tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 21, 2010 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
but over the months that followed, each month, improvement, improvement, improvement, so that this year we're beginning to see the efforts of the democratic congress, some senate help, and the president in turning around the economy so that in 2010 in the most recent months we're beginning to see job growth. in fact, we've added nearly 600,000 jobs this year. no longer a decline. stabilization. and now job growth. so with this background we can begin to understand the efforts that are being made here in congress by the democratic party and by the president. . historic piece of legislation was signed today. and it dealt with the economy around the world.
11:40 today, president obama signed the wall street reform and consumer protection act, a very important law, clearly the most important financial regulation law since the 1940's, designed specifically to deal with the underlying problems that led to the collapse of wall street. many parts of it, the kinds of excesses and gambling with our money that took place are going to be history and not going to be allowed under the new law. a consumer protection agency has been put in place to provide consumers with a place to go with their complaints and to protect them. i know about this, i did this for two terms as the insurance commissioner in california. i know the importance of a consumer protection agency. we will soon have such an agency in the united states to help us as consumers, to make sure those mortgages are no longer subprime and hidden costs with hidden
resets. all of that is in law now as a result of what this democratic caucus did and with the help of just three republicans over in the senate, passing the wall street reform and consumer protection act. now, what has been done is good. and i'll talk about some other bills as we go through this this afternoon. but i also want to make it clear that it is not enough. manufacturing matters. we need to rebuild the manufacturing base of america. we need to make it in america. and we can. i don't think there's a person on this floor that doesn't want to walk into a target store and find made in america labels on everything. we aren't going to get there immediately, but we can get there much, much faster if we pass the correct laws. joining me are several of my
colleagues from around the nation who are going to tell their story and what's happening in their community. i would like to start on the far east coast. i'm a west coast person and i'm from california, but there is another side to the continent. they would like to say it's the right side and sometimes they call california the left side. but my colleague from the great state of pennsylvania would like to in form us about what's going on in pennsylvania and more specifically in the philadelphia area. if you would, sir. mr. fattah: i thank our leader on this effort focusing on which matters, manufacturing-based jobs. in philadelphia, we have 1,300 manufacturers and in your package of bills which i'm happy to be a co-sponsor of, you focus in on closing tax loopholes,
dealing with the question of mass transit, bus, rail and energy systems. i want to spend a few minutes -- we have among our -- the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from colorado rise? mr. perlmutter: i thank my friend for yielding. i send to the desk a privileged report from the committee on rules for filing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 1549, resolution providing for consideration of the bill h.r. 1264, to amend the national flood insurance act of 1968, to provide for the national flood insurance program to make available multiperil coverage for damage resulting from wind storms or floods and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed. mr. fattah: our rules committee
colleagues rule overall of us. i want to focus in in philadelphia, we have 1,300 manufacturers. average wages earned is well over $45,000 annually. it is a major source of where our future economic growth is going to come from. and the gentleman from california who has dedicated a great deal of his life on economic development really understands that at the end of the day, the only way to really build wealth in our nation is we have to be making products that we can't be consumer-driven economy and expect to continue to have a high quality of life for ourselves and for our families and children and grandchildren. philadelphia, we are making everything from peanut chews, to salt water fishing reels which are world class among fishermen
and women throughout the world. we are making for rail cars, we are making rail cars. we have manufacturers that are engaged in making bicycles. you run through and you will see. now when people think about our city, they say you lost a couple hundred manufacturing jobs. that's true. when you see the old factories closed down, but there is a new group of manufacturers who have stepped in and some of whom have been around for a while and improved their technology that make them very competitive. 10% of our manufacturing jobs, one company called crardone industries. we have a strong immigrant community, 22 different languages spoken on the plant
floor and 3,000 employees and making re-geared car parts. they have one competitor in mexico but doing a great job. they have a prayer service at the beginning of the day where they have a chaplain and religious leaders and have a prayer before they go to work, but they are dedicated to producing world-class products and do a great job. i want to get to the point here which is, as members of congress, we have a responsibility, a duty to create a path in which our manufacturers can rise to the point where they can, again, make the best parts in the world and compete fairly across the globe. we only have 1% of our businesses in this country export. and of that, 58% of them export with one other trading partner in the world.
we know we see these containers unloading products here that we can be putting products on those container vessels and sending them to other parts in the world, but we have to have a fair trading system first and foremost, charity begins at home. we have to build the things that we need to be able to purchase in our own economy. and whether they are household appliances, cars or mass transit vehicles, we have to build the capacity to re-engineer our manufacturing sector and also give them the kind of assistance they need from a policy standpoint. and you know, it's amazing to me that as we have started to grapple with this issue of turning this around, the president has done an extraordinary job and his economic team, an extraordinary
job. here in the house with this focus on manufacturing, as was the case today, started to move ledgetive initiatives both as a symbol and substance, providing real messaging to manufacturers here in our country that they are going to get the support they need and help they need and that as a democratic majority, we understand there is no way possible for us to have the american economy that we want without manufacturing, without manufacturing at the heart and center of it. technology is great. information is great. and you know, but we need to have a system in our country that respects the fact that when we make things with our hands, when we make the finest products in the world, that we'll have a market here at home and market across the world and we'll be in a position to have an economy that generates the jobs that we
need and the incomes we need to raise our families on. i thank the gentleman for his leadership and thank him for what he is doing. even if he is from california. obviously, he is a person who has been call for a time like this. god always provides us people for a time like this. and these are difficult days, but rather than curse the darkness we have a gentleman who is lighting a candle and we will get these things passed. mr. garamendi: let me just cut you off and say there is no candle that i have lit that was not already lit by the democratic caucus. i came here eight months ago, much of this work was under way. you did mention something that caught my attention and that is in philadelphia, there is a rail car manufacturer. mr. fattah: that's correct. mr. garamendi: under the present laws of the united states, the department of transportation has the opportunity to use our tax
money to purchase rail cars made in philadelphia or buses made in california or in the midwest, but they don't often do it. instead they use one of four waivers that are in the laws for our tax money to be spent on things manufactured, buses, trains, late rail, subway cars manufactured overseas and imported. our tax money is going overseas. and i'm going no way, no how. you and i and what others are working on are to eliminate three of those waivers and simply say, no. no. no. if it's our tax money, we are going to use it to buy rail cars manufactured in philadelphia. mr. fattah: that's why i'm a co-sponsor of your legislation, h.r. 5791, because it addresses directly this point. i was at the ribbon cutting and grand opening for this company
with the governor and with my colleague, congressman brady, whose district this is in and it's actually in the former navy yard, which has been transformed from a naval shipyard and manufacturing and economic base. tens of thousands of jobs. we want to sell those cars all over the united states. mr. garamendi: let's do it. i notice next to you, the the gentlewoman from ohio who she is determined to change from the rust belt to the gold belt. betty sutton, you were in the greatest industrial section anywhere in the world. please share us your experiences and your hopes and where we ought to be going. ms. sutton: thanks for having this hour to talk about jobs and manufacturing and how we can make it in america. i appreciate the gentleman
from's leadership and our friend from pennsylvania joining us here tonight as well. manufacturing is the backbone of a strong economy. it's the backbone of this country. and it's long past the time in my view that we stand up for u.s. manufacturing. i'm proud to say i'm a product of a manufacturing household. and when i grew up, it was a time when people could have a good job in manufacturing and put food on the table, cover health care costs and supply a pension, but we have seen obviously a lot of loss of good manufacturing jobs due to a number of things, but including, unfair trade practices and policies that put our companies and workers at a disadvantage. as we work together to pass this initiative that is multi-faceted in its approach, because there are many things we need to do to level that playing field and invest in many ways in our manufacturing sector so that we
can, again, make things and create real value. we just an economic collapse in this country and all too vivid in our minds and a lot of that that wealth we thought that was out there was created by people moving money around and there was a lot of smoking mirrors going on and when the room cleared up, the american people were smashed under the results. when you create things, when you make things, when you make things, you create real value. we are embarking just on -- we have been in this mode, but now we're really ratcheting up the attention to u.s. manufacturing and it's a welcome, welcome train we are moving here. we got to encourage innovation. we hear a lot about innovation and create a level playing field for u.s. manufacturers.
we have to improve our u.s. infrastructure with iron and steel and products produced right here in the united states and that's what the america can people expect us to use when their dollars are being used. we also, of course, have to help our labor pool and strengthen our education and training and coordinate our efforts because we are in this together and we will make it in america. today, we passed a couple of bills i'm happy to report out of the energy and commerce committee, consistent with our goals to make it in america. one of them calls for ar national manufacturing strategy. now that's a pretty good idea, don't you think? since it is a multi-faceted task, mission that we're on, it makes a lot of sense to plan out our actions and make sure we have our policies in order so that they work together and that they work for and with our
businesses and our workers. so the national manufacturing act of 2010 was passed out of the energy and commerce committee and hopefully on its way to the house floor so we can vote on it in the near future. another bill was passed out of the energy and commerce committee and it's a bill i sponsored called the foreign legal manufacturers accountability act of 2010. and this bill deals with products that are manufactured in foreign countries, sold into our marketplace and then if they injury our consumers, we don't have a right of redress, really, for them to deal with that. so every year, countless americans are injured by dangerous products that have been manufactured abroad and imported into the u.s. and the examples we are aware of, toxic drywall, lead paint in toys, defecttive tires.
these products not only hurt consumers, but they also hurt american businesses, because when our businesses put manufactured products out there, they have to comply with safety standards that we expect for our consumers, yet it's very difficult for injured parties to hold foreign manufacturers accountable because they can't serve process, they don't have jurisdiction over them. and as a result, our consumers and businesses are forced to engage in cost prohibitive and expensive legal battles. and the fact of avoiding all of those issues, producing things in foreign countries allows them to undercut our u.s. manufacturing and it's not fair. so this is a bill about fairness, about accountability. it will improve the safety of products that come into our marketplace. and it will allow our manufacturers to compete on a level playing field.
