th will. the -- the data before us agree on the underlying message from the president's jobs speech. they all attest to the fact that the president's stimulus policies have failed utterly and completely. i take no pleasure in pointing
out this fact, nor in the fact that we predicted the policy failure two years ago. i would much rather have been wrong and for millions of my fellow citizens to be gainfully employed in all those jobs the president promised to create. to understand what policies might be helpful today it's important to assess why the economy is not recovering. the fundamentals of our economy remain sound, the natural productive tendencies of american workers, investors and entrepreneurs remain undiminished. the economy is poised to grow. why then does it hold back? there are of course the unusual headwinds such as the following effects of japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami. but the economy faces and overcomes such headwinds even in the best of times. headwinds there are to be sure but they are not an explanation of the economy's legislate argey. the economy suffers from two cad katrina goirs of troubles. the first are structural which today primarily reflect the housing sector still in deep
problems in many areas of the country. there's very little sensitively that government can do to re-- to return housing markets to know and god knows they've tried just about everything and that is part of the problem. government's well intentioned meddling has delayed and distorted the essential requirement for normalization of the housing markets, price discovery. these policies have set back the housing recovery by months, perhaps a year or more, and there's an important lesson there. the second category of trouble is what might be termed environmental. not the natural environment but the economic environment. most relevant for our discussion today is alternativetively a shortage of confidence or an excess of bad uncertainty. those who could make the decisions and takes the actions that would grow the economy lack the confidence to do so. even today the economy abounds in opportunities for growth. but turning potential into reality requires action and action requires confidence. confidence in the future, confidence in a specific effects of government policy
and confidence that government can properly carry out its basic functions, like agreeing to a budget. america suffers a confidence shortage and washington is overwhelming the cause. confidence in turn is lacking because of an access of uncertainty. uncertainty about the future, but also uncertainty about the effects of government policies, tax, regulatory, monetary, trade. uncertainty is natural, of course. the future is always uncertain. but there is good uncertainty and bad uncertainty, much as there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. good uncertainty, for example, presents opportunities for profit. bad uncertainty arises largely when investors and entrepreneurs have very real questions about the consequences of government policy. tax policy provides a good example of bad uncertainty. the president's repeated instistence on raising taxes on high income workers and investors slows the economy without the policy even being enacted. it does so by raising the uncertainty about tax
consequences of various actions. it does not stop all such actions, but it stops some and therein lies the difference between growth and stagnation. the president's instistence is a two-fer in terms of bad uncertainty. the specific is that taxpayers don't know what their tax liability will be. the general is that suggesting raising taxes on anyone in the face of high and possibly rising unemployment suggests a gross lack of misunderstanding about how an economy works. that's the source of bad uncertainty that afflicts the entire economy, not just those threatened with higher taxes. in this environment congress need not enact bad policy to weaken the economy. threats suffice. the federal government should adopt a very simple guiding principle for deciding what to do next. that principle is do less harm. do less harm. there's very little in terms of concrete actions government can do at this stage that would help and great deal of intended help that would harm. either by raising the deficit
to no good effect or by creating more uncertainty and slowing the economy's natural healing process. do less harm means getting spending under control and thereby cutting the budget deficit. americans are worried about spending and the deficit. that worry by itself is debilitating. do less harm means policymakers should stop threatening higher taxes. we can have debates about who should pay what and how much, when we're at full employment. in the meantime, this threat is holding us back. do less harm means stop the onslaught of new regulations, the recent pullback of the e.p.a.'s ownow zone regulation was a good example. even the threat of new regulation creates bad uncertainty for those affected, freezing them in place. again, we can work through these regulations when americans are back to work. do less harm means policymakers should stop middling with the economy. there's almost no limit to the harm washington can do to the economy in its efforts to do something for the economy. the patient is in recovery, a
difficult recovery, to be sure, but in recovery, slowed by the incestent proddings and procedures of washington's policy doctors. the patient doesn't need another procedure or a new noes trum, let it heal, do less harm. we talked briefly about one philosophy that's been driving a lot of our policy, the model of keynesian demand management. this is a perfect example of a policy that fails do less harm. the philosophy is very simple. the economy is underperforming, demand is too low, the government budget deficit is a component of demand, so just raise it. it's an equation. how can it be wrong? raise government deficit spending and the economy should recover. the reason it fails is the economy is a little more complicated than a simple equation. the model that it's based on ignores something else in the economy, a process called financial interneedation. basic function of financial markets. the problem is that when government runs more deficit
spending, it has to borrow the money. when it borrows the money, that money is not available to the private sector to use. so you have not increased total demand, all you've done is shift it around. now, advocates for this policy will say, yes, but there's so much saving and people aren't doing anything with it, corporations are sitting on the money. yes, they are, but that's not at issue. they don't put it in vaults or stuff it in mattresses, they make it available to the financial system which then intermediate yates it to those who need it. this keynesian stimulus cannot work, it is fiscalal canmy and it's adding to the headwinds in the economy. this is a perfect example of a policy that fails do less harm. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. we're going to go to senator warner for the first round of questioning because he's got other obligations, as do -- this is a meeting i'd say to our witness, this is a morning in which other committees in which budget committee members
serve, have markups, and so you're going to be seeing senators come and go to accommodate that. i know senator warner has other obligations as well, as does senator sessions. senator warner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for that courtesy. and i'd like to thank the panel. a couple of quick questions. one is i would -- while we have a diversity of views on the panel, i think in a traditional approach we'd normally say in periods of enormous recession that the two major tools that a national government has are monetary policy and fiscal stimulus and we can gauge how effective they've both been but we basically use both of those bullets. and i'm curious of one thing i haven't heard any of the witnesses quantify. and from across the spectrum. as someone who like the chairman and others has been working on the ands very
strongly about deficit reduction and debt reduction, the added cost to the debt of the stagnant economy, you know, have we been able to equate per point of increased unemployment what that translates into in terms of lost tax revenue, additional mandatory government spending in terms of unemployment insurance, medicaid, other government support programs? so that while, you know, some would advocate immediate cuts regardless of effect, if we bump up an extra point or two of unemployment, what direct effect does that have on the current deficit? >> higher unemployment and less growth, clearly cuts into tax revenue and adds to costs in programs like unemployment compensation. the c.b.o. and others have done that calculation. i don't have the numbers at my
fingertips. >> does anybody have that number just as a kind of off their head ballpark number? >> i don't have the exact number but i do know that people have looked at the growth of the debt over time. attributed a good part of that growth not to the specific policy choices we've made since 2008 but in fact to the recession and automatic declines in tax revenues and automatic increases in spending programs. that the bill reflect any choices we've made but that's added likely several billion dollars, trillion dollars, i'm sorry, to the current level of debt and that likely could swamp, if the economy double dips, that could swamp any other efforts made by the supercommittee to trim the deficits, by further reducing tax revenues and raising spending. >> this is one of those rare moment when is we're all in agreement which is rather pleasant. to add to what dr. rivlen said, there is a chapter in the
perspectives of the president's budget, it's been there there for many years, in which there's a table. i believe it's chapter three, perhaps table 311, which goes to a budget sensitivity analysis and you can see in there various divergences of economic performance from the president's economic assumptions and the consequences for revenues and outlays over 10 years. so while i don't have the numbers i can tell you at least where you can -- >> it would be nice to be able to have that as kind of one of our normal talking points, a point of employment growth or a half point of g.d.p. growth, how that adds to the deficit. i guess the two things, i mean, i understand your perspective, but in your concern about kind of the do no harm theory, would that do no harm theory in terms of the revenue side also apply to the immediate government spending side? i mean, would that -- would not
immediate cuts at this moment in time with the verge of a double dip in front of us also fall into that category of harming? the economy? >> in general i don't believe so. because i believe that the government spending which is being funded by borrowing is simply moving demand around in our economy. it's crowding out, in the old expression, certain other spendings. if you quickly switch from formal spending where the economy has productive capacity built up to deal with that spending, like defense spending, where we have defense contractors who are geared up to produce certain weapons systems, suddenly you cut them off, obviously that's going to require transition costs to the economy. but otherwise, no, i don't believe reducing the spending would be harmful. in fact, there is so much concern about the deficit and debt that that is one of the factors eroding confidence or building up bad uncertainty in the economy and it's what's holding us back. not only would we not suffer a
downside to such a policy but there would be an actual gain to the economy by reducing the uncertainty. >> but are you saying that transformation in terms of cutting defense spending might be bad but cutting state support of infrastructure or teachers or others would not be bad or would not have any ill effect? >> the point i'm trying to make is some would have transitory effects that would be harmful and others would not. defense is a simple example because you have often large investments to produce a new aircraft, for example. it's fairly easy to understand there would be transition costs from cutting that back. there are others as well where you have the private economy that's geared for a customer. the federal government, if the federal government cuts off that customer there's going to be a transition cost, but purchase of goods and services are relatively small portion of the federal spending. there's an awful lot of other federal spending that would not be subject to that limitation. so purchase of goods and services, cutting off would be bad, but cutting off direct employment would not be?