. i went to thank the gentleman for the pending bills he has on manufacturing. mr. garamendi: i thank the gentlewoman from ohio for bringing to us the perspective of things that we have yet to do, the idea of a strategy. and you mentioned a peace -- several pieces of that strategy one of which the democrats in this house has -- have already done. the senate voted for it. it was signed into law, and it it happens to deal with education. we know that if you're going to have a manufacturing strategy, when you compete in the worldwide market, you need a well-educated work force. so the student aid and financial responsibility act passed several mopts ago, was approved over in the -- months ago, was approved over in the senate and the president signed it. one very interesting fact about the way that bill passed this
house, it passed without one republican vote. every republican voted no or didn't vote at all. only the democrats voted to increase the pell grants to make it possible for students to enter college, to enter the community colleges. you can't have a first-class manufacturing industry unless you have a well-educated work force which means education, and that's what we did. it's now the law. every student and wannabe student across this nation has access. >> if the gentleman will yield? mr. garamendi: please. >> these community colleges and we have seen it across the country to have customized training to develop classes where they'll come out and train at the work site or at the community college, specific skills related to the manufacturing processees that are going to be used there. mr. fattah: so you're absolutely right.
i was here in the clinton years. we passed -- when the clinton economic plan was passed, not one republican voted for it. not in the house, not in the senate. you know, 25 million jobs later, a balanced budget, $3 trillion surplus, it doesn't matter whether they voted for it or not. democrats had to be committed doing what we do best, which is getting this economy headed in the right direction. and at some point maybe it will catch on with the other party but what's most important is what we see. we saw the unemployment numbers yesterday state by state with the improvements throughout the country now and a majority of our states with employment moving up. i just thank the gentleman, i thank the gentlelady from ohio. i love ladies from ohio. my wife was born in ohio. let's make it in america.
mr. garamendi: you have experience of women from ohio. it cooperate be better. we certainly appreciate our colleague from ohio, congresswoman sutton. i noticed over here on my right -- left side, a gentleman who comes from the continental divide, congressman per mutt -- perlmutter, he was bringing a rule from the rules committee as a member there. he were talking to me in the way in which the economy is changing and colorado has become a manufacturing state, so please share with us. mr. perlmutter: and i thank the gentleman from california, and really we got to kind of not forget what we've come through because the better days are ahead. but you can't forget where you came from. and over the course of 2007 through 2008, at the end of the bush administration, this country was losing 780,000 jobs
a month. and over the course of the next year through a series of things that stopped the free fall of the economy, righted it and dealt with some significant issues that have been really holding us back, holding this country back for a long time, health care as it applies to business. each car costs a ton of money on top of that is the health care cost, a variety of things that have been holding us down from reaching our real potential as americans and as america. but over the course of the last year and a half, instead of losing 780,000 jobs, as we were under the bush administration, we start -- we crossed the axis to positive job growth and it's still kind of shaky, but we've gone from losing 780,000 to gaining about 100,000 jobs a month. now, that's not good enough and
we can do a lot better and we have a lot of work to do because in this trough, in this deep part of the recession we lost eight million jobs and we -- we want good-paying, good products coming out of that so we can put people back to work. and that's the -- that's the goal and the everyday job, our first priority is putting people back to work to good jobs and that's what we're doing. we've taken care of dealing with some long-standing problems, whether it's reeling in wall street, dealing with health care, making sure that women get equal pay for equal work, those are the kinds of things that we've been focusing on. when the republicans have been focusing on the george bush agenda of cutting taxes for the wealthiest, prosecuting wars without paying for them, failing to police wall street, privatizing social security and
abolishing medicare. that's not the contract that we want to have with this country, but that is their contract that they want to push just as george bush pursued it. now, i would recommend to you, mr. garamendi, and to the other speakers, an article that was published in "the denver post" this past sunday by a gentleman named andy grove who was the chief executive of intel and it describes manufacturing in the united states and when it grew and how it's waned and what we can do to start building it again. one of the things -- and my friend from ohio, ms. sutton, talked about manufacturing jobs in that state. one of the places where we can have solid manufacturing jobs is in the green, clean technology arena. now, it's not -- it's manufacturing, whether it's solar panels or wind turbines
or many things that are of huge size that we build in this country, we construct in this country and it puts our people, americans back to work and that's the kind of thing we are building a country by looking forward, by looking to that new day where we're going to have something better for the people of this country. one of the things you talked about, mr. garamendi, was this bill we passed involving students and community colleges. well, community colleges in that bill will really be a base for developing these new manufacturing positions so that we have well-educated, well-prepared people to go build the best products in the world. that's what we've done before. that's what we're going to do again because that's what america is made of. and i'm so proud to be part of a democratic caucus and a democratic congress that has dealt with a very difficult financial time, dealt with very
substantial and difficult subjects like health care and wall street and, you know, getting this country back on its feet and now we're going to move forward just as america wants us to do and we're going to start building this thing the way we know we can. and i'd yield to my friend from wisconsin if i can. mr. garamendi: well, let me just -- mr. perlmutter: let me yield to my friend from california. mr. garamendi: i want to set a couple of things in place. before i arrived here, my three colleagues and the democrats in this house passed an energy policy that puts america on the track to renewable energy and puts us on the track to end our addiction to foreign oil. that bill passed this house. it is a fundamental policy direction. we're moving this nation to renewables. we're moving the nation away from its dependence on oil. i wish i were here to vote for
it, but the special election occurred after that. there will be some followups. one follow-up -- and this is something that just drives me crazy -- that policy to build renewables in america actually runs up against our tax policy. the american tax policy allows our tax dollars to be used to buy wind touchins, fote -- turbines, fote owe volume take systems -- photo vole stayic -- photovoltaic systems. we're buying solar panels that is made anywhere but america? that's stupid. we are trying to change american policy here so our tax money is spent on these green technologies that are
manufactured here in america. now, i hope the republicans join us on this one. they certainly have not joined us on any other job creation program that has been put through this house, has been signed by the president. now, my colleague from minnesota -- wisconsin -- >> you're thinking the minnesota vikings. mr. garamendi: somewhere between california and philadelphia is where dr. kagen is from and you actually started a major business in america. you know what it is to make things in america. you're a physician. you're an entrepreneur, and you are one heck of a legislator. so please share with us. mr. kagen: well, mr. garamendi, i thank you for yielding briefly, but i am from the great state of wisconsin. mr. garamendi: wisconsin. mr. kagen: and i know that occasionally the state of california has dabbled in the dairy business and some way you got a moniker that says somehow your could you say are -- you can't be any happen -- cows are
-- you can't be any happier than being from wisconsin. we are the dairy state. i remind my colleague each and every opportunity. let me tell it to you this way. if i heard my friend from california correctly, you said that today was an important day for taking a positive step forward. we saw our country on the brink of disaster. why? how did we get into that mess? there were two wars at the same time and the republicans didn't pay a dime for either one of them. two wars without paying a dime for it. there were two tax cuts to the very wealthy in the united states, didn't pay for that either. $400 billion handed over to big drug companies in medicare part d. didn't pay a penny for that benefit either. and then at the tail end of the bush administration, they cracked the door open to the treasury and allowed wall street speculators to take out nearly $1 trillion. didn't pay a penny for that either.
so we have a lot of bills that someone's going to have to pay. we're beginning to move up. the way you do it is to generate private sector jobs. we understand that. but first we had to do a lot of lifting here. we had some tremendous leadership that guided us through these tough times. the first and most important bill that i helped to pass was to live within our means for pay as we go. it worked during president clinton's time. it will work again in president obama's time. we are fiscally responsible here in the democratic side of the aisle. we wish the republicans would join us in helping to build that better future. you mentioned that it's important to generate jobs, but to do that small businesses and private businesses that i'm very familiar with, we need to lower the cost of labor. we've done that to give tax credits for those employers who will hire people. .
mr. bruce bartlett on march 19 said these words, quote, federal taxes are considerbly lower by every measure since obama became president. last year's stimulus bill reduced federal taxes by almost $100 billion in 2009 and by $222 billion this year. it was news even in "usa today" where the headline reads, tax bills in 2009 at lowest level since 1950. if people in wisconsin were looking for lower taxes, the democrats have delivered it to the middle class. they didn't feel it, though. you aren't going to get credit for it because the economy was on its knees and so deep into the recession. today is historic, because we did pass a bill, a financial reform bill, no more bailouts.
the taxpayers won't be on the hook for the speculators on wall street. and most importantly a consumer protection agency that will finally put someone on the side of the consumer looking out for only their best interest. it wasn't done with the republican-led house of representatives or congress, it was done with democratic leadership. and it will take democrat leadership and a strong spine to stand up and take credit for all of the benefits that we are bringing to every american no matter what party they're in. we have to work together and across the aisle to guarantee that we can generate the jobs we need to work our ways back into prosperity to make things in america again and get a balanced trade deal, not just with europe, but most importantly with china. and i yield. mr. garamendi: if the gentleman would yield for a moment. you mentioned democratic
leadership. just next to you is our democratic leader, congressman from the great state of maryland, mr. hoyer. i suspect you have a few things you would like to say and you may want to cover the 20 or 30 bills that under your leadership and speaker pelosi that the democrats have passed out of this house with no republican support. but i'll let you to speak on that matter. before you do, if you look over here, mr. leader, make it in america. now that came from -- a tremendous leader, our majority leader said in caucus one day, make it in america. it's your slogan and our slogan. i yield. mr. hoyer: i thank my friend from california. thank my friend from colorado, wisconsin and new york and certainly from ohio.