>> that would not have that transitional effect, that's correct. >> one of the other things i was questioning, i concur with your point that capital that's sitting on the sidelines, you know, does not simply sit in a vault, it is invested but i would question in terms of particularly with record low interest rates and a lack of willingness to invest that there are more productive uses of this corporate capital than investing in tea bills in terms of generating job growth, generating investment, taking greater risk with larger rewards, i just -- i'm not sure i would fully -- >> oh, there's no doubt that there would be more productive areas and i'm sure corporate america would love to deploy its vast resources of cash sitting on the side lions more productively. they lack the opportunity to do so right now with the current economic environment. it gets back to we have a poorly performing economy and a
very uncertain future and so they're sitting on the sidelions. that's not to say you're getting to get a better outcome because government puts its hands on it and decides to spend it self. >> i'll take one last question since the chairman was kind enough to give me the time. i'd love to hear the others comment. i generally agree with some of your prescriptions. the one thing that i am cautious about it seems like most of what even the president has proposed, there are very fewer things that are going to give as immediate a short-term burst and i concur with you on some of the training initiatives and -- but i constantly see so much of what we try to do up here as well intentioned, the lag time to where it too actually has an effect on immediate job growth or spurs, really takes much longer than i'd like. but both and my thanks to the chairman. >> well, just a brief comment. i believe what's holding back
investment is not crowding out by the federal borrowing, but lack of demand. and possibly some uncertainty. but the lack of demand is the basic problem. if you don't think you can sell your product, you're not going to make more of it. and the way to increase demand in the short run is to get money into people's pockets who will spend it. that's the argument for extending and increasing the payroll tax cut. it goes to wage earners all over the country, they won't spend all of it because they're trying to repair their balance sheets, but they will spend some of it and that's a way to get demand up. >> i think the efforts along the lines of the american jobs act which may not generate jobs tomorrow but we're looking at the rest of this decade potentially, of having very
stagnant growth in sufficient demand. i think a lot of those proposals, for instance, the payroll tax cut toward targeted toward employers. i would target it much more on employers expanding payroll, i think that could actually raise hiring, even at this level of demands, relatively quickly. not enormously but in a cost effective way. i think some of the spending proposals like preventing the layoff of more state and local employees, that's been a huge drag on the economy and on the employment growth numbers and i think that could occur relatively quickly as well. so i think within a reasonable timeframe many of these policies could be effective and also cost effective. i want to take issue with my colleague's analysis. this notion that government spending has a one-for-one crowding out effect on private spending, especially in really severe recessions, is not a new idea. this has been demanded by my profession. i think most economists in this kind of economy would not subscribe to that point of view, most economists would not
read the evidence as supporting that point of view and indeed many conservative economists, republican economists, like my former teacher and also economists do not subscribe to that point of view. so i think we should put those opinions in perspective, it's very much a minority profession with our now profession. -- opinion in our new profession. >> as some of you have been here before know, i take a very keen interest in the burden that our health care system lays on our economy. the president's council and economic advisors said you can take $700 billion a year and cost out of the health care system without harming
anybody's quality of care, the group which is pretty well rewarded in this area and george bush's treasury secretary, secretary owe neal, who knows a fair -- o'neill, who knows a fair amount about this in his work, in the pittsburgh regional health anywhere initiative, and as the c.e.o. of alcoa, they both have agreed that it's actually $1 trillion a year that you could take out of our health care costs. that would have significant effect on reducing the cost of medicare, medicaid, tricare, the other day secretary gates said that his budget is, quote, being eaten alive by health care costs. it would have, i think, a very significant lift on american exports which now carry a huge health care cost in their pricing which our european competitors and some other foreign competitors dodge by having a national health care system and a tax system that
exports dodge because they're not picked up in the v.a.t. tax method. and that creates a huge differential, a huge competitive burden on an american export product compared to a competitive product exported in the same international market. and so it's frustrating to me when we have a panel of experts who talk about our economy and nobody talks about health care. and we've had this discussion before, what everybody has said is, well, that may be true but because of the nature of the reforms that are required to begin to unload those excess costs, the $18 -- 18% versus 12% of g.d.p. differential that we carry as a load in our health care economy, because of the nature of the reforms is something that is, to use a word that would only matter in washington, unscoreble, we're
not going to look at that. that was true of boles simpson, i believe that was also -- bowls simpson, i believe that was also true. it strikes me that that is a fairly big piece of this equation and i understand that it does not lend itself to economic analysises and input and it is impossible to score because it is a process of innovation and learning and trial and error and experimentation but clearly there is a huge gain to be made just from the difference between where we are as a country and where all of our competitors are and as i said, this bipartisan agreement on this subject. particularly delivery system
reform, which is how you deal with health care costs, without harming on some individual who is depending on a significant benefit. i would love to hear your reaction from that thought. >> thank you. as you know, senator, white house, i agree with you that the rising health care costs are a huge part of the problem. i talk about this almost every day. not always in eight minutes. but it's clear that it is the major health care programs that are diving -- driving the future budget deficits and that we compared to our competitors or to other advanced countries spend a lot more on health care per patient per anything. now, that's -- >> relatively crumby outcomes. >> with relatively crumby outcomes. that's all right. now, with respect to what to do about it, i think the problem is not just that we know what to do but it isn't scoreable.
but lots of things that look promising such as many of the pilot programs and experiments with different payment systems and so forth that are included in the affordable care act haven't shown clearly that they deliver lower costs and better quality. now, the way we handle that in the plan was we did propose a major restructuring of medicare known as premium support which is a defined contribution plan coupled with competition on exchanges among plans, these are not vouchers, but -- and we think that gets better outcomes
in the long run from the competition among the health plans but the scoreability is in the defined contribution that you can say -- >> that's the problem. >> that unless health care costs come down, well, in any case, the federal government will be defined -- this contribution will be defined by the congress. and once do you that it's perfectly score able. it doesn't mean you can't ever change. it congress could change it any time they wanted to. but i do think there's an advantage in getting medicare onto ady fined budget that you vote on and -- a defined budget and you vote on and know what it is. >> we're down to two minutes. >> i'll just say very briefly, in terms of how these things impact the labor market, not only do the high health costs impose a cost on employers which makes it harder for them to hire more workers, but one of the ways they deal with that is to take it out of workers'
paychecks. ultimately workers bare most of those costs and indeed i think as much as 1/2 of productivity growth in the previous decade might have been eaten up by rising health care costs in the u.s., that's one of the major reasons why very high productivity growth didn't show up in the paychecks of the american workers. so it's an enormous problem, affecting many dimensions of these issues. my sense and i defer to alice who knows more about this than i do, but i saw a lot of promising efforts to reduce the health care costs during debt bait on the president's health care package that politically seems very unpalletble. things like rethinking the very favorable tax treatment, at least putting some caps on that favorable tax treatment of health benefits and i think we're going to have to return, we're going to have to face some much harder choices in the future to get those costs under control. >> dr. foster. >> it's another one of those happy moment when is we're in base agreement. there's no question that the rising health care costs are taking the biggest bite out of
workers' paychecks and they need the cash and that is a fundamental problem. we also have a plan similar to what dr. rivlin described. we think that is the way to go and it is really a very incremental approach to medicare reform. it basically says, a lot of the things that are currently done in medicare is done incompletely and we need to make them more of a complete model based on premium support. >> thank you. my time has expired. >> thank you, senator. i'm going to take my time now and then we'll go to senator next. earlier we had a couple of references to the economist mark zandi who testified before this committee at our last hearing and i just want to say, first of all, i think it's important to know his background. he was advisor to the mccain campaign in the last election and i think he made clear at
the last hearing his forecast was off, as were many economists because we've had a series of events which he described in some detail last week which i think in fairness we ought to remind people of. first of all, the disturbances in the middle east that had a dramatic effect on oil prices. oil prices went up, that meant gasoline prices went up, all heating fuels went up, that operated like putting a tax on the american economy. and the global economy. so that had an effect on slowing things down. second we had the tsunami and the resulting nuclear disaster in japan. that had an effect on global demand. that had an effect on manufacturing. then on top of that we had the european debt crisis.