we are's on the floor here talking about making it in america. we believe everybody ought to be able to make it in this, the greatest land on the face of the earth. and we believe one way they're go to go make it in america -- i tell the gentleman, the speaker, mr. driehaus from ohio, is to make it in america. and so, throughout the world. make sure that our manufacturing capacity is as robust as it was in former decades and as it needs to be. and as americans know it needs to be if our economy is going to get back an america which is a great country, can be even greater. and that america, which has been the engine of economic opportunity will be an even greater engine of opportunity -- economic opportunity for our people and create jobs and growth. manufacturing is critical. and americans know it. critical to our economic
strength. and democrats are committed to rebuilding it as a part of america's economic recovery. mr. perlmutter has a chart there, which shows that we were handed ap depth of an economy. there are only a couple of members, few members of the house who were alive 75 years ago. there are some. america understands why they are feeling the pain because of this debt left to us by the left administration. you showed the deficit figures. i have served with all four of those presidents, i tell my friend mr. garamendi. one of them was a democrat. the only one who is above the line. the only president in the lifetime of anybody in this institution that has had a net
surplus. the only one. now, we show four presidents here, but very frankly, you can go back for as long as you have been alive, no president ended with a net surplus as bill clinton did, $5.6 trillion surplus left by that administration. an ability to address our problems. unfortunately, we failed to do so. unfortunately, we had an administration that thought just helping the wealthiest in america, buying things and not paying for them, going to war and not paying for it, doing a prescription drug bill which has done good things, but not paid for, was the thing to do. and therefore, we find the economy tanked. and in one month in america, we lost 786,000 jobs. that was the last month of the bush administration. 3.8 million jobs lost in the
last year of the bush administration. and what does that mean? you look -- if you look at the last year of the clinton administration, 1.9 million new jobs created. americans know we need to put america back to work and one of the best ways, americans are telling us, republicans talk about listening to america, one of the best ways to do that is to start making it in america and sending it to other nations, not the other way around, putting our people back to work. thank you, doctor. in coming weeks we will be bringing to the floor the make it in america agenda, a strategy to boost american manufacturing. it's based on the idea that when more products are made in america, more well-paying, blue collar jobs, white collar jobs, no collar jobs are going to be
created and it will be possible for more people to make it in america. this bill, the manufacturing enhancement act is the first piece of that agenda and includes hundreds of reductions so american companies will find it easier to find the materials to grow goods. so we have started on that agenda. and by the way, i noticed that our republican friends, out of habit, voted no. then they started talking to one another and say, hey, you know what this bill does? it starts to grow our economy. by the way, the national association of manufacturers are for these bill that the democrats put on the floor. they know it helps to build jobs. and oh, by the way, the chamber of commerce is for this bill. why? because it starts to build jobs. that's the agenda the democrats
are on. and they are saying, gee, maybe i ought to vote for that bill and we so those nos go to yes. it was a strange experience for them. i hope it's catching and i hope they'll keep doing it and keep saying yes to the american worker and keep saying yes to growing manufacturing capability in america. i hope they are saying yes to the proposition that we can, we should and we will make it in america. america is the greatest land on the face of the earth and our people are some of the most talented, innovative entrepreneurial people on earth. and if we give them the tools and we give them the opportunity, they will compete with anybody in the world. that's why we democrats are committed to an agenda that says yes, we can. we will make it in america and in that enterprise, a
manufacturing expansion, more people will make it in america. i thank the gentleman for yielding and yield back the balance of my time. mr. garamendi: mr. leader, thank you very much. i notice we are joined by another state representative in another state, mr. tonko of new york. and you have talked to me about the manufacturing that occurs in your area. could you share with us your experiences and how all of this comes together in the great state of new york. mr. tonko: it's great to join with our democratic colleagues here on the floor to share our thoughts on how we build this nation's economy and it's absolutely the truth what was inherited here was a huge loss in jobs, 8.2 million jobs lost in the bush recession and $18 trillion lost in american house holds. there was a huge comeback
required. here is an opportunity to express the strength of this nation. the strength of our nation is the intellect, the intellectual capacity of this nation when embraced can inspire a wonderful era of innovation and we have seen it throughout our history when we profess we are going to land a person on the moon and enter the global race in space under the leadership of president kennedy. we made it happen because people saw the goal and they believed we were the greatness of america and that was expressed by a nation that invested in technology that landed us on the moon. it's a repeat of history almost. as the president asked us in the recovery act to invest in basic research, to invest in r&d, research and development. that allows us to develop all sorts of responses. the energy dilemma can be addressed here in the united
states. you look at what the investment in advanced battery technology means. i see it in my district. g.e. is opening a facility that will manufacture all of this wonderful opportunity where this alternative battery technology will not only allow for a generation of technology but supply alternative less carbon emissions. job creation, job production. and then beyond that, this battery will be available for storage of intermittent power. so as we look at the sun, the wind and the soil to produce our energy needs, there are concerns at times that there is an intermittent quality that the sun may not shine or the wind may not blow. if we can store that supply, we have created the innovation in the energy world. that is happening as we speak. and those batteries will be
developed and manufactured here in this country. it's what we're talking about. do we want to go from purchasing fossil-based fuels from the middle east to purchasing solar panels in china? not at all. we can produce here in this country, but it's about choosing the right policies and about relying on the right course. it's about placing trust and confidence in leadership. do we want the failed leadership that continues to promote the policies of the past where republicans in this house will stand on the floor and say, privatize social security. put it to the whim of the investment market. what would have happened if we transitioned that with the failure of wall street? we are talking about a party that continues to talk, continues to talk about providing vouchers for our medicare system. i don't want to balance a budget on the backs of hard-working seniors, who now earn their retirement years. they want social security and
medicare to stay in tact. we are talking about a party that said addressing wall street reform is like attacking an ant with an atom bomb. what a gross misrepresentation of the reforms that were required here in this country. it's about going out, reaching out to the past where a $236 billion surplus, which was projected to grow into a $5.6 trillion surplus was destroyed. it was destroyed by failed policies or do we choose to go with recovery that we are seeing, development in our intellect and innovation and putting together the resources that enable us to go forward to make it in america again to manufacture here in the united states. we have the ability. we have the course established. let's continue to maintain the recovery walk that is so very
valuable to our economy. and i know that our representative, betty sutton, has something she wants to say and i will yield back. mr. garamendi: if i might yield to me, i have been asked -- i asked mr. speaker, unanimous consent, that all members may have five legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the subject we are talking about, making it in america, manufacturing matters, the subject of my special order. the speaker pro tempore: wosmede. mr. garamendi: we have about -- the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. garamendi: we have about 10 or 12 minutes and i want to complete this. our representative from ohio, ms. sutton, has a few more things she wants to adhere. so please, i yield. .
ms. sutton: we have to focus our replacing policies that rewards businesses from outsourcing jobs with sensible tax policies that will help our businesses and workers make it in america. and we have to develop a trade model that will put an end, an enforceable end to illegal subsidies and product dumping. one that requires reciprocity of market access and one that ensures that products produced elsewhere and sold into our u.s. market are safe for consumption here in the united states. if you look at this chart that my friend, representative ellison from minnesota, is helping me hold up here, we can see how working americans are being squeezed. 12,000 to 20,000 american jobs are offshored every month. it's outrageous and we have a chance with our policies to
stop this from happening. let's close the corporate tax loopholes and save $14 billion a year and start to save these jobs. with that i yield back. mr. garamendi: if you yield for a moment. this house more than a month ago passed a very, very important tax bill, and what it did was to end the tax subsidies, and the gentlewoman from ohio was speaking to this, ended the tax subsidies that american corporations get when they offshore jobs. americans that i talk to say, what are you talking about? you mean the tax policy for america actually allows corporations to take a reduction in their tax, a tax credit when they send jobs overseas? the answer is yes, but if that bill becomes law -- and it's stalled in the senate by the republicans -- if it becomes law that will end and no longer
will corporations be given a tax break to send jobs overseas. it's $14 billion a year. mr. ellison, we've had a debate here with your colleague next to you about which is the greatest stake in the upper midwest -- steak in the upper midwest. mr. ellison: if the gentleman will yield? it's a well-known fact that in minnesota everybody's above average, you know. we've already heard the eloquence of -- mr. garamendi: i assume that you must be from minnesota? mr. ellison: i tell you nothing about my comments would necessarily indicate that but you're right. i'm not bragging. i'm just telling you how it is. but let me say this. one thing that minnesota and wisconsin do have in common is that we have a lot of hardworking people who are very
talented at making things. we can make goods, we can make product. people have made goods throughout the history of this nation, that has essentially armed america during world war ii. the arsenal of america was in the upper midwest, detroit, wisconsin, minnesota, right there when america needed to defend itself. we also made the things that helped americans have more convenient lives, have the strongest economy in the world. and i just want to say that we can make these things again. there's nothing that could stop us from making it in america all over again. it's a matter of vision. it's a matter of commitment. and i'm telling you i'm so proud that today we passed a bill to take us a step in direction of manufacturing in america today, making it in america and then we can sell it in america or out of america or anywhere around the globe. what i called for is a
commitment to manufacturing, enforcing our trade rules, making sure other countries play by the rules, that we invest in education and we digest our tax code, as you so correctly point out, to make sure that we are on our own side which i think only makes sense. so with that i want to thank you, congressman, for bringing us together yet again to talk about the vital issues that affect americans every single day. your very valuable around here. thank you. mr. garamendi: if you yield to our mutual friend from the neighboring great state of wisconsin. mr. ellison: you mean the state, the great brett favre so wisely left and then came to my state of minnesota? mr. garamendi: we will not find any anonymity among the democratic caucus on that. i yield to dr. kagen. mr. kagen: in minnesota or wisconsin we have the same ideas. the ideas on a level playing
field, whether it's on a football turner field or a manufacturing competition across borders, we can compete and win against anybody. but there has to be, there must be a level playing field. we cannot in this country continue to allow china to manipulate its currency to its own advantage. we cannot allow our own corporations or any international corporation to offshore our jobs. instead of shipping our jobs overseas, we must export our values. our values that say we care about our people, we care about our environment, and you cannot, you cannot continue in china to sacrifice your environment for economic development. i think we got the right message. if you don't make anything, you won't have anything. we got to get back to our base of making things here in america and making sure that we can compete on a level playing field. that's what we're working so hard to do. i yield back to mr. garamendi. or mr. tonko.
mr. tonko: representative garamendi, i like these lightning rounds. i think you're right on the absolute powerful course to make sure that tax policy speaks in defense of american workers, american families. absolutely essential. making certain that there is an agenda here to invest in education because we're training the work force of the future. but what we also need to do -- and i am convinced that we can do it smarter. if we don't do it cheaper we can still win if we do it smarter. i look at all of the opportunities we can do through energy retrofitting, that we can take manufacturing and upgrade it so that we're greating a state-of-the-art facility, an energy -- and energy costs are significant, in manufacturing costs. when i look at the potential of providing for that efficiency retrofitting, i saw it at niserta. i served as president as c.e.o. at the new york state energy
facility. we came to congress and asked for help to make their efficiency as powerful as could be. we need to see that as our fuel of choice. we need to drill and mine for efficiency like you would drill for oil and mine for coal. it is that valuable a resource. and we have invested in that. we have invested in all sorts of innovation in the energy arena through the recovery act. this is a visionary policy-driven administration. the democrats in this house, led by speaker pelosi, working with the president, are visionaries. they are bringing out state-of-the-art opportunities. we're bringing into play that was back burnered by an administration that was too interested in working with powerful sources, big banks, powerful oil companies, all of the insurance companies, working with them, giving them the prioritization, rather than having us invest in all of the adjustments that were required so that our manufacturing could
be as smart and as challenging to the global marketplace as could be. and i see that as a value added that's part of the packaging we do here. another point i would mention, sbir sbir, the small business innovation and research program, i have a program that is invested -- proteotypes that is ready to be de-- prototypes that is ready. let's take those patented types that are prototypes and let's invest in that. that's jobs immediately. it's a no-brainer. so i would hope we could advance that small business agenda because oice these patents are going to other countries. they're developing these patents into a manufacturing situation, and that scenario is providing jobs in their given country. we need to take our own patents to the sbir program and advance that agenda. mr. garamendi: representative tonko, thank you so very much for bringing us that
perspective. i am going to very quickly run through a scenario of policy changes that the democratic majority in the house has approved by overwhelming democratic majority and which the republican minorities have consistently voted no on almost to a person. first of all, the american recovery and reinvestment act, 2.8 million jobs created from that. every single republican voted no. this was the stimulus bill. the worker homeownership and business assistant act, 98% of the republicans voted no. this was to keep people in their homes, to help small businesses,. the health insurance reform. 100% of the republicans voted no. and this is the bill that provides a subsidy for businesses that buy health insurance for their employees. keeping their employees healthy. student aid and financial responsibility act, giving students the opportunity to go
to school, whether they are 50 years of age or 18 years of age, increasing the pell grants. every republican voted no. the democrats passed it. cash for clunkers, keeping the auto industry alive. a majority of the house republicans voted no, 95 out of their caucus. hiring incentives to restoring employment, the hire act, which will help create 300,000 jobs. 97% of the republicans voted no. credit cards. how many of us have been ripped off on our credit cards, the hidden interest bump that occurs after three or four months? the house republicans voted no. the democrats passed that and it's now law with the president signing the wall street reform. and speaking of the wall street reform, every house republican voted no. the great collapse of the american economy caused by wall street excesses, republicans
stood with wall street, the democrats stood for reform. the american jobs and tax closing act passed by the house and senate, 90% of the republicans voted no. small business, republicans voted no. the home star, how we can improve the efficiency of our homes and put thousands of people to work, 93% of the republicans voted no. the competes act, creating an educated work force. you and i worked on this in the science and technology committee. so what did the republicans do? they voted no. this is the law that gives us science technology education, gives us the resources, the research for the next generation. on and on and on. we need policies that move the manufacturing of america, that put californians, new yorkers, ohioans, minnesotans and wisconsin and every other state, those people need to go
back to work. the jobs programs, the innovation programs, the manufacturing programs, those are democratic agenda items. we vote them out of this house. the republicans vote no on them, and then it goes over to the senate where the power of one senator, usually a republican, has stalled it all. we're not finished. we've just begun. we're going to put america back to work. we're going to make it in america and americans will make it. that's our agenda, that's what we're all about, and we're going to see that it gets done. i want to thank my colleagues for their time and thank you pour joining us this evening and for the american people, we thank you for your attention. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the gentleman from missouri, mr. akin, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
mr. akin: good evening, mr. speaker. and good evening, friends. this evening we're going to continue in the discussion which has been ongoing. we've just been treated to a whole series of wonderful promises that the democrat party has -- all the wonderful things that the democratic party is going to do for america and how we've created jobs and this and that and the other thing. the problem is it's not working. now, republicans and myself,
particularly, here on the floor, talked a year ago about the proposals to create jobs and what the democrats were going to do with the economy and we said it's not going to work. it's not that we're being naysayers, it's that we simply understand how the economy work and the proposals that are made don't work. the american people understand that it doesn't work because unemployment is still very, very high, much higher than the numbers actually show because after somebody's been looking for a job for a year they are taken off the unemployment list. when you see 10% or 9.5% unemployment, the actual number, because the people who are not counted, not working, is far higher. i think it's helpful to go back and just understand some basic things about economics. i was dazzled, i was amazed monday this week, i was going through the airport and i saw our president talking and accusing republicans in the senate of being hypocrites. i hi hypocrite was the word he
was use -- and i think hypocrite was the word he was using and they didn't want to continue their unemployment. you know, the thing that strikes me as being odd is to have a whole series of policies that are well calculated to get rid of private sector jobs and then be surprised the fact that there aren't any jobs. . in fact, there are democrats that understand that. we are going to talk about one here in just a minute. i would like to go back, go back to 2003 when george bush was president. i want to go back top september 11, 2003, which was the date of an article that appeared in the "new york times." not exactly a conservative newspaper. and this article said that the bush administration recommended the most significant regulatory
overhaul in the finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago. 2003, the bush administration said something is wrong with fredee and fanee. -- freddie and fannie. they lost $1 billion and considered sloppy on the books. how did that happen? we had created a bunch of laws which you have to, if you are a bank, make loans to people who can't afford to pay the loan. now, i suppose this might have been sold as compassion nature at one time, but to put anybody in a loan that they can't afford is not compassionate and not a wise thing to do. we did that over a long period of time, the idea being to get more americans to own their own homes. it's nice if they can afford it. what happened under the last
year of clinton's administration, they increaseded the percentage of loans that had to be made that people couldn't afford to make. there was liquidity, the federal reserve dropped the interest rate to almost zero and there is this huge housing bubble starting up and houses got more and more valuable and people could buy a house and get a loan saying you don't have to make a down payment or a payment for three years so you could let the government finance the house and then you could sell it and pyramid your money as long as the music didn't stop. president bush said, we need to have more federal authority in freddie and fannie. they are quasipublic heist -- quasipublic-private companies.