we read about that every day. greece, ireland, spain, portugal, increasingly italy, that has had an impact on confidence and without confidence, as i think all of you have said at various times in your testimony, businesses that are sitting on $1 trillion in cash are reluctant to invest. a final point i'd make is, what kind of downturn are we having here? in part i believe it's a balance sheet recession that is because financial firms had to rebuild their balance sheets they've had to pull back from extending credit, i hear about this almost every day i'm home, from small businesses, in terms of securing credit. and that is what the rinehart's found in their study and i'd
say to you, dr. foster, you say two years is enough for a recovery, that's not what they found. they looked at 200 years of economic history, 44 countries, what they found is it takes eight to 10 years to recover, not two years, eight to 10 years. and we're two years into this. so we are in a very different situation than a garden variety recession. when you have what is in part a balance sheet recession, you have weak aggregate demand. where you've got weak aggregate demand, where is it going to come from? if the federal government doesn't put in its ore there is no other place big enough to give lift. that's my own belief. i also believe that whatever is done to give lift has got to be
in the context of a plan that is credible and serious to get our debt under control. because the rineharts also found once you get the gross deft more than 90% of g.d.p. your future economic prospects are reduced. so we are in a very tough situation and it's a pli cated situation. dr. rivlin, let me ask you, do you believe that it would would be harmful to at this point have dramatic cuts in federal spending? >> i do. >> and why? >> because it cuts into demand. you lay off people from a federal -- from the federal work force or from the state work forces that are supported in part by federal grants, you
cut back on payments going directly to people as in unemployment compensation or food stamps or the other programs, safety net programs, nobody's going to cut those first, but some of the extensions end, so people have less money to spend and they don't spend it and the recession gets worse. i believe that's why the first package, stimulus package, prevented a worse, deeper recession, although it wasn't perhaps perfectly designed to do that. >> dr., what do you believe? >> i agree. i think that large and immediate cuts in spending would have harmful effects. certain kinds of spending are more stimulative than others. it's quite interesting to me that we have -- we have delayed
in extending unemployment insurance. we know, and again unemployment insurance in a very healthy economy could convince workers not to take jobs, but in this kind of economy, with 90% unemployment, it's very hard to make that case, and the money seems to have a very powerful stimulative effect, same for food stamps and other things. and i find it really puzzling that some economists will say, well, any -- even any talk of tax increases anywhere at any time has this terrible depressive effect, but cutting spending right now is perfectly fine. that place to in the face of everything i've ever learned about macroeconomics. spending increases and cutting taxes really have relatively similar effects in both macroeconomic models. to say that one is terrible and one is fine really doesn't make any sense and i think flies in the face of most of the evidence we have. immediate cuts in spending of the kinds talked about would have depressive effects on the economy.
>> dr. foster? >> thank you, senator. i think there's -- what you see here are two very different concepts of how the economy works. this isn't ideology, this isn't partisanship. we have different views on how an economy works. i don't believe in alchemy. when you start with lead, you end up with lead and you don't end up with gold. when government increases spending and borrowing, the money has to come there from someplace. it's not like the fed which can print dollars. the treasury doesn't print dollars, the treasury borrows money, it had to come from someplace. when it comes from someplace, it's not there anymore. it's not there and we don't know who would have used the funds. maybe it would have been consumers buying cars, maybe it's somebody buying a house. maybe the trade deficit would have been lower because we didn't have to import as much capital from abroad. we will never know where the money came from but we know it came from somewhere. so we can't just waive a wand and create purchasing power by running budget deficits. it's not a question, as i said,
of i had yling or partisan -- ideology or partisanship. >> i think that's fair. and it's healthy for us to discuss these differences. it's amazing, if some of my colleagues want to suppress these debates. i don't think they should be suppressed. i think it's critically important we have these debates and have these discussions. i think it's entirely healthy. senator sessions. >> i do, too, and thank you for allowing us to do so. we've had some good hearings on policy early last year and i think these are he helpful today. i was supposed to have floor time, i got there and senator alexander was talking. and he had decided not to participate in leadership but be an active senator and he did raise the question about fierce debate and noted the fights in history and duels in the senate and so he said we need to work
together to accomplish common goals but good debate is healthy. mr. foster, i remember before the first stimulus package passed reading from nobel prize lawyerat gary beck earth who had written an op ed saying this was not going to work. he predicted it would not work. you predicted it wouldn't work. you sort of touched on it but essentially when you borrow money to spend money, that money comes from somewhere and i believe you just summed up the problem. that has a negative impact also. now, our chairman mentioned the rinehart study that said gross debt reaches 90% of g.d.p.,
then you have consequences. actually i've used a figure 1% growth is lost. i think their study actually said 1% to 2% growth would be lost. perhaps it's coincidence but we hit 90% of g.d.p. in the early part of this year, january, and immediately we're not having the growth that people projected. o.m.b. and c.b.o. projected growth this year to be 3.1%. and it's not going to be close to that, it's going to be about a point or two below that. dr. zandi, i teased him a little bit yesterday, he predicted 3.9%. now moody analytics, his firm i, -- firm, is predicting for the year 1.6%, i have my doubts we're going to reach that.
so 1.6% is about 2% below what he predicted. do you think it's possible, i ask all three of you, that the unexpected fall in growth projections from blue chip economists and the government and dr. zandi, do you think that could be because we've already reached this debt limit , that empirical studies indicated would cause a decline in growth? dr. rivlin, do you want to start? if you have an opinion. >> i do have an opinion. i think it's an interesting, but totally irrelevant coincidence. and the reason i think that is the rinehart study which is a fascinating piece of work, as you know, but it looks at
averages over all kinds of countries over several hundred years. and it certainly doesn't indicate that all countries are the same. and the united states, unfortunately in my opinion, has a very strong ability to borrow money chiefly -- cheaply. we have abused that fortunate fact by borrowing too much money cheaply for a long time. but you look at a country like greece right now or even italy or spain, they're in trouble because they can't borrow more money, except at very high interest rates. and that's killing them. that's not happening to us. i don't see any mechanism that is causing us at some particular size of debt to face a market reaction. that doesn't mean we should go
on increasing the debt forever, i don't -- i think that's very dell terious, but this coincidence i think is just that. >> thank you. so you see it as different, maybe this time. >> different for the united states because the world thinks that we are the safest place to put their money. and i hope we never disabuse them of that. >> i think you're correct, that is an advantage we have. do you have any connection between the unexpectedly low growth and the study? >>, no i don't think hitting the 90% figure -- and i don't think my reading -- >> 100% now. it's 100% of gross debt. >> having read that book and it's a fine studdy, i don't think rinehart intended for us to believe that there's a magic line, a cliff, that as soon as we cross that line we're in freefall. this is a rough estimate of the
point at which these difficulties start to grow, on average, over many, many economies and many periods of time. nothing in their analysis suggests that you cross this line and terrible things start to happen. we all agree we have a long-term, a major long-term debt problem and there's no dispute about that on this panel. but i wouldn't -- and i see no evidence that the capital markets are reacting in ways right now that are leading -- that because you cross that line, that that's leading to slower growth. i think what's happened, other parts of rinehart simply say that when the financial bubble bursts, you have deleveraging in most sectors of the economy, that delev ranging limits demand -- he will deve -- deleveraging limits demand. i think what we're see something in line with exactly what they predicted, not to mention all these other effects in the last year. i think that's -- the debts of europe have contributed very
importantly and i think of course a lot of the turmoil here in washington, d.c., i think has contributed to a lot of the uncertainty and the underwillingness of employers to step forward and do more -- >> dr. foster. >> there are certainly headwinds in the economy, the rise in the oil prices, the tsunami and so forth. no forecaster worth its salt puts out a forecast assuming no head winds. head winds happen all the time, a strong economy overcomes them. one of those head winds could be the 90%, but not in a manner that the study suggested. as dr. rivlin pointed out, the study suggested that you cross this threshold which is and you're going to get interest rate effects. we're not seeing that today. but there is an effect. and that effect is on bad uncertainty. the american people are worried. now, we may think they should be worried, we may think she shouldn't be worried, they are worried and that worry is bad uncertainty, it's a bad uncertainty that's draining the confidence, draining the vitality out of our economy. so it does matter, but not for
the reasons that the study suggested. >> you raised a point, let's take the first stimulus. the money has been spent, correct? pretty much all of it. whatever stimulus we got is gone now. what are permanent costs of that $825 billion expenditure right now? >> well, you're going to -- the carrying costs, the service costs from the interest. so that is quantifiable. then there's the relatively unquantifiable which is the impediment that this bad uncertainty creates in making decisions that would result in a stronger economy. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> chairman, thank you very much. i actually want to follow the ranking member's line there. and then i have a couple other questions around housing and
overall. what are the permanent results? let me describe, i mean, because if this was a municipal government the stimulus, the $300 billion or so, a little shy of that, was in for capital improvements, would you debt finance them like any other government, like i did as mayor, we would build a road, the money would be spent, that's correct, you're absolutely right, but here's the result. now, there's a road. economic development occurs around it. i'll give you an example on the stimulus money. so i'm glad we're getting more to robust debate because i agree with the ranking member, the money is gone, it's spent, but here's the result i can tell you from alaska. i can't tell from you alabama or other states but i can tell you from alaska. we built a hospital. it's going to be completed in noam, alaska. it's going to deploy 170 additional people, provide quality health care, making a more livable community in the area of alaska which will have
growth. it built some roads which will mean new economic development around those roads which is private sector investment. which means more tax revenue, which means more money being generated which means more bills being paid, more taxes being paid, so forth and so on. we're invested into helping a ship yard which now just landed $150 million construction of a new ship. or senior housing that will provide housing which is paid for by the individuals who live there which generates revenue stream. the way the federal government does the budget is the goofiest thing i've ever seen. and i'm hopeful, as the chairman and ranking member have talked about reforming it, we should have two types, a capital budget and an operating budget. because you do borrow for capital, private sector does it , public sector does it, federal government is just a convoluted mess.