they eventually went bankrupt and boy did it hit the fan. here was the response of some of my democrat fans. if they were so good at economics, they wouldn't have gotten it this far wrong. this is henry morgenthau. this is freddie and fannie not facing any kind of financial crisis. they aren't facing a financial crisis? this is congressman frank who is in charge of fixing this problem, which he hasn't fixed yet. these two entities, freddie and fannie aren't facing a financial crisis. they have plenty of money to slop around capitol hill. so we like them. the more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure on these companies and less we'll see in terms of affordable housing. interesting. they aren't in any kind of financial problem, huh? they brought the entire world economic system down because of these policies. now people had the gal to say
that -- gall to say that free enterprise doesn't work. the loans were cut into pieces and sold all over the world and there was no market for them anymore. we were called in congress a couple of years ago and told hey, you have to do this big bailout, $700 billion to get the economy back in line, why? because we didn't manage this thing correctly. the interesting thing is, now with the economy going bad, the democrats in power with that going on, they came up with how to fix the economy. and we're going to talk about that and why it is -- it's not that we're mean-spirited but saying economically, it won't. the newest congressman from the
state of georgia and just did very well in the election the other day and has one more election to go and he will be down here permanently. we are delighted to have congressman graves from the great state of georgia and i don't know where your district is. mr. graves: georgia's 9th congressional district which is north georgia, north georgia mountains. mr. akin: blue ridge mountains. mr. graves: i love in the small town of ranger, little bitty town. mr. akin: how close is it from the river? my brother was a ram brooklyn wreck from georgia tech. he got into that country and the citizens are wise to have elected you. we enjoyed the conversation last week.
i would like you to jump in as to how this thing was going going. i heard the president screaming and yelling at republicans about the fact that we didn't want to continue paying year after year for people not working and that we are insensitive to the job situation. i'm thinking this guy has done to do more to destroy jobs in america than anybody and he has the gall to say that and it's so simple i don't know how people could miss it. if you hammer businesses, you aren't going to have jobs. jobs come from companies. and if you hate companies and you hate the private sector, then how are you going to have jobs? and how can you complain about jobs when you are trying to destroy the companies that make the jobs? it seems straightforward to me. please, join us. mr. graves: it's free market
capitalism. we know it works and the fact that the administration today continues the crazy level of spending and blames businesses for not hiring. and we have heard about hope and change and save and create jobs, all these different theories out there, but the one theory we know they are using that keensian theory of economics. they are spreading that wealth that we all know that they said they wouldn't do, but spreading wealth. and where does the money come from that is being spread? it comes from the citizens of the united states, the taxpayers themselves, small business owners. if we are going to turn this economy around, we have to apply a new theory of economics, the supply side theory of economics, free market, capitalism, competition, all those things that energize the economy and i look forward to a new governing authority in congress that is
going to bring free market capitalism back to the united states. mr. akin: i wish the democrats would learn from themselves and their own mistakes. here is a guy, henry morgenthau who is a contemporary of little lord keynes. if you are from texas, having those boots with the loops in the back and lift hard and trying to fly around the room and the theory is if the government spends enough money that the economy is going to get better. now if any father of a family in this country did something as stupid as that, they would lock him up and put little white suits on him. what you should do is go out and spend a ton of money? maybe eat, live and be merry or tomorrow we die, this is really silly. f.d.r. tried it.
and here is morgenthau who has come back after eight years, taking a recession, not just harming free enterprise, literally those companies closed their doors. it wasn't like they were hunkered down or sort of lean and waiting for better times. they closed the door and stopped the business. and so this is what he said. in congress he said this, we have tried spending money. we are spending more than we have ever spent before and it doesn't work. i say after eight years of the administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot. mr. graves: 2010. you would think it sounds like today. what are we dealing with here in the congress and senate, voting
on the extension of unemployment benefits. if the policies of the obama administration were working so well and saving and creating so many jobs, then why do we need to extend unemployment benefits? isn't that an admission to the fact that it doesn't work. mr. akin: i have a hard time understanding. we heard all these democrat problems that are working and everything is going along fine and yet we are saying yet, we have this whole problem of no jobs and we have the government spending more money and instead of understanding the nature of americans that can-do spirit that makes america a special place, instead of trying to set a system up where people could have a job, we are saying, we are going to pay you not to work. that is degrading to people. mr. graves: you hit on the solution and that is if we empower the american people and empower the taxpayer and business owners, they will drive
us through these tough economic days because of that nurel spirit, that can-do spirit, that grit, that willingness to dig deep and work hard. and you know, what we heard for the last couple of days, i have heard, listen to the democrats blame a previous administration over and over. mr. akin: bush administration that brought hurricane katrina. everything bad thing that ever happened in the whole world. mr. graves: they fail to take responsibility that they took the majority in 2006 and sworn in their speaker in 2007 and yet failed to take responsibility for the actions in the unemployment and the job losses that we see today, but blame it on someone else previous. mr. akin: one thing that is hard to argue with is the numbers. in 2008, bush was president, but nancy pelosi was speaker of the house.
this was the worst spending year of the bush administration. the bush administration spend too much money? i would say yeah, he did. $259 billion. mr. graves: we have branches of government, three of them, and spending and allocation and appropriations original nates in the house of representatives, not in the executive branch but the house of representatives. mr. akin: in 2008, that was bush's worst year, $459 billion. look at the first owe baum ave -- obama year here, talk about runaway deficits. this cannot continue without the nation falling apart economically. what you are seeing is the result of this incredible level of spending. it's very corrosive to jobs. how can you say republicans
don't want to keep paying people . they are doing everything possible to create the unemployment. i'm joined by congressman bishop, if he would like to join us. mr. bishop: thank you. i'm very honored to be here with two friends who are talking about the significant problems we have in this country and simply the lack of jobs. and as we all know, government does not create jobs, but government can create a policy to discourage jobs and that is where we are today. if i could go in a slightly different direction from where the two of you have headed so far, i have the newest member here from the good state of georgia, good southerner, someone from the midwest and i'm from the midwest and in all due respect i think my part of the nation is taking a bigger hit in this economy.
the unemployment rate in the west is higher than any other section of this country. it has been that way for the last 12 months. so somewhere somebody has to figure out what is unique about our area in the west that has given us this wonderful distinction of having the best joblessness for well over a year. there are a number of causes, but i can say that many of the new policies and regulations have been adopted during this administration coming out of washington are flat out not helping. when we could be unleashing economic upturn and providing domestic energy independence to this country, which is a boon to economic development, we are doing the exact opposite. let me show you three charts simply to illustrate. and every time i come here i
rant about the amount of public lands. the federal government owns 650 million acres, one out of every three acres in this country is owned by the federal government. but unfortunately in my area of the west, it's one out of every two acres is owned by the federal government. . for example, if the amount of land owned in the west was owned by the government in the east, that's how much it would be. on the other hand, if we in the west had as much land owned by the federal government as they do in the east, east of the rocky mountains, that's how much of our territory would be controlled. there's a unique element there which means of the 12 states that have had the slowest growth in their economy, the biggest joblessness increase, i hate to say that, but six of those 12 are in the west. georgia gets in there. six of those 12 happen to be
found in the west. if you want to go one step further, look at the 20 largest counties with 25,000 or more inhabitants who have the highest unemployment and joblessness rate, of those 20, 19 of the 20 are found in the west. you have to go down to number 20 before you finally have somebody, in this case it's michigan that breaks through with a higher unemployment rate than western counties have. i'm going to make the contention that there's a reason why the west has been hit very hard and what i simply like to refer to asen inexplicable war on the west. i think the numbers bear it out, part of it is because of policy. without taking too much time, let me list a couple, a slew of some of those administration decisions. mr. akin: it seems to me there's a war on missouri going on a war on free enterprise going on, but i didn't know
about the war in the west. mr. bishop: i'll join in the battalion, we're all faced with these decisions. let me talk about things that have destroyed jobs in the west. in my state, the first thing the administration did was cancel 77 oil and gas leases in the -- in utah, they also canceled those in other states and wyoming is only to lease about 5% of the leases put on bid. this administration banned uranium mining permits in the state of arizona. in california, they blocked water that goes to ranchers in the central valleys there, so in some communities in california, up to 40% of those agricultural communities are now faced with unemployment. this administration tried to provide $400 million in
stimulus to that area. they didn't need to do that. all they need to doo is turn the water on and it's free. much of that money went to the districts that voted to keep the water turned off that made the problem in the first place. i had the director of tourism and movies. the west is a great set for a lot of movies but one problem is when you go on government lands, the permit process take so long nothing is taking place. mr. akin: what i'm hearing you saying is there's a systematic series of decisions that literally create unemployment, they are government decisions, it's worst in the west because the government controls more of the west, and those decisions systematically destroy jobs while the president comes on and with a straight face says,
republicans are hypocrites because of the fact that we don't want to keep paying people for not working. it amazes me. mr. bishop: let me throw a couple more statistics at you, then i want to do some dialogue here because the numbers are good but we need some context. this administration says we need alternative energy sources to help the economy grow. i think we need all kinds of energy sources. the chamber of commerce identified 380 renewable energy projects blocked or staaled over the past four years. the total cost of those staaled projects is $560 billion in lost economic activity and approximately a quarter million jobs that were not allowed simply because it doesn't matter if we're talking about fossil fuels or wind power or solar power or nuclear power, we are not doing anything to develop new energy sources. western energy alliance did a
survey to find out what would be taking place in the west, these areas that i'm saying are heavily hit. 74% of the respondents to the survey by the western energy alliance said their companies are downsizing capital investment in the rocky mountain area. that's $1.1 billion of investment that's been shifted from the rocky mountains to other parts simply because of the inability of the government to try to help us develop energy sources that is $2.8 billion in infrastructure that would have come into the west and has not. it has a ripple effect. if you stop an oil lease or gas lease or wind power project or solar power project in the west you also stop projects that are on private lands abutting that area and you stop the need to having truckers bring the equipment in and bring people. in then you lose the mechanics' jobs, you lose the jobs from the hotel industry where they are serviced. 90% of respondents say they'll
continue to divert investment in the rockies until there's a change in the regulatory process. we don't have to have this joblessness. this government is creating it. by policies that are not intended to build jobs but actually prevent jobs from being created. i yield back. mr. akin: the question i have, how does the president think he can get away with doing this? all these people in these different companies, when those decisions are made, we were doing the same thing telling people they couldn't drill for oil in the gulf, didn't that put a lot of people out of work? i don't see why people don't see that and alize you can't have a war on private business in america and a at -- and at the same time say you're worried about jobs -- jobs? because it seems to me people get jobs in businesses. their concept of jobs is, we'll hire more people for the census workers, i suppose.
mr. gingrey: if i may interject real quick here but what we've -- >> if i may interject here, we have heard a lot about saving and creating jobs, we've seen bailouts, buyouts, cash for clunkers, tarp one and two, i'm sure there will be many more. the fact is they're not working. but we're going into january of this year and taxes are going to go up on every citizen of the united states. every tax bracket will be raised. capital gains will go up. inheritance tax goes up. marriage tax goes up as well. mr. graves: i'm curious. how does this administration, how does the leadership of this house, face the american people this november and say that is going to create jobs? that's beginning to get you back to work, tax -- taxing you more to fund failed programs of the last 12 months is going to get you back to work? i don't know how they're going to do it but i'll stand before my constituents with a positive
message and let them know there are men like you and me and others in this chamber that will stand up daily and put forth positive solutions to get this country back on track. we're going to get it back on track, it's going to take a lot of work and pushing government out of the way and empowering the american people. so they can once again dream and dream big. mr. akin: that's such a refreshing breath, a little breeze, anyway. we're hoping it will be even more refreshing in november. the bottom line is the government is not the thing that creates jobs. what we've seen is for 18 months, a policy that says the government is going to take over everything. they fired the president of general motors. they're going to take over insurance companies. they're going to take over banks. they decided not only to take over the insurance of flood insurance, they'll take over the loans for students, they're going to take over whatever it is, 1/6 of the economy work their socialized medicine. if they could have, they wanted to take over the energy sector
with their cap and tax bill which would do nothing for global warming except for more taxes and more big bureaucratic government. the solution to every problem is more taxes and more government and they don't learn from the people in their own party. j.f.k. understood you have to back off on taxes. i thank you very much, gentlemen, for joining us. the congressman from i think the ninth district of georgia, really a fine addition here. i appreciate the fact that you have some business sense and some common sense because america really needs to get back on that. i also appreciate my good friend, congressman bishop from utah, get back to him in just a minute. the talk about was the largest tax increase in history. this is the dumbest thing in the world to do when you have a bad economy and no jobs. j.f.k. understood what to do. he cut taxes and cut government spending and what are we doing? we've got the largest tax increase in history coming up
here. those pay 10g% will pay 15%. those paying 25% will pay 28%. those paying 28% will pay 31%. 33% goes to 36%. 35% goes to 39%. that's the biggest tax increase in the history of our country. it's exactly the wrong thing to do. it's not that we're being naysayers or that we're being critical, it's just it won't work. the solutions are straightforward. you want to cut spending and you want to cut taxes. this is this wonderful recovery plan, the democrats said, if you vote for this $800 billion jobs bill if you vote -- this is what's going to happen. this blue line. they said if you don't vote for it, this light blue line is what's going to happen. you could have unemployment as high as 9% if you don't vote for us spending $800 billion,
supposedly to get the economy going, and so on a strictly party line vote, the democrats put in their nifty plan and here's what happened. actual unemployment. they're saying the economy is so good and so strong we need to extend people's unemployment benefits. there's something about that that doesn't add up. my good friend from utah. mr. bishop: i appreciate it, i don't know if they can keep the cameras on that particular chart but it is a telling chart. it's one of the things that i think you are trying to say that we have yet to learn lessons from history. it is very clear that we are trying with the stimulus bill, a few of the other bills right now, creating jobs by having tax-funded jobs being created. unfortunately, that's a sector that's growing, but it's not a sector that will continue and build and has a multiplier effect in the economy. to do that, you have to have the private sector involved. i hate to say this, but when we
went into the great depression, there was the history we already learned at the end of world war i, how lowering tax rates increased the amount of revenue. the same thing took place in the 1960's which president kennedy clearly understood. it's happened several other times in the history of the country. the beginning of the depression, there were many people within the business community who had money to invest in business that could have spurred the economy, created jobs, and grown our economy out of the depression. but they did not invest that money. primarily because they were afraid of what the tax and regular rah -- regulatory policies of the government would do. therefore they simply sat out. people with investment opportunities did not do so. unfortunately, i think we find ourselveses in that same situation. the future tax policies and we don't know what will happen at
the end of this year, it could be catastrophic in raising taxes. in addition to that regulatory policy that we have placed in effect, the effort of a continuous deficit spending we have done, all of those have added to an -- a portion of unrest within the business community and it simply says, i'm going to wait to see where i'm going to invest to see what actually happens eventually. that's why the government doesn't actually create jobs but the government policies can destroy the ability for those jobs to be created at the same time. i appreciate what my good colleagues have been saying. it's true. our regulatory policy and our tax policies have created so much nervousness within the system, we are not doing that which could encourage a multiplier effect within our economy. that's what we need at this particular time. what we've seen, according to -- mr. akin: what you're saying, it's very clear, we have the tremendous, tremendous level of
spending which is exactly the wrong thing. what's happening with that tremendous level of spending, you're getting what you would expect, a lot of unemployment, that's making it worst and worse. -- worse and worse. as you do that spending, we have the question of who owns our debt. in 1970, the foreign debt holdings for 5%. doesn't seem like 1970 was so long ago to me. 1990, 20 years later, foreign holdings have gone from 5% to 19%. now another -- 2010, another 20 years later, total foreign debt is now 47%. those are not numbers that make people who understand business and understand economics comfortable with where we are in this country, and -- mr. bishop: before you put that chart down, i think you understated that sentiment. it's not just people who understand business are not comfortable with that. i don't understand business and i look at that chart and i'm not comfortable with that. any normal american would look at that and say, something is
desperately wrong with what we are doing. . mr. akin: foreigners are are bailing us out and that will be a problem then. this is a comparison. sometimes it's helpful because you start talking about billions and trillions of dollars. only thing i can understand is $100 or $1,000. compared to other countries this is deficit compared to gross domestic product. the united states is third only to spain and united kingdom in terms of our deficit and the united states is third only to greece and italy. you look at these uren countries, they aren't just in nifty economic shape. i don't know if you heard this before, gentlemen, but i was told if you look at what we call
a poverty level in america, a person in america living at the poverty level is doing better than a person in the middle in the middle class in europe. that's what socialism buys you. i'll say that again. a person at the poverty level in america is doing better economically right at the poverty level line, they are doing better than someone who is a middle-class person in europe. that says that all of this keynes yawn socialism stuff is out of line and we are trying to compete with them and we are overspending radically. it just seems like -- i have talked about this a lot of weeks and you have joined me and this isn't complicate. excessive taxation, when the government takes too much money,
the people that have the businesses can't invest because they are giving their money away. what are you going to do? you tax all the well-to-do people. they own the businesses. you can't have it both ways. if you destroy the businesses, you aren't going to have jobs. insufficient liquidity. mandates are destroying the job market out west. those are amazing numbers. did your office put those numbers together, gentlemen? mr. bishop: the one about energy renewable products that have not been allowed to go forward, which would be another quarter of a million jobs and $500 billion in economic output, that was done by the u.s. chamber of commerce and that is nationwide, not just in the u.s. mr. akin: the economic uncertainty, you know when you see the government taking over
the auto industry and the insurance industry and then going to take over the health care industry and that makes people that understand economics very uncertain and aren't going to put a lot of money. there is a president of a company in st. louis called emerson electric, we'll make jobs but not in the united states. we created a set of policies that are so toxic and we have done so well with this list of job killers and doing every one of these things very well, he said we'll create jobs but in foreign countries because we can't afford to do business in this country because we made the environment so toxic. and now we still have got to do more to help the unemployment. if what we are doing is so wonderful and look at these policies that sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words. the president is saying give me
one good reason you aren't hiring, the government taking over the health care, cap and trade, global warming and all these other taxes. health care has more hidden taxes. and here is the poor shop owner with these bulls marching around. we can't seem to understand some very basic economics. one of the big killers is tax increases. these are the corporate tax rates across the entire world and see the green line over there. it says the united states is the second highest corporate tax rate and you say, gee, can't figure out why we don't have more jobs. it is foolish policy. and look at the largest tax increase that we are looking at starting in 2011 and unless congress acts, married people, deductions are going to change.