you shouldn't borrow for operational but nothing wrong with borrowing for capital investment and recovery money was predominantly that. then there was about $300 billion which was tax money we took from people but we gave it back. so it's their money. through payroll deduction. we gave it back to them. so i'm trying to -- so there's no permanent value for investing in these kinds of infrastructure investments? when you use recovery money? i mean, we would call that a capital budget. help me understand what -- i don't get that. >> in my written testimony, which i didn't put in my eight minutes of reading, i pointed out that i wasn't commenting on what the appropriate level of infrastructure spending is, from what you say it sounds like alaska may have had the only shovel-ready projects in america. >> let me pause you there. people when they say only and no jobs created, that's an
opinion, it's not based on fact. >> no, sir, i would say it's based on the simple statement of logic. you spent the money, you created the infrastructure. jobs were created while they were building the infrastructure, no doubt about it. you can take a camera crew to any of those locations you describe and show people working. you can definitely show that those jobs were there. what you know is you had to borrow the money and when you borrow the money that money wasn't available to be used elsewhere by somebody for something. now i may not be able to take a camera crew to show you the jobs that were destroyed in the process -- >> but let me ask you, if you borrowed that money, in theory, i'm not an economist, no disrespect to economists, i'm a person who's been in the business world since the age of 14, so i deal with reality. so if you have so much money available and you're saying so much is taken out by that kind of borrowing, in effect then what would happen is rates would go up to start controlling expenditures? obviously, i'll give you an
example of a small business person, if i have a product and it's she'lling -- selling off my shelves like crazey, i'm going to increase the prize to the customer until i hit a certain point. but interest rates went the other way. they flattened. so it didn't do what you said, what it did do was certain banks don't loan money, they hold it because they can do other things with it. so your argument doesn't really hold up because interest rates flattened and they've been at the lowest levels in decades because if the money was less interest rates would go up. >> argument does hold up. one of the problems about interest rates is there are a great many influences on interest rates. and right now the dominant influence on our interest rates, and i don't mean just today but 2010, 2009, in fact,
going back into the 2000's, were other forces at play. for example, china's large buildup of foreign exchange reserves is putting downward pressure on interest rates. that's been a factor for a long time. right now we have the euro crisis. where people have noted that money is flooding into this country, driving down our interest rates. so the interest rate effect is not a sign of what i said not being true. >> right, but cheap money for business is good money if they're expanding. so that has not been a problem, it has been a problem of the people who control the faucets, opening the dial a little bit. i'm telling you from reality, not from a study in research and all that, i'm talking about a person who's had to go through this. who still goes through it. my wife has to raise capital for a very high risk enterprise in central retail business in an economy that's fragile. i don't buy your argument. so all i wanted to do was make sure i understood what you were saying. businesses -- let me move on to housing. this to me is a big issue. there's a piece of legislation pending that is a bipartisan
piece of legislation, i don't understand why we don't do this and that is a couple of us abdicated this two years ago. now you have two years of a bad economy. it's improved. but it's still rough out there. but you have some people who have been paying on these loans, their mortgages, for two solid years. not missing a payment. they have negative equity. backs have no incentive to refinance them. not one incentive. because why? they're paying. why would they change them out and give them a lower rate? unless they're a big customer and they just want to keep their business. but if you're an average working class, it's tough. so why not just say to these folks, here's what we're going to do. for you that have been paying for the last two years, i'm using this as a hypothetical, you have survived the last two years, you've been paying your payments, you have 7% or above or whatever the loan rate might be, we want to give you an ability to refinance at the
market rate which is about 4.125% and the federal reserve will buy those papers from the banks. so there's no worry about the market trying to figure out they're going to buy them or not, just we'll do it. because if they default they'll come back to us anyway. let me start from here and then go down. your comments on that? >> that would put an enormous amount of money into the economy. >> i agree with that. it would lower the monthly payments of those families, you can't do it for everybody. but where you have evidence of having made the payments and their underwater but you -- they're underwater, you may have to have a limit, but enabling them to refinance is a very good thing to do. i'm not sure i'd have the federal reserve buy the paper. you've got fannie mae and freddie mac still there. >> hanging on by a thread. but that's fine. fannie mae and freddie mac. they'll tell us we have no
control over them despite the fact that the federal government owns 90% of them. >> whatever. >> but you agree with that concept? >> i do. >> it's hard for me to comment on the specific proposal because it's a little outside my area of expertise. i would say this, it's clear that housing is an enormous drag on this economy in its current form. and all efforts to date to improve it have been hugely insufficient. . and to stabilize that market. if we don't stabilize that market, that would be one more major drag on the economy for many years to come. i like what you suggest and i think at a general level, they do make sense and a much needed area to make more effort than we have to date. >> senator, i think that is correct. it is perplexing people who have been making payments on time for
an extended bace cannot refinance their mortgages. what the best mechanism, there may be a simple regulatory adjustment. but people who have proven to make the payments should be allowed to make smaller payments. >> you agree with that concept? >> yes, sir. >> three people agreeing on something that has potential. two were qualified. i better stop while i'm ahead. >> ok. [laughter] >> it's really good when you get all three agreeing. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you. appreciate all of you coming to testify before the committee today. dr. rivlin, i wanted to ask you about reforms to entitlement programs, specifically medicare. as i understand it in a november 10, 2010 proposal in which you did work with congressman paul
ryan, that there was a recommendation in that proposal that we raise the medicare ellgict age incrementally two months per year to the age of 67 and i wanted to get your views. one of the concerns i have is that as we look at where the rising health care costs, where entitlement spending is going, we need to make responsible decisions in ways that protect those programs around here to make sure that they are preserved for those relying on it, particularly with the recent medicare trustees' report that says it goes belly up in 2024. wanted to get your view, whether you think that we should still gradually raise the retirement age, what other thoughts you have for reforming medicare to make it more sustainable for future generations. >> the work that i did with
congressman ryan focused on seeing we -- we never had a completed proposal. but getting premium proposal. and i had forgotten that he had risen the age in there. that wasn't what he and i were working on. but i do believe that a version of premium support, particularly the one i worked out with the senators in our task force, which is different from what ryan was talking about, i think that is a very good approach to the future control of costs in medicare. raising the age, possible over a long period doesn't save a lot of money. those young seniors between 65 and 67 are not terribly expensive.
it's people my age more expensive. and the -- and most of them are not working and don't have coverage, so you might then transfer those costs to the exchanges under the affordable care act if they get set up, but that's not an advantage to the federal government. i'm a little skeptical of raising the age, although it ought to be in the mix of things considered. >> do you believe we need to reform what we're doing with respect to medicare in order to preserve it? >> i do. and i think there are several fundamental reforms possible, but the one that i have come out in favor of and which is a very bipartisan idea is a version of premium support. >> do you think we can get there
to preserve medicare through provider cuts? >> no. >> anyone else want to comment on that in the panel? >> we are providing medicare right out of existence. . and what dr. rivlin was describing. >> i appreciate your -- ask about the concept of tax reform. and dr. rivlin, you participated in the president's fiscal commission as did my predecessor, senator gregg, whom
i have great respect for and the fiscal commission recommended, as did i believe the chairman of this committee, recommended in its proposal tax reform that would simplify the tax code and lower rates in terms of how we would reform the tax code. do you still believe that that is the best way to go forward on tax reform? >> i do. i think that we have an enormous opportunity because there is bipartisan support for this idea and has been for a long time -- to reform the tax code quite drastically and get rid of all of the special provisions or transform them in a way that is more pro-growth and that we can lower the rate and raise more money. and i believe we do need more
money. and that a tax reform is a path to doing that. >> do you believe tax reform -- i would like the other panelists to comment on this -- but if we do tax reform in that manner that we can actually help in terms of when we look at our economy, competitiveness, in using our tax code in a way to help our economy. >> that kind of comprehensive tax reform of lowering the rates , it should be a big part of the discussion. about two important caveats. it's important to use this as a mechanism to raise revenue,
given the crisis and debt that we all agree on to have a revenue-neutral tax reform effort makes no sense. it's an opportunity to raise more revenue and we should stake advantage. and secondly, it's possible to make the tax system even more progressive than it is right now by employing those mechanisms. tense of billions of dollars that provide no positive benefit to the economy and exacerbate. and it is not reflective of any productive economy. this kind of tax reform would be another possible mechanism of addressing that. i favor that broad-based
comprehensive tax reform used to revenue and i am prove productivity at the same time. >> when you use the concept of tax reform and suggesting it be used as a way of raising revenue, it is a fraud. tax reform means revenue-neutral tax reform. let's have a better tax system and more revenue. two debates and keep them separate. i would like to have the tax reform part. that is something that would be important for the economy. you have to correct the tax base. it's not the rate but what you tax. when you talk about getting rid of the ex pen titurs. you are going to create benefit from lower rates and eliminate everything that you defined 50 years ago. the concept should be a neutral
tax base. you eliminate the distortions because you properly define them and then lower rate. thank you. >> senator nelson. >> dr. , you can start with the concept of a neutral-based tax reform, but then if you get additional revenue other than growth -- and i want to ask you all about the growth and the scoring of it, you could do a tax reform that you get new revenue and it could be used to a very specific purpose. doesn't mean it has to go to spending. .