mr. bishop: would the gentleman restate what that first line in black actually means, unless congress acts, taxes will go up. mr. akin: in 2001, the republicans inherited a recession and they had to do something about it and as president bush was running for office, he said what we have to do is cut taxes and cut spending. what they did was, we cut taxes three different times in different ways. those taxes, because of the way the senate worked, they were going to go along until 2011, there was a 10-year tax cut. 2011, taxes were going to revert back to where they were in 2001. so we did that tax cuts, particularly a tax cut in 2003 or so and that was dividends, capital gains. and by cutting those things we allowed businessmen to invest. and saw employment jump up and
the economy jump up. and by cutting taxes, the federal government raised more money than they had when the taxes were higher. now what we are going to do with the economy, what we're going to do is raise these taxes, which is just plain crazy. i don't know we have to stand on the floor and say, look, the idea of continuing to spend and tax is not what's going to create jobs. mr. bishop: what the gentleman is telling me if congress does nothing, there will be a marriage penalty increase, child deductions will go down, another death tax increase, capital gains tax increase, dividend tax increase unless we do something patrol active, it will automatically happen. we are half a year away from the deadline and we have anything to do about it. mr. akin: the democrats made it clear that they will not renew
these tax cuts. they are not going to do this. we know we will end up with the biggest tax increase in our country right on top of this huge unemployment and a recession going on. mr. bishop: if the gentleman would mind for just a minute, let's talk about another concept of taxes which i don't think many people are aware. these are things that will automatically happen, but there are bills that will be coming to the floor sometime soon that deal with tax increases on our form of energy production. now one of those things listed in in there in the cost of doing business is the cost of energy. there is a bill that passed that is called the clear act which purportedly dealt with what is happening in the gulf of mexico, which is a terrible crisis and needs to be changed. but deep within this bill is a $2 per gallon tax increase on
all oil produced in the gulf of mexico. and 40 cents per trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the gulf of mexico. if we are dealing with the gulf of mexico, that money could be for restoration work, cleanup work, for those who lost jobs and income during that period of time. unfortunately that's not what that money will be used if that bill passes. that money is going to go to the federal department into a specific fund which will now bypass appropriations and be under $1 billion a year to buy more land in the federal inventory. so the amount of blue on this chart could grow in every section of this country but primarily in my state. that is a tax c1 primarily in my state. that is a tax increase on business solely so the government can grow its hold on the amount of property we own here and in so doing will
infringe upon the ability to produce energy in the future. if we were moving forward in alternative energy, maybe that wouldn't be so bad, but this administration is also shutting down alternative energy projects at the same time is shutting down traditional energy projects and that is another tax that goes on to that multitude of taxes that you are talking about and goes on to compound the amount of spending we are doing. i yield back to the gentleman. mr. akin: i think what you're saying is the list i gave you before is incomplete. the government wants to take over autos, insurance, student loans, they want to take over flood insurance. they want to take over it is to fix the economy with socializing medicine, but not enough to own all of that. what they also want is they also want to own the land. so they are going to tax
businesses with some sort of a pretext and they are going to use it as a slush fund to buy up more land. it goes back to rahm emanuel, chief of staff to the president, his statement, let no crisis go without taking full advantage of it. we have a crisis that is largely perpetrated by the federal government in the gulf, certainly b.p. was cull pable for doing things wrong but their poor decision making seems to be eclipsed by the total failure of the federal government to deal with something that is so fundamental, that's called a hole in the bottom of the ocean and if you are going to be on top and show the people, you would put a fusion cell together instead of governor jindal asking the federal government for permission to dredge up a sand bar and waiting for more
than a month to get an answer. i mean, the federal response to this thing and a lot of the problems on the oil rig were because of federal regulations as well. so we have this idea of the containment dome. there is another containment dome not working. we are spending money and spending it in an unusual rate, that will destroy our country if it continues that way. mr. bishop: i appreciate the gentleman expressing. the frustration that many of us are feeling in the direction in which this country is going and we can look at concept after concept of either outrage us spending, moore tax policy, poor regulatory policy, poor energy regulatory policy and put that together and it still spells a lack of jobs. and when we were going to be creating all types of jobs, it has been one where we lost jobs.
and what we are finding unique about this recession, people who lost their jobs are staying unemployed longer or taking part-time jobs. the length of the joblessness is unusually long and i think part of that goes back to the policies that this country is pushing forward that do not encourage investment in our economy and do not multiply our economy impact when we have historical evidence of how that could easily happen. we are ignoring that. mr. akin: than and i think we need to make sure given a particular period of time and i appreciate you joining me here, congressman. i'm thankful for some of the very fine people that are very thoughtful, coming from all areas of our country that have a deep interest in america. and what you have going on here is a systemic attack on the
fabric of what america really is. and you have a belief system, if there is a consistency in federal policy and that consistency is that the government is taking everything over and the american public, at least a certain percentage is really getting concerned about that. they're concerned because they feel like we are losing our country. the government is not our friend. the government is not our servant. the government is becoming our master and becoming a tyrant and it's taxing us to the point and extending to the point that it's going to destroy our country. and you look at what's going on in europe and you see we're competing with some of the most fiscally irresponsible nations in europe in terms of our numbers, in terms of our spending, in terms of our taxation and this has a lot of people scared. and they have very good reason to be. and the fact of the matter is, you can hear economists talk
about fancy theories, but it's not complicated. it's as simple as a lemonade stand. if you tax it too much, he can't afford to keep it going. he will never add any new lemonade stands because it takes extra money and you took it away. when the government takes money and creates jobs or hires more people, now the government supposedly, the rate of pay of a government employee is twice of what it is in a private sector, if the government keeps doing that, it pulls money out of the economy and creates the unemployment and then you start to go into this joblessness situation. these things aren't complicated. too much taxation. j.f. -- j.f.k. understood that. ronald reagan understood that. when they cut tax we pulled out of the recession.
like the congressman was talking about, the government is making it hard for businesses to get loans and most of the businesses don't want loans because the environment is to toxic for business, there's what we say in missouri, they are hunkered down like toads in a hailstorm because they're saying, oh, my goodness, we've got this economic uncertainty and all this red tape that's being generated we don't know what's going on next. if that happens, they're not investing the money system of what happens? we don't have jobs. this is all very predictable. it's about as simple as the lemonade stand. if the government red tape tells you you have to test every glass of lemonade you make and have to put 10 different tests on it, it gets so expensive, you can't sell the lemonade. what happens is the government is no longer theer is rant of the people. the government is -- no longer the servant of the people, the
government is taking over and they are spending way beyond what there's any possibility we can maintain. most people, when they take a look at this level of deficit spending they realize something has to change. there's a couple of different ways you can change it. the first thing you could do is take everything the federal government is doing, try to freeze it or reduce it. the problem is, that's not going to get it. the second thing you could do, get rid of the waste, fraud, and abuse. you're not going to fix this problem by getting rid of waste, fraud, and abuse. we have to go back to some sense of sanity and realize the federal government's job is not to play god, not to try to be all things to all people, but have the federal government become limited once again and do the things that it must do. most of the things we're trying to do now could be done by states. we should send decision making policies back to the states and
what we need to do instead of spending this much money we need to do the few simple things the federal government can do and must do. what are those things? national security. states are not going to be able to run our military. that's not the job for state government. that's a job for federal government. the other thing is, of course, our law enforcement system. we don't want terrorists running around inside our country. the justice the federal government should be rendering is external, that is, our military, and internal in the sense of our police and laws, justices, courts, etc., and jails. so those are the basic things the federal government has to do. when the country started a long time ago, washington, d.c. was a boring place. they only had a couple of laws on the federal books. one was against piracy in the high seas. that was something the states weren't having to deal with. that was a federal job. another one was counterfeiting. the federal government makes the money supply, they don't want people counterfeiting that
was a federal law. so you had a few federal laws but all kinds of other things were done at the local and state level. here what we've got going on is the government is trying to be god to everybody, trying to be all things to all people and it doesn't work. it never worked in other countries. i'm amazed we would be foolish enough to try to do this level of spending. we saw a country, it was called the u.s., they had a philosophy of government in this particular u.s. that said that the government is going to give you food and housing and education and a job and it's also going to give you health care. that country was called the u.s.s.r. that country economically failed and collapsed. we all saw it coming. we were frightened of it because of their nuclear weapons but we saw their economy didn't work. what are we doing? every single thing the soviet union was doing which is the government is going to take
care of your housing, going to take care of your food, going to take care of your health care, going to take care of your education and jobs, the government is taking over all these businesses. we're repeating the same thing that didn't work. americans all across this country, i'm not talking about just republicans and democrats and independents, just people are starting to get it, we're on the wrong track. so it led to the bumper sticker that says, had enough change yet? i think that's one thing the president promised was change. i think he's keeping his promise in that regard if in no other. so these are things that are really upsetting people and when you take a look at the combination of what's going on, these are really, really serious. the comparison of these other country ares, i think, is really telling. when you see deficit as a percent of g.d.p. and the united states is the third
worst, deficit in percent of g.d.p., the u.s. is the third worst. this is not good. then you find out the statistic i just heard about today, the poverty level, the line we say you're at the poverty level in america, that line is the average of the middle class in europe. the average person in the middle class in europe lives below our poverty level. so do we want to go down the direction of what these european countries are doing with the government taking everything over? all kinds of rules and regulations that hamstring the free enterprise system? i say not. i'm going to close this evening by talking a little bit about the america that i love. the america that i love was populated by these crazy people that came here, they had dreams to do amazing things, things that a lot of people would have said in europe you can't do
that. yet these people came to this country with these dreams and the dreams as they worked on them became a big possibility and then even a probability and then a reality. so america was built one dream at a time by different creative people that came to our land. i think first of all, of my favorite historic group of people, the pilgrims -- pilgrims coming to this land, just over 100 pilgrims came they had a dream of creating a country unlike anything else. teachers say they came here with religious freedom, they had religious freedom in holland. they wanted to build a civilization unlike anything in europe. they separated church government from civil government. they wrote a written constitution, the mayflower compact, the first time in history that a free people
under god created a civil government to be their servant, the civil government servant, not master that piece of paper signed on the great table of the mayflower, in ye name of god, amen. it says, we do covenant and combine ourselves together in a civil body politic for the glory of god, the advancement of the christian faith and to frame such just and equal laws as shall be meet and necessary. the first time there was a written constitution under god of a group of people making a civil government to be their servant. the entire foundation of the civil government founded in 162 -- 1622, these people dared to have a dream. -- a dream. in the first three months, half of them died. they said, you better give up. you started as 103 people and now you're down to 50. you should give up. they said, no, we believe god called us here for a purpose.
they said as they were dying as they got older and plymouth colony survive ared and did well, they said they thought they were steppingstones for people that were going to come after to build a new nation because they had a dream in their hearts of what this country could be. they threw out socialism in plymouth colony because they knew it was unbiblical. they understood in 1620 what we don't understand in 2010. they were followed by all kinds of other people. all these people that came with different crazy ideas. one of them built 100 light bulbs and not one worked. his attitude was very cheery. he said, now i know 100 ways to not make a light bulb. he kept trying and soon thomas edison made his first light bulb. america was built this way on free enterprise by people having the courage to take a try at something, fail, and try again. it wasn't built by the government trying to give everybody jobs, and the government taking everything over. they were trying to get away from those big kings in europe.
they wanted the government to be simply a servant. just a facilitator. a facilitator so people could enjoy what they believed were their god-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. they could pursue happiness, they knew the government could never guarantee happiness. they just knew they could try. so it was for yen rations and generations, america became the -- one of the most unique and exceptional countries in the world because it was based on a new idea a new set of principles, some people call it free enterprise, some people call it the american dream, some people talk about it as the can-do attitude. what we're doing is we're killing that dream. that's why we stand here on the floor and talk about these policies. what we're trying to do is turn america back into europe. we left europe. we don't want to go back to europe. some people may want to go back to europe. be happy if they'd take a one-way ticket over there. but don't turn us into a europe
with a socialistic policies of the government taking over everything. we have seen so many examples of the government being lousy at what they do the efficient soif the post office, the compassion of the i.r.s., the energy department, the energy department, it was created so that we wouldn't be dependent on foreign oil. ever since the energy department was created, we're more and more dependent on foreign oil. talk about something that's not -- it's failing in its mission. and we've just seen what happened in the gulf oil spill. it seemed taking the president 50 days before even contacting the head of b.p. the president having the authority to put together a team of the best resources, not just in the country, but the world, and being unwilling to take the big shops that foreign countries owned that could suck up all that oil and process the oil and spit the water out.
we're not going to do that. a dithering around with more and more government bureaucracy, is this the sort of thing we want to put more trust in our federal government? we've seen historically that federal governments of foreign cubt countries have killed more people of their own sith then -- citizens than all the wars of history since the time of christ. if you add up the people killed in wars since the time of christ, less people were killed by war than there are by governments killing their own citizens. do we not have some natural fear of excessive government? i don't understand why we have this irrational faith in the efficiency of big government. it's -- it seems to me it's just a very, very unwise place to be putting our faith in. why do we want to go back to europe? it doesn't make sense. i think we need to think rather in term os they have bright lights and freedom of people being allowed to succeed or to fail or people to be able to pursue their dreams. the bible tells us, the bible
tells us that for every single human being in this world, god made a special job for them to do. when people have the courage to just chase after what's in their heart, the dream in their heart, that's what makes great civilization. that was one of the things that distinguished america and made it such a unique and different nation, because people were able to follow the dream that was in their own heart. and how can you do that if the government starts to keep taking everything over and taking more things over and taxing you and making it impossible for you to do the kinds of things that americans for generations have done? there are two views of america that we see. the view that you see now is the view that reflects the democrat party. what you've seen for 18 months is tote total democrat decision making. the republicans on most of these issues vote no on our -- and are totally ignored because
we are 40 votes short in this chamber and ignored in the senate as well. what you see is democrat policy. what you see is european policy. what you see is the destruction of the american dream and that must stop. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the chair recognized the gentlewoman from california, ms. richardson, for 60 minutes. ms. richardson: i ask unanimous consent that all members be given five legislative days to enter their remarks into the record on this topic of the gulf oil spill. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. richardson: i appreciate the opportunity to anchor this special order tonight. my name is congresswoman laura richardson, i represent california's 37th congressional district, including the cities of long beach, carson, compton and signal hill. it's adjacent to the ports of long beach and los angeles.
the largest port complex in the united states and the third largest in the world. for starters tonight, i want to take a look at what we're going to talk about and the report i've prepared to present to the american people. as a member of congress, i'm a member of the committee of homeland security. i'm the subcommittee chair of emergency communications preparedness and response. because of that i felt it was important to share to the american people the information and the observations of what i'm now calling to the people's congress. i'm here tonight to present to the united states congress and the american people my report, my observations and my recommendations regarding the deepwater horizon oil spill. it includes the responses that have been taken and the recovery that's needed for to us move forward. so let's start with what happened back on april 20 at 10:00 p.m.
tragedy struck in the gulf of mexico. just 42 miles from the population of the people in venice, louisiana, there was a fire. there was an explosion. and the deepwater horizon oil rig began to be engulfed in flames. after trying to quench the flames, people came from all over the country, even holland, attempt to be able to figure out how to put the fire out on this rig. after spending much time and much event, 115 crew members were rescued and evacuated. 11 crew members, unfortunately tragically died. those 11 men lost their lives. jason anderson,dale berken, donald clark, stephen curtiss, gordon jones, roy kemp, blair emanuel, dewey revette and adam
wise. these 11 gentlemen were men. they were men who were fathers, brothers, sons and uncles and on behalf of myself and the house of representatives and americans we express our prayers to their families and their friends and commit to study the situation and not to repeat it again in the future. so in order for us to do that we first have to understand what is the magnitude of this problem? throughout the evening on april 20 and in to the next day, gallant efforts were made, as i mentioned to still save, even into the second and -- mentioned, to still save the 11 missing men and to put out the fires. for men who were coming to put out this fire, they could see the fire on this rig for two hours prior to getting to the actual site. that's how large it was. some say the fire was as high as 200 feet into the air.
so two days later, after they made very many attempts to be able to put the fire out, the heat was just entirely too hot and the metal began to collapse and the platform and the rig collapsed. 5,000 feet to the floor of the ocean. as the fire began to subside on april 24, just two short days later, it was reported that oil was flowing onto the ocean at a rate of at least 5,000 barrels per day. the united states has over 63,000 federal onshore oil and gas wells. having leaks and spills is not something new to our country. but what is is the size and magnitude. since 1990 there have been a total of 5,601 major pipeline incidences reported. that represents over $4 billion in damage. previously reported the worst
spill was in 1989 by the exxon valdez in prince williams sound, alaska. the flow rate technical ground of the u.s. geological survey estimates that the exxon valdez spilled approximately 750,000 barrels of oil. now, let's put that in perspective. the oil spill from the deepwater horizon has continued for over 80 days, although it has passed at this point. and it is believed that the deepwater horizon will supersede the valdez by several times. how could that be? if the deepwater horizon is leaking at anywhere between 10,000, that's been reported, and as high as 60,000 barrels a day and you multiply that by 80 days, you're talking about a range of 800,000 to 4.8 million barrels of oil. now, the deepwater spill took place 42 miles from venice, louisiana, which has 572 miles
affected out of 7,721 miles. those are shoreline miles and so what that's saying is the impacted area is approximately 7.4%. in mississippi they have over 108 miles that are affected out of 3 at total tie -- 309 total miles which brings it to approximately 30%. alabama has over 67 miles of coastland affected out of 607 total tidal shoreline miles at approximately 11%. and florida has over 69 miles affected out of 5,095 total miles at approximately 1%. so when we consider the daniels that have happened so far -- damages that have happened so far with this spill, some of the damages that are caused are to the beaches that we will talk about tonight, to fish, to
birds, the environment, other wildlife, the ecosystem, tourism and the economy, marine life, livelihoods, jobs, lost productivity and, let's not forget, public health. in light of the loss of life, the unusual depth of drilling and the immediate disaster implications, responses from all levels were immediately activated. president obama and the administration, through working with the u.s. coast guard, is historically the primary responder to u.s. coastal waters. the u.s. coast guard responded to the b.p. oil spill within hours. the coast guard began immediately operating in an emergency search and rescue mission. leadership was established on april 21, less than one day later. on april 21, a day after the explosion, pursuant to the national oil and hazardous
substances, pollution contingency plan, rural admiral landry was named federal on scene coordinator. on april 22, less than two days later, after the explosion, the national response team led by secretary of homeland security janet napolitano was activated along with additional regional response teams. these regional response teams are formed for many reasons. the teams typically include a united states coast guard representative, someone from the environmental protection agency, the department of homeland security, the department of commerce, the department of interior and state and local representatives. the purpose of these regional response teams is to coordinate, to partner, to communicate and to respond. the regional response teams began developing plans, providing technical assistance, access to resources and
equipment from its member agencies as well as overseeing b.p.'s response. some workers, and i'd like to see the next slide, please, like jay harper from the department of homeland security have been working since day one which is now 91 days straight in response to the deepwater horizon spill. in this picture you see jay viewing the site and he's pointing out information to me of where the actual source is, where the burns are taking place and the whole aspect what have we could view from the plane. on april 23, an incident command system stood up and was in accordance with the national response framework and the n.c.p. the purpose of the incident command system is to provide a common method for developing and implementing tactical plans. to efficiently and effectively manage a multiagency response.
and certainly this was it. the i.c.s. organization for this response included incident command posts and unified commands at the local level as well as the unified command at the regional level. the next sfep was on april 29, just -- step was on april 29, just nine days from the explosion. secretary napolitano designated the oil spill as a spill of national significance. this designation enabled secretary napolitano to appoint then u.s. coast guard commander thadalen to serve as the national incident commander, the lead national coordinator in charge of federal efforts. on may 21, 2001, president obama issued an executive order -- 2010, president obama issued an executive order to respond to the spill. further, president obama simultaneously has made four trips to the gulf to oversee the
spill and to supervise the cleanup effort. on june 9, "the new york times" reported that rear admiral james a. watson, the on team coordinator of the unified command overseeing the response effort, wrote to british petroleum, giving the company three days to provide plans. among the requirements are that any new method, most importantly, that would contain the leak would be devised to reduce disruptions from a potential hurricane which we are now approaching that season. the letter came amid continuing questions about how much of the leaking oil was being captured by b.p.'s latest containment effort, what we've now known to be called the top hat. also there were questions of whether the company could be collecting more and what other processes could be used. finally, there were concerns about whether b.p. had failed to
provide enough surface equipment. so when i had an opportunity to go to the gulf and having read all of this, these were the things that i wanted to see. if you could go back to the first picture. when you look at the source site of the deepwater horizon spill, what you'll notice is there are multiple platforms, multiple vessels that are used to all coordinate in one to eliminate the gushing of oil that was coming into the gulf. and this was the scene that i saw just one week ago. so when the admiral directed his letter, the things he wanted to make sure that we were considering is incorporating the hurricanes because the gulf is very much of an area, as you can see, the waters are very calm here, but given very high winds and higher seas, these platforms and these vessels could easily be sub merged as well -- submerged as well.
when we talk about some of the things that have been done and when we look at the cleanup, 5.4 billion barrels were spilled into the gulf. it is potentially believed. 2.6 million barrels were either evaporated or degraded. 823,000 barrels have been siphoned and these are some of the various devices that helped to do this. and 262,000 barrels have been burned off, which is what you see at this flame. this is not the rig on fire, the rig had already collapsed into the ocean. this is being able to pull the oil and to be able to burn the excess area. 100,000 barrels have been skimmed. now, when we go to june 15, 2010, president obama used his first oval office speech to address the nation for 18 minutes and to talk about the oil spill. that was carried on prime time
television to many tv networks. president obama emphasized that we will fight this spill with everything we've got for as long as it takes. and when i participated in a hearing just a couple weeks ago, that was the question that the mayor asked us, will you be here for as long as it takes? president obama also said that he wanted to make sure that b.p. paid for the damages that had been caused. and he also stated that whatever was necessary to help the gulf coast and its people recover from this tragedy, we would do. on june 16, 2010, b.p. agreed to create an independent $20 billion fund to pay the claims arising from the oil spill. the company also said it would spend paying dividends to its shareholders for the rest of the year and would compensate workers for their lost wages. now, let's talk about the congressional actions and the things we have done in this house in relation to the
deepwater oil spill. in addition to the administration's response, mr. speaker, congress has taken significant actions since the oil spill to respond to this crisis. over the last 93 days, the u.s. congress and the senate have conducted over 24 washington, d.c., hearings. we've conducted two field hearings, 75 on site member of congress or senate visits. h.r. 5503, the spill, last month was passed by the house and it was passed in order to reform maritime liability laws. those laws were impacted -- impacted by death on high seas act, the jones act, which we've heard much discussion about, and limitation on liability act. this bill is intended to ensure that the families of those who were killed or injured in the b.p. spill and other such tragedies are justly compensated for their lorses -- losses.