do we have a problem on scoring with c.b.o. as to whether or not it's going to be revenue neutral? in other words, each of the three of you talked about what senator ayotte asked that -- economic growth is going to produce new tax revenue. do we have a way of scoring thanking new tax revenue as a result of growth? >> i think you have to be careful of big claims about how fast the economy would grow as you lower the rate. i believe that it would and i believe that the simplification
would help. but once you get into making claims that this particular thing is going to grow the economy like gang busters, then somebody else like my colleague, might say. but if you improve the skills of the american public dramatically of workers, isn't that going to contribute to growth? so i think you have to be a little conservative about these claims. i do believe that we would get additional growth. but i believe we need additional revenue because we cannot absorb the tsunami of retirees and the higher health care costs even if we are successful in reducing the rate of growth without some more revenue or else we'll close down the whole rest of government. >> just this one footnote, i agree with all that, but federal government, revenues -- federal
revenues as a percentage of g.d.p. are at the lowest levels since about 1950. we keep hearing rhetoric about -- and there is no question, there are ways of structuring the tax system that would be more beneficial to economic growth and if we were designing the tax system we would move in that direction, but i believe in tax productivity. but where the world is taking in less than 15% in 15%, relative to the burden of spending that we are committed to, as the baby boomers retire, to me it makes no sense not to talk about revenue enhancement and impossible to think about think about revenue enhancement. >> 15% of g.d.p. because of the recession and congress continues to pass additional tax relief like the payroll tax relief.
if you look at the c.b.o. projections further out, you end up at 18% of g.d.p. as revenue. so the current measure of revenues is no indicator of whether we need additional revenues. and senator, to answer your question directly, we don't have the capacity right now either as a joint tax committee or the congressional budget office to do a credible analysis. they are working on that and doing that with little progress and we don't have that. dr. rivlin is right. we have to be careful with these claims about what the different tax proposals would do for the economy. we agree that reform would create a stronger economy and produce additional revenues and used for deficit reduction. we don't have that ability and developing that ability at the heritage foundation but even there, this is an art form we are learning how to develop and
how to work. not some software you can go down to k mart and pull off the shelf. >> we are engaged in a political moment in time that we have the opportunity for tax reform and if we don't grab it, then we have lost years in the opportunity to do something significant. what i'm trying to understand is from you experts is, what is the consequence, beneficial consequence of simplifying the tax code and getting rid of a lot of those preferences. as a practical matter, you aren't going to get right of the consequences because what is considered fair and reasonable such as mortgage interest, such
as charitable deductions, but maybe there's a limit to that. and there are a bunch of other tax preferences that we have seen that have grown up over the years because people have had the ability to get to the decision makers to get their particular tax itch scratched. and i want us to take this opportunity and this supercommittee is the opportunity. i want to ask one technical question, dr. rivlin. you said that your task force with senator domenici came up with some version of premium support. can you define that for us with regard to medicare. >> yes. the version that we support would say the following.
seniors after a certain date will get a choice, whether they stay in ordinary fee for service medicare or they go to a new exchange on which they could choose a plan and it would be competition among health plans and the health plan would be compensated by medicare in a risk adjusted way. this isn't a voucher where you go out and shop around, but the health plan would be compensated and this is where the scoring comes in. the original amount of the subsidy for medicare would be the same whether you stay in fee-for-service or go to the exchange. it would increase at the defined rate. the rate we chose was g.d.p. plus 1%. that is a little lower than the current increase. one would hope that the competition on the exchange
brought the costs down within that. if it didn't, then whether you were in the exchange or in the fee-for-service system, you would have to pay an additional premium. could be a means-tested premium, but it would be a premium. and if the congress decided decided that was shifting too much cost to the beneficiaries and you might worry about that, then you could change the formula. but that's how it would work. >> mr. chairman, do you remember when we were doing the health care bill how critics were saying that the world was going to come to an end when we were taking on medicare h.m.o.'s, medicare advantage? did you hear c.m.s.'s announcement last week that nationally, the premiums for
medicare advantage as a result of the reforms that we did in the health care bill have gone down 4%? >> i did see that. >> and the enrollment has gone up 10%? now, let me just add, do you know what it is in florida? the premiums have gone down 26% and the enrollment has gone up 20% in the state with the largest number of enrollees in medicare advantage. >> and the predictions were it was going to be the opposite. we were going to kill the program, instead the program has thrived. so much for all the expertise within the beltway. senator sessions, any last-minute observations? >> well, thank you, mr. chairman.
the senator made reference to the stimulus bill and the roads that are built. i was very disappointed that how little infrastructure was in the bill. roads and bridges specifically were 3% and i do agree that while we can dispute while you have a real growth from a stimulus road bill and program, you can't dispute that when it's over that you have a road and bridge that you can use and it's beneficial where most of the money we spend in this program were one-time expenditures that did not. let me ask, i would also note that c.b.o. scored that stimulus package over 10 years as having a net negative to the economy. they scored it as being positive before it passed -- as being positive in the short run and negative over 10. i'm afraid what positive we have
had and we begin to draw on the negative. in a response to a question from me last week, dr. zandi responded i do not think 2.4 trillion is enough, talking about the cuts that the committee of 12 is charged with achieving. he goes on to say, i think we need, if you do the math, i think there is a general consensus and need $4 trillion and a 10-year deficit reduction. that $2.4 trillion is not enough. would you agree? i would ask if you would be brief. do you agree with that? >> i would definitely agree with that. i think the consensus in simpson-bowles and others that have looked at this problem, if you are going to stabilize the debt, you need $4 trillion to $5
trillion in savings over the next 10 years. >> that's what you called for in your commission, the committee. >> yes. it gets into baseline problems but that's the basic story. >> i tend to agree that $2.4 trillion is too little and needs to be in the $3 trillion to $4 trillion and there are many base lines that can be used. i would add, though, once again, deficit reduction in the short-term could be harmful to growth depending on how it's done and could further reduce revenues coming in and require more automatic expenditures so it's important to balance the number with a backloading with a lot of the provisions. we are going to be facing slow economic growth. so even, we have to trade-off and balance off the serious
steps, but they need to be short-term steps. one following quickly upon the other. >> you think that the $2.4 trillion is not enough? >> i think evently you are going to need something closer to 4 or 5 especially in a period of slow growth. we aren't going to be getting the revenues and the hole we have to dig out of is that much deeper. >> thank you, senator. let me just say, i was part of the fiscal commission. senator gregg and i had pushed that, starting five years ago, because we saw that we were headed for a debt threat overhanging this economy that had to be faced up to. we agreed that everything had to be on the table. we agreed that we need fundamental entitlement reform. to my colleagues on the left who resist that, i just say, i don't
know any other way around it. the harsh reality is, if you look at the demographics, if you look at our budget, we are going to have to deal with the entitlement side of the ledger. that is the biggest part of the federal budget. it didn't used to be. used to be about a third of federal spending. now it's 60%, and growing. and the demographics are as clear as they can be. so to those friends of mine on the left who say, no. no. you got it all wrong. we don't have to touch that -- really? the trustees say we are headed for insolvens si. and my -- insolvensy. you don't have to touch revenue? really? it is a share of national
income. lowest it has been. spending is the highest it's been. to me, it's clear you have to work on both sides of this equation. and to those who say that is a job killer, that isn't what the evidence shows, it just isn't. let me put up this -- this is a look at different top marginal rates and what economic growth has been. this is at the end here is the top marginal rate, 28% to 31%. economic growth during those periods, average employment growth is averaged 1.1%. our top rate of 35%, virtually no employment growth. 38.6%, which is what we had the previous top rate, was half of
1%. and we had a top marginal rate of 39.6% and growth averaged 2.4%. top marginal rate of 50%, employment growth averaged 2.1% and on up from there. you know, this idea that the top marginal rate is a jobs killer, there is no evidence in the real world and real economy that that's true. there's no evidence that that is true. so i don't know -- we are in a very stale debate here between the two parties, very stale. and it's not going to solve the problem to be stuck with a stale, tired, phony debate. at some point we've got to get real and getting real, both
>> we take you live now to the u.s. house as they gavel back in for votes on three bills debated earlier. shed business is the request for a recorded vote on on subpoenaing the rules and passing h.r. 2944 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: h.r. 2944, a bill to provide for the continued performance of the functions of the united states parole commission and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. so many as are in favor say aye. opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair,
2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? >> ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. the first electronic vote will be conducted as a 15-minute vote. remaining electronic votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 415, the nays are zero, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended and the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the question on suspending of the rules and passing h.r. 2189 which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: union calendar number 1227, a bill to encourage states
to report to the attorney general certain information regarding the deaths of individuals in the custody of law enforcement agencies and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are success peppeded and the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider -- for what purpose does gentleman rise? >> i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered members will record their votes by electronic device. and this is a five-mincht vote.
[captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. -- and this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 398, the nays are 18. 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection the motion to -- is laid on the table. the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the gentleman from ohio, mr. johnson, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 2646 as amended on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 2646, a bill to authorize certain department of veterans affairs major medical facility projects and leases to extend certain expiring provisions of law and to modify certain authorities of the secretary of veterans affairs and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill as amended.
members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
will the house please be in order. for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> madam speaker, i rise today to honor the former mountain youth tribal leader from the tribe, ernest house sr. over the last 30 years his influence, dedication and leadership to the yute mountain yute tribe has grown the tribe's influence in the state of colorado and in the united states. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will suspend. will the house be in order.
will members take their conversations off the floor. >> mr. house's grandson of the ute's tribe's last her ed tear chief. mr. tipton: in the last year of chief jack house's life, ernest house sr. cared about him, learning much of the tribe's history and potential for future plans. mr. house was first elected to the ute mountain tribal council in 1979. three years late plr house became chairman for the first time, begetting the first of his first terms as chairman for the ute mountain tribe, his last term ending in 2010. as chairman mr. house helped the ute tribe accomplish several projects that widen the tribe's economic and natural resource development. between 1986 and 1988, he worked to finish two compact
tots provide water he oversaw projects including the tribal health center. in his last term as chairman. widening the tribe's police force from two officers to 12 officers. on saturday, september 17, 2011, mr. house was tragically taken from us after a motorcycle accident outside cortez,ical. madam speaker, it is an -- cortez, colorado. madam speaker, it is an honor and privilege to reck nizz mr. ernest house sr. his dedication to the ute tribe has benefited thousands an he will be missed by the ute tribe and the state of colorado. the speaker pro tempore: i yield back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from texas rise? seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. jackson lee: i rise on
behalf of the 64% and gring americans who say pass the jobs bill. i rise on behalf of those who have sought to get work, time and time again. i rise on behalf of the citizens of the state of texas that's been represented to be a state that has no unemployment for the 8.3% and growing unemployment individuals in our own state. we are resilient, yes, but working with the united states is important -- it is important to note that we must do something to restore the opportunities for people to work and restore human dignity. as the president said, we should have one purpose in this house. it should be to work for the american people. we can balance this budget, we can reduce the deficit, but we really can put people to work. firefighters and teachers and police officers. we can invest to in this economy and provide education and we can put americans back to work. let's not make ourselves number one, let's make the american people number one, pass the
jobs bill now. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> madam speaker, i rise today in honor of the 25th annual hispanic heritage month. america is a nation of immigrants and each immigrant group has aed to the richness that is american culture. hispanics are no different and are an important chapter in the story of america. my parents came to this country from mexico seeking the american dream they instilled in me the belief that with hard work and dedication, one could create a better future. this is one of the great common denominators of the immigrant experience in america. mr. canseco: they raised me to believe that in america, the land of opportunity, if i worked hard every day, i could make a difference for myself
and my family this month gives us the opportunity to celebrate americans of hispanic an testry because they believe in the american dream and have made a difference in the lives and in america by chasing this dream. just as my parents taught me, i believe that individual freedom and liberty will lead us to a future of economic and social prosperity. our businesses will grow, our economy will prosper and america will continue to thrive. hispanics understand the vitality of small businesses as the single fastest growing of small businesses in this country, generating almost $400 billion in annual revenue. i believe that hispanics will continue to play a vital role in the american economy and society and that their contributions will only continue to grow. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from ohio seek recognition? >> to address the house for one
minute, please. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. kaptur: madam speaker, listening to the prior member talk about small business, i have to say i agree that small business is the biggest engine for job creation in this country. it was such a pleasure today to join vice president joe biden at wrap-tite corporation in ohio and see the role that government must play when the market isn't fully functioning and when the banks aren't fully lending and to see the small business administration small business loan program at work at this job that now has millions of dollars in sales. when the regular banks weren't working, it was the s.b.a., the small business administration, that we support, some of us support that made possible the capital for ex-tax and they hired more people. imagine if there were 30,000 more companies in america that could do that. with the changes in the jobs
act the president is proposing in order to reduce payroll taxes on individuals and businesses and the other incentives for small business creation, we can help lift this economy when she can't lift herself alone. i congratulate the company and say it was gate to celebrate the patriotic spirit of making the market work. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. >> the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> madam speaker, 48,000 americans a year walk out of their doctor's office with the news they have pulmonary fibrosis, joining the thousands who already have. it takes the life of an american on average every 13 seconds. more than 40,000 individuals annually, roughly the same number as those afflicted with breast cancer.
mr. paulsen: this is national pull mo anywhere fie pro sis week. i ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this bipartisan legislation that will create a national registry, encourage federal research at the national institutes of health and create a national action plan so we can better understand this deadly disease and one day discover an effective treatment. this effort is really critical to giving hope to the hundreds of thousands of people who live with this debilitating disease. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, madam speaker. i rise today to remember senator charles percy, who passed away this last week at the age of 91. mr. dold: he served the great state of illinois for 13 years. his leadership was recognized by his colleagues and he
chaired the foreign relations committee. he was loved by his constituents for his efforts to provide home ownership to low-income families and his work to ensure all judicial nominations were done through a strict advisory process. i'm honored to say that senator percy is from the 10th district. he's also a graduate of the same high school i am. i remember delivering literature as a child for senator percy he senator's legacy will remain in the hearts and minds of the people of illinois. always fighting for justice, and those without a voice, he is truly going to be missed. my thoughts and prayers are with his family today. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> to address the house for one
minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, madam speaker. it is with a great sense of honor and pride that i join congressman canseco and my fellow hispanic american members of congress in recognizing hispanic heritage month. hispanic heritage month allows us to recognize the contributions of hispanic americans to this nation of ours. they are some of the most patriotic and hardworking people the country has known. mr. rivera: whether serving in the military or creating jobs, hispanic americans are the embodyment of american dreams and values. which is precisely why hispanic heritage month is an entirely appropriate time to commend the hispanic american community for enriching the diverse fiber of this great nation.
thank you, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: are there further requests for one-minute speeches? the chair lays before the house the physical lowing personal requests. the clerk: leaves of absence requested for mr. ryan of wisconsin for today, ms. buerkle of new york for today, mr. reichert of washington for today and the remainder of the week and mr. vacca for today. -- and mr. baca for today. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the requests are granted. under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from virginia, mr. rigell, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority 4r5eder -- leader. mr. rigell: madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: so granted. mr. rigell: imagine you worked hard and saved a down payment
for a house of your own, down payment on the american dream. imagine you found the right place, secured the financing, and happily started your live as a homeowner. now imagine months later, though, that your house is filled with a putrid, rolten-egg-like odor that permeate yurs home, make yurs children sick with severe headaches and nosebleeds. imagine the mounting frustration as the copper coils on your a.c. unit and refrigerator co-road, develop leaks and must be placed -- replaced again and again. you have to move your family to reanl home and find out that the cause is nothing but defective drywall that fill yours home, it was imported from china. madam speaker, many of my constituents don't have to imagine that nightmare. they're experiencing it and living it out right now.
some of them have been dealing with this issue for more than two years without relief. many are severely financially strained as they continue to have to pay the mortgage on their first home and then go out and find a second residence to live in and pay for both. some have had their homes foreclosed on, some of gone into bankruptcy. i've been in these homes, these people are hurting. our fellow american citizens. and because our legal system is flawed, the manufacturers of the contaminated drywall coming from china are not being held accountable for a defective, dangerous product. even if a judgment is made in favor of the homeowners, it can't be enforced. that is not right. homeowners insurance and builders' insurance is not covering the damages. at the end of the day, who is left holding the bag? it's the owner of the home. this is not the american way.
their finances are devastated, their credit ratings are ruined and i'm working with a bipartisan group of my colleagues doing everything we can on the contaminated drywall caucus to forge a better path for our fellow citizens. we've had hearings and met with the consumer product safety commission and written letters to the president. we've asked for assistance from the united states trade representative. but it's not enough. we must, we must hold the chinese manufacturers accountable for the defective products, they ship -- defective products they ship to our nation and that fill our american homes. i call on the committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings to investigate and move forward some practical solutions to this problem that's hurting so many of our neighbors. madam speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 5, 2011, the gentleman from alabama, mr.
brooks is recognized for the remainder of the hour. mr. brooks: thank you, madam speakerism ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. brooks: according to the 2009 study by the pew hispanic center, 7.8 million illegal aliens hold jobs in america. madam speaker, there's a sure fire way to create jobs now for american citizens. evict all illegal aliens from america and immediately open up millions of jobs for unemployed americans. the eviction of illegal aliens from america has the side benefit of eliminating the abundance of cheap, illegal alien labor which forces blue collar wages up, thus helping american families afford and pursue the american dream. unfortunately, madam speaker, there are those in washington who chase a different dream a class warfare nightmare that pits unemployed americans against illegal aliens in a competition for scarce jobs.
the white house and too many members of congress seek amnesty for millions of illegal aliens, thereby legitimizing criminal conduct and depriving american citizens of job opportunities. madam speaker, congress and the white house must create squobs now for american citizens. we can and must fight for american citizens, in the turn our heads the other way which gives illegal aliens preference over american citizens. but the issue of illegal aliens is greater than just jobs and better income for american citizens. illegal aliens crowd our hospital emergency room, delay treatment for americans and drive up health care costs because too many illegal aliens don't pay their bills. too often illegal aliens get free health care on the backs of already stressed american taxpayers. illegal aliens also do not produce enough in tax revenue to pay for our schools yet
illegal alien children overcrowd our schools, thereby reducing the quality of education for american children. illegal aliens commit horrendous crimes against american citizens, crimes that strain state and federal judicial systems, police and sheriff departments and prisons that are already overcrowded and in a financial crisis. supreme court justice sandra day o'connor in one of her last supreme court opinions wrote in 2005 that, quote, in 2003 over 56,000 noncitizens were held in state prisons. noncitizens accounted for over 10% of the prison populations in california, new york and arizona. as of february, 2005, 119 noncitizens from 31 nations were on state death rows. madam speaker, so that i am
clear, let me emphasize that death row is not just for any kind of murderer. death row is for murderers where victims are tortured or raped before killed, death row is for murders where multiple citizens are killed, in some death row is reserved for only the most heinous of murderers. hundreds if not thousands of americans are dead today because the united states government has been derelict in its duty to protect american citizens from illegal aliens. for example, in my home of madison county, alabama, population roughly 300,000 people, we have had more american citizens killed or murdered by illegal aliens than we have had lost in combat in iraq and afghanistan combined. madam speaker, let me share with you a personal story that happens to have happened in huntsville, alabama, but the truth be told, similar events have likely happened throughout
america. on april 17, 2009, a 19-year-old man in my hometown of huntsville by the name of tad maddle was needlessly killed by an illegal alien who has since been convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison. at a cost to alabama taxpayers well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. so that we are clear about the illegal alien's conduct, he was drunk. he was wanted for crimes in several states. when he murdered tad maddle he was fleeing the scene of yet another crime. what had tad maddle done wrong? absolutely nothing. tad maddle was driving home from a church social with his girlfriend. he was lawfully stopped at an intersection not far from my own home. after everything was said and done, at the end of an illegal alien's crime spree, both tad maddle and his girlfriend were subject to forced trauma and burned beyond recognition.
both died. why did this needless crime occur? why were these two young persons' lives snuffed out? because our american government has steadyfastly failed to refuse to protect american citizens from illegal aliens. madam speaker, please let me share with you information about tad maddle. told in the words of his grieving father, dan maddle, and i quote, tad maddle was the first child of dan and terry maddle, born on november 8, 1989, in fluorescent, missouri. tad was very curious. and enjoyed figuring out how things worked. shortly after his parents installed safety locks on all the cub boards, he figured them out and then taught his little brother how to defeat them. he loved to play outside in the dirt and loved the water. he enjoyed try different sports, more than anything,
however, he loved building and creating. to the frustration of his parents, he would scatter legos all over the floor as he created ships, starships and planes. on family vacations he reveled in the sand as he built sand castles. when he was 8 years old he helped his father rebuild an engine on the family truck. at age 9 he and his family moved back to huntsville, alabama. being very social, he quickly made new friends at church and school. in cub scouts he achieved the arrow the of light award. in his last year he won a derby contest. in middle school tad joined the boy scouts and joined the school band as a per cushionist. tad thoroughly enjoyed making musician -- music and he kept switching between first and second chair with one of his friends. during a scout trip in this period, tad went caving with his father. by the time he was 13, he was a qualified vertical caver. by age 14 he had achieved a
prestigious award among the caving community by completing his vertical eight. in high school tad maddle became heavily involved in the marching bands and his last two years he served as a per cushion section leader. he also pursued an advanced diplomat by taking advanced placement science and math classes. in addition to these activities, he continued serving the community through boy scout and church youth group service projects. with his troop in which he served as a leader, he participated in many different activities. on a boy scout trip hike on the appalachian trail tad helped maintain morale with his goofy sense of humor. tad is especially remembered for his julie andrews imper nation as he skipped down a meadow wearing a 40-pound backpack while the troop sang "the sound of music"." tad was very excited when he became old enough to drive. he wanted his own car so he took a job to earn money for it.
he bought a neglected toyota super that cost only $475. he spent the next few months restoring it to running condition. in his junior year of high school tad took an auto body collision repair course and completely restored the body of that car. he was so proud on the day he brought it home from the paint booth. he took meticulous care of that car and never abused it because he did not want to destroy all of his hard work. during his senior year of high school tad achieved the rank of eagle scout, for his eagle leadership project he chose to rebuild a boat dock on the tennessee river. the original dock was a hazard to users. tad's leadership resulted in 190 man hours of volunteer labor that served the -- saved the county thousands of dollars. in 2008 tad graduated from high school with an advanced diploma. his dream was to work in an auto body collision repair and
open his own shop. as he worked the following summer and winter he realized that an education would be necessary to fulfill his dream. tad applied to the university of alabama in huntsville and with his excellent top 1% a.t.c. score of 32 he was quickly accepted. on april 14, 2009, just three days before his murder, tad received a letter awarding him the u.a.h. presidential full scholarship which covered all tuition for his mechanical engineering degree. tad was so excited as he read this letter to his parents that night. excuse me, madam speaker. three days later on april 17, 2009, his father's birthday, tad attended his church social with his family and girlfriend. after the social he and his girlfriend headed to her cousin's house to watch a
movie. while stopped at a traffic light, tad's car was rammed by a truck, driven by a drunk, illegal immigrant, who was fleeing from the police. tad and his girlfriend were killed instantly which was a blessing because the impact ruptured the gas tank of the car tad had so meticulously restored and burned the two beyond recognition. there were no skid marks from the drunken driver's vehicle and accident investigations indicated the truck impacted between 67 and 72-mile-per-hour -- 72 miles per hour, almost double the legal speed limb -- limit. the illegal immigrant responsible for this crash had seven different aliases, had four prior d.u.i. arrests and was wanted by at least four other states for misdemeanors and felonies. according to police records, he was to have been deported in 2001. let me reread that part for manufacture sills. the illegal immigrant responsible -- for emphasis. the illegal immigrant
responsible for this crash had seven different aliases, four prior d.u.i. arrests and was wanted in at least four other states. he was to be deported in 2001. tad left behind a family that still mourns his loss, his brother and sister have dealt with depression, nightmares and guilt. his mother -- guilty. his mother still deals with days of depression. this loss was completely unnecessary but occurred because of a failure of the federal government to perform its duty to protect legal citizens' rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. as tad's father, all i ask is that the government perform its constitutional obligations to its citizens, to prevent other families from experiencing this same nightmare, end quote, from dan maddle, tad's father. madam speaker, tad maddle's tragic story is one that i could tell here today, one of many that i could tell here
today. in his story illustrates so clearly why the federal government must stop being derelict in its duty to ensure the safety and security of american citizens. there are many tad maddles in america, each and every one of them victims of crimes that could have been prevented. in that vein i introduce the jobs for america act. it provides state and local governments to help the federal government by passing laws that identify illegal aliens, deter illegal aliens from entering the united states, apprehend illegal aliens or encourage or otherwise cause illegal aliens to leave the united states. states aren't asking for another federal handout, they're asking for freedom from federal interference. they're asking for the freedom to protect their citizens' lives and livelihoods. this act ensures that the federal government will appreciate, not punish states, that do the hard work of enforcing our laws. madam speaker, when states like arizona, alabama, georgia and many others act to stop illegal
aliens, they should be given letters of appreciation from washington leaders for doing washington's job. instead they receive lawsuits from the president's justice department. that's wrong. and the justice department's conduct will only victimize more american citizens. madam speaker, my jobs for americans act prevents these wasteful justice department lawsuits against states that are only trying to protect their citizens from illegal aliens and the federal government's dereliction of its duties. today i ask my colleagues to join me in supporting american jobs. the jobs for american act does just what it says. it returns jobs to the american people. its premise is simple. if the federal government won't do its job, it should get out of the way for states and those who will. i thank you, madam speaker, at this point i yield to my good colleague from alabama. >> thank you, madam speaker,
and i want to congratulate the gentleman from alabama, my colleague in the fifth congressional district, for organizing this tonight. and we are all here tonight to discuss what america is facing and that's a self-imposed security crisis. the main concern is that it appears that the administration is ignoring its responsibility and -- to enforce our nation's immigration laws. for our security, economic well-being and safety, immigration enforcement does matter. mr. aderholt: since the beginning of the current administration, we have seen decisions and policies that have denigrated immigration enforcement. it started with the identification of priorities where the department of homeland security announced it would force largely on removing only those aliens convicted of serious crimes. most recently immigration and customs enforcement or i.c.e. as it is referred to issued
guidance directing broad use in the prosecutorial discretion. let me explain how that would work. or how that does work. i.c.e. agents locate a fugitive who has been ordered to be removed. the fugitive is arrested in his apartment where other people are present. i.c.e. agents ascertain that all these other individuals are illegal aliens. though they do not have an actual criminal conviction. pursuant to i.c.e. priorities, these individuals would not be arrested. this process on whether to prosecute or not was intended to be exercised on a case by case basis. not by frontline officers directed to ignore the law, but by supervisors and attorneys looking at the law and the facts of a particular case and considering humanitarian concerns or national security interest. now frontline agents and officers in the middle of an encounter are being asked to
essentially conduct an on-the- spot investigation. under the administration's policy, frontline officers and agents don't have much of a choice but to ignore the law and leave the illegal alien behind, unless the alien is a fugitive or has an actual criminal conviction. not only do we have memos directing them to ignore this, but we have committees second-guessing the decision officers, attorneys and judges make. the department of homeland security set up a task force of outsiders to tell the secretary whether this should include ignoring illegal aliens encountered at traffic stops for those with drunk driving violations. the department is also establishing a committee to review all 400,000 immigration proceedings, including for
aliens with final removal orders to decide whether they should be removed. this is the problem. it leads to cases like the one that my colleague from alabama just talked about, tad battles. the new policy refuses to enforce immigration law until, and let me stress that, until a serious, perhaps violent, crime has been committed. if immigration law had been enforced, tad's life may have been spared. today, more than ever, our nation's fiscal resources are constrained. despite that fact, congress has consistently provided i.c.e. with funds above those requested and that's to ensure a strong enforcement and security. funds the department of
homeland security receive at the hand of this chamber should not be used to blatantly ignore the law or for the implementation of flawed and reck less -- reckless policies that provide back door amnesty. these memos and committee mace allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the united states, in violation of existing law and regulation and compete with unemployed americans and legal immigrants working for scarce jobs. while the federal government seems to find loopholes to keep illegal aliens who pose public safety threats in this country, states like my home state of alabama are being prosecuted for attempting to take this problem in their own hands. alabama and other states burdens with -- burdened with these issues shouldn't have to worry about federal intervention. alabama was the fifth state in this country to adopt laws addressing illegal immigration. the legislature of alabama and the governor have opted to act.
instead, the administration has filed a judicial action. the administration should take this as a wakeup call a bold reminder of the federal government's duty to protect each and every american from being the vim of crimes that can so easily be prevented. the federal government should be working with states to ensure the safety of all americans. this is not a time for partisan politics, this is a time for robust, coordinated effort to guarantee the security of our citizens and protect our nation's borders. again, i thank the gentleman from alabama for yielding and i yield back the balance of my time. >> i next recognize the gentlelady from tennessee, congresswoman black. mrs. black: i thank the gentleman from alabama for yielding. mr. speaker, the tragic death
of tad that took place in huntsville, alabama, on april 17, 2009, serves as a sad reminder of the broken immigration system that we have here in the united states. we see stories like this in our local newspapers, on our local and national news. they are reminders that we have a serious illegal immigration problem in our country and the need to take action to secure our borders. and remember -- as a member of the immigration reform caucus, i believe that while we are a nation of immigrants, we are first and foremost a nation of laws. i'm a co-sponsor of a number of comprehensive bills that would help combat illegal immigration. one bill, the clear act, would authorize state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of the u.s. immigration laws which means they can investigate, apprehend, and transfer over to
i.c.e. officials illegal aliens in the united states. another bill that i'm co-sponsoring goes after sanctuary cities, denying state criminal alien assistance program funding for any state or local government that has in place any law, policy, or procedure that breaks federal immigration law. the save act is another great bill. it would increase border patrol and investigative personnel, encourage recruitment of former military personnel and use of department of defense equipment and calls on the administration to gop a national strategy to secure our borders. finally, directs authorities to check against terrorist watch lists those persons suspected of alien smuggling and smuggled individuals. defense of our country and our
border is one of the primary responsibles of government and i believe that those who enter the country illegally are not only breaking the law but risking the very security of this country. thank you, madam speaker, and i yield back the balance of my time. mr. brooks: i next recognize the gentleman from georgia, congressman rob woodall. mr. woodall: i appreciate the gentleman from alabama for yielding. i can't say it much better than my colleague from tennessee just did, we are a nation of immigrants and we are a nation of laws. my question is, when did it become so clear to everyone else that those things were in conflict with each other? when i look at it, it's not in conflict at all. it's in concert. it was hard to listen to the story that my friend from alabama was telling because it's not a story that you only hear once. it's a story that you hear
heart broken families tell over and over and over again. it's a family in alabama and it's a family in georgia and it's a mom in south carolina and it's a grandmother from indiana and on and on and on. what i want to know is, who is it who is coming to defend that story tonight. i hear in town hall meetings all the time, i know my friend from alabama has the -- hears the same thing, rob, i want you to go up there and fight for what's right. i don't want you to compromise. well, i don't want to compromise on principle. there's no principle i have that i'm interested in compromising on. but i tell folks back home, there's common ground. there's common ground no matter where you sit on the political spectrum, you can see your way clear to this path forward. what i want to know from my colleagues, i wish there were more in the chamber tonight and i'm grate to feel my friend from alabama for putting this hour together, but where are the folks who oppose -- who
oppose enforcing the laws. where are the folks who believe that legal immigration is what we don't want and illegal immigration is what we do want? where are the folks who believe that when criminals commit crimes they're not supposed to be prosecuted? where are those folks defending that. because what i see in my part of the world and i'm there in the northeastern suburbs of atlanta and what i see in my part of the world is people who are proud of our history as an immigrant nation and proud of our future as an immigrant nation. i tell folks all the time, i don't want worry that people want to come to america, i worry that one day people don't want to come to america. what happens when they want to take their big brain and work ethic and take to it china or india or brazil? i worry about that. and we have so many challenges, as my friend from alabama knows, in terms of restructuring our legal immigration process. i am heart broken that we spend
even a moment arguing amongst ourselves about the necessity of shutting down illegal immigration now. not tomorrow, not a week from tomorrow, not after the next election cycle, today. the few things that the united states constitution empowers the federal government to do requires that the federal government do, enforcing our border security is one. and we don't do that well. we have so many conversations down here, as the speaker knows, about all the things that the federal government should stick its nose into. as if we're going to do those well. what about the one the constitution requires us to do? which is secure our borders. you know, for me, the untalked about victim in the illegal immigration debate is the legal immigrant.
have you ever been to a naturalization ceremony? do you have friends who have been naturalized, who have earned the right to be a united states citizen? wow. wow. it's -- it's tears but it's tars of joy. -- it's tears of joy. i wish we were teaching the same thing to our young people in schools that weir teaching to our immigrants in their citizenship classes who are developing this deep and abiding respect for the rule of law and the american way of life. and the victim when we turn a blind eye to illegal immigration is the legal immigrant who does it all right. because they're the victim of the animus that comes out of this debate. they're the victim of the sadness. in fact, i will tell you, the angriest people again, i come from the deep south. a lot of folks have a lot of stereotypes about how it is in the deep south. but the angriest people in my part of the world about immigration are not the ninth
generation white guy. it's the legal immigrants. somebody stopped me and said if you pass an ams mity -- amnesty bill, which will never happen, not while i'm here in congress, give me my money back. you can't give me my life back, you can't give me back all the years and years and years i worked and waited on the list and waited patiently in my home country, you can't give the that -- me that back. but i want my money back because it wasn't cheap. it's not. being a united states citizen is advanced citizenship. it requires great commitments as it is a great opportunity. and we treat it in this country as if it's a nothing. as my friend from alabama knows, there's another bill out, introduced by my friend from iowa, mr. king. called the birth right citizenship act isme a -- i'm a co-sponsor of that act. it goes back to the 14th
amendment. goes back to that time when we were struggling with our national identity, and says, those born in the united states under the jurisdiction thereof shall be united states citizens. under the jurisdiction thereof. as you tell the story, i say to my friend from alabama if someone who has been convicted of crime after crime after crime, if someone has warrants out for their arrest across the united states, someone who hasn't yet found a single american law that they have chose ton obey that person is not under the jurisdiction of the united states. and births that are associated with that person do not give rise to citizenship in the united states. but the courts have said congress just won't decide on this. congress won't take a stand on this. steve king of iowa said, yes we will. i was proud to join him on that to defy what is the greatest gift we have in this country, that's the gift of american citizenship. i was born with it and i'm grateful for it every day of the week but we treat it like
it's nothing. i say to folks who think it's nothing, go to one of these naturalization ceremonies, talk to friends and neighbors who have worked for it and earned it, they'll tell you it's something. in the army we're developing across america to come and stand strong on the issue of illegal immigration, the army that's forming across america to say, we are proud that we're a nation of immigrant bus even more proud that we're a nation of laws, that army is composed of legal immigrants of every stripe from coast to coast. from north to south. and it makes me so proud. i think that's what -- i think that's what america is all about. i want to go back and say to the gentleman from alabama, thank you for introducing the american jobs act, for folks who look those things up on tv, h.r. 2670, i believe it is, is that correct? again, where are those folks?
we're not talking about compromising our principles, we're talking about pursuing those things that are common ground. in this era of 10% unemployment, who are those folks who think that hard work and tax paying american citizens don't deserve that job first if they're willing to work for it who is that? i'm sure there's been an editorial or two in your local newspapers that have -- if your newspapers are anything like mine, that have not reacted all that kindly to your decision to stand up and do what is right. but doing what's right is not always easy and it's rarely appreciated in its time, it's often appreciated as history writes it. but who is it who believes that folks who have paid their taxes for a decade, have been laid off in the middle part of their life who can't afford to send their kids to college, who can't afford to buy medicine for their wife, who are those people who believe that those folks don't deserve first crack at that job? at that job? first crack.
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