on july 1, this house passed the 2010 supplemental appropriations bill which includes eight measures requested by the obama administration in response to this disaster. including in this bill, it had funding for agencies that are working in the gulf to monitor the water, the air quality, the seafood safety and worker health. the bill also extends the time that the secretary of the interior would have to review an offshore drilling application. current law only allows the secretary 30 days to review the process which is way too short of a time to complete a full review of increasingly complex drilling plans associated with deep watt -- deep-water drilling. then h.r. 5481 was passed by this house, to give subpoena power to the national commission on the b.p. deepwater horizon oil spill and offshore drilling
this is a bipartisan commission our president form. it's chaired by bob grant of florida and former e.p. administrator. it's focusing on how to reduce future spills and mitigate any impact. then we've gone to s. 3473, access to the trust fund and it impacts the liability trust fund. the purpose of this bill is to ensure that we have the tools necessary to respond to the b.p. oil spill. last month, congress passed s. 3473 to permit the coast guard to obtain one or more advances from the oil spill liability trust fund. to underwrite federal responses and activities related to the b.p. deep water horizon oil spill. under current law the coast guard can only withdraw up to $100 million from the fund to
finance emergency response efforts. after an accident and that money has run out that can become a problem. the trust fund was created by the oil pollution act of 1990 around is funded by an eight-cent fee paid by all of the oil companies on each barrel of oil this legislation has been signed by the president. finally, the american jobs and closing tax loopholes act that act was passed and the house enabled it to protect the coastal economy by ensuring that oil companies would pay to strengthen the sol ren -- solvency of the oil spill liability trust fund. instead of passing the buck on to the taxpayers. that will raise the fee of oil companies they'll pay per barrel and increase the current cap on individual claims against the fund to $5 billion and increase the $500 million
cap on natural resource damages assessment to $2.5 billion. currently the trust fund has a balance of roughly $1.6 billion. now let's talk about my observation. we've talked ability the tragedy that happened, we've talked about what the administration has done and we've talked about what congress has done in terms of legislation. so now let's talk about some of the things that i've seen. i've made two trips to the gulf. both trips were with the jurisdiction of the homeland security committee of government oversight and emergency preparedness and response. after viewing the news updates, i'll be honest. i anticipated seeing thousands and thousands of miles of oiled water. i expected to see every marsh covered in oil. i expected to see birds everywhere covered in oil. i expected to see sandy beaches
covered in oil. and i expected to see no fishermen allowed to fish and certainly no new orleans businesses. indeed, if we could see the next slide, please. it is true, over 500 miles of oil have gone on to the beaches in the gulf. -- have gone onto the beaches in the gulf. this shows the work done on the beaches. you can see the work area in the far right section. you can see the booms that have been laid out. you can even see the restroom for the workers to use as they clean the beaches. you can see the booms, the nets and even on this farther picture, you can see where the previous oil had gone across on the beaches. 3,615 birds have been rescued. 2,333 birds died. thousands of fishermen have
been without work. and 83,927 area of miles has been disallowed for fishing. the destruction has been immense and the final estimates are far from being in. however, many of the challenges involved in reporting and responding have been overcome in the last 40 days. that's why i wanted to speak today. because i've been watching the news on a regular basis, hearing every single night of the individual incidences that have occurred, but we've heard very little about what our government and our representatives and the people working every day, what they have been doing. next slide, please. typically what happens on the
day-to-day basis, the planes go out and look at their radar to see what the oil spill locations are. once they observe them from the air, they send boats out to then move forward and put the various booms out to do burning or skimming and then you also have some of the things that many of the elected officials in the local area had asked for, that was the dropping of the sandbags. you can see where this area, where the sandbags were put in to prevent the oil from coming into the marsh area. also if you look very closely here, you will see the booms set in order to prevent the oil from coming in to this marsh area. men and women are working around the clock. the administration has authorized and deployed 17,500 national guard troops, of which 1,580 have been activated. approximately 45,000 personnel are currently responding to protect the shoreline and
wildlife and cleanup of our vital coastline. while there has been delays in equipment supply, the coast guard and federal government have been diligent in working to get the equipment that we need. more than 6,800 vessels have responded on site, including skimmers, tugs, barges, and recovery vessels, all set to assist in the containment and the cleanup effort. in addition, hundreds of aircraft make the trip daily, as i said, remotely operated vehicles and remote offshore units to clean up the desperate oil that has hit our shores. currently, approximately 572 miles of the gulf coast shoreline has been affected directly by the oil spill. approximately 328 miles in louisiana, 108 miles in mississippi, 67 miles in alabama, and 69 miles in
florida. what many hardworking people have done is to set up 17 staging areas to protect many of our sensitive shoreline areas. this is an area where you can see actual workers, where they go out, they actually go into the marsh area, you can see the pattern of where the oil has come in, and where they are working to actually remove the oil. you also can see in this point some of the different, this is a boom they're using in this area. you can see where inside, in the marsh area, where there's a tremendous amount of oil that's been filled in, but on the inner part it's still green and we hope it will survive. next slide, please. approximately 83,927 square miles of gulf of mexico federal waters remain closed to fishing
in order to balance the economic and public health concerns. we hope that soon those areas would be opened once we can validate that in fact the fish that are living there that would in fact be fished would be safe for consumption, for people to eat. what was interesting to me is that when i was watching all the news about the oil spill, i just simply didn't understand, why didn't they put a boom around the entire source site? it seemed to me it wasn't that big and would have prevented the oil from going to all these other states we talked about. this is why. i had no idea. this is why i wanted to be here tonight so we could educate the american public because we're not seeing this on the news, of why just having more booms is not fixing the problem. when you look at the boom here, you can see that just by a simple small wave of not even one foot actually goes over and covers the boom area.
so that's why whether you have six miles of boom or 10 miles of boom, it can only cover so much. now, here you have workers who are actually collecting the boom that has collected some of the oil. we can see how it has worked. but unfortunately, it takes a lot of booms and it takes completely replacing it. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady will suspend for a moment. the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker a message from the senate. the secretary: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: madam secretary. the secretary: i have been directed by the senate to inform the house that the senate concurs in the house amendment to the senate amendment with an amendment to h.r. 2213, cited as the unemployment compensation extension act of 2010, in which the concurrence of the house is requested. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california may proceed. ms. richardson: as we were talking about with the boom and the effects and how that has
worked, more than 3.2 million feet of containment boom and 6.6 million feet of sorbent boom have been placed to contain the spill. 8,300 felt of boom remains, as they watch they can move boom to that section. one thing i heard a lot about was called the whale. they said it's large, it's tie what these and will be able to pick up all this oil. this is a picture of the whale, as they call it. as you can see here, here is some of the oil that the whale is picking up. now this whale, what they call it, is 1,150 feet long. quite an amazing sight. but it's only one indication of the 20-plus international partners that we have had that the administration has been able to leverage with assets and skills from numerous
foreign countries and international organizations as a part of this historic hull hands on deck response. some of those countries are belgium, canada, china, france, germany, ireland, japan, kenya, mexico, netherlands, norway, qatar, russia, spain, sans nia, the united kingdom, the united nations international and then some. so let's talk more about some of the particular sites you're seeing, you're seeing the aerial view. but we had an opportunity to go to some parishes and see some of the impacted areas, in addition to the marsh area. one of the places we went to was st. tammany parish. i visited this area and they already had an operating emergency operations center. there i meat commander dan precourt.
he's the parish liaison officer for the parish. his position is important because what we learned from hurricane katrina, one of those most important lessons, was there was not enough communication between local officials and the public during a disaster. but at the st. tammany parish emergency operations center, there's a coast guard liaison, commander precourt and a representative of b.p. and many other people working there, working together to talk about how the agencies can solve this problem. the public liaisons are meeting with someone face to face so they can respond to their problems or can direct them to someone who can. support is coming from california, alaska, massachusetts, and many other states. what i found was interesting that we don't hear so much about was this whole -- with this whole spill situation is these people are working seven days a week, often coming in at 6:00 a.m., leaving anywhere between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m.,
and many of them actually worked on father's day. i was there on sunday evening at about 8:00 and there were still over 10 people there working. tammany parish is not one of the cents of the oil spill. in fact, i heard it was -- it was particularly alarming to me, i have friends and know people from louisiana, when i heard oil was found at lake pontchartrain, i thought,, no. most people enjoy the area of lake pontchartrain. what wasn't told and why we wanted to talk about this tonight was that actually, oil was discovered at the initial pass, which is called the rigolettes pass. at this time, the lake is fishable. they are fishing in lake pontchartrain and no oil has been found west of the i-10 bridge. thousands of men and women depend on fishing for their
livelihood and as was said in one of the local show this is morning, we have to make sure that people know people are still fishing, people are still living, and people are still vacationing on the coast. the coast guard is trying every feasible option available to stop this spill. before i visited and when i looked at some of the things that have been said, next slide, please. one of the things we heard people talk about is the impacts on wildlife. and the environment. and i had an opportunity to go to the wildlife fisheries with representatives both from the state of louisiana and the united states and we got a chance to see where they had taken many of the birds where they needed to be cleend and get extra help. this is a very dead -- cleaned and to get extra help. this is a very dedicated
veterinarian who had worked many long hours to help aid and assist the birds. this is the team that actually put up the system, pretty much out of wire and two-by-fours. it was a very archaic system, but it was working to be able to help with the birds. and then here you see me there talking to -- we're talking about the pelicans that have been cleaned and how they're recovering and how soon we expect them to return them to the wild. next slide, please. one of the beauties of the gulf of mexico is the marshes, the wildlife, all of the incredible things you see. this is one of the dedicated gentleman i mentioned who works for u.s. fish and wildlife, jack, and he's on the water boat and this is what they do. they survey the marsh area to see if oil has gone into that section so they know where to put the boom or where to make
replacements. here you see coast guard, the commander of this particular area, it was the protected area, the marsh section, and this is commander claudia gelsar and she has been working really hard to keep the oil out and to minimize the damage to this much protected area. next slide, please. it's somewhat hard to imagine when you think of the oil coming in, how would you possibly stop it, what i would kind of say, coral it, to be safely burned and evap ate -- evaporated. this is where you see an area where the boom has been laid, they went out and found there was an area where oil existed, they brought it into the section and then this is how they're able to safely set it afire. this is another example of what i wanted to show of how you have
the boom area protecting the local coast section and very low down here you can see where some of the oil had initially come and that's why they had the boom area protecting this session, -- section, to keep the oil out. now, to talk about an incredible area in terms of marshland, over 115,000 miles, excuse me, 115,000 acres of marshlands, but it's also particularly important about this is this is a preserved area as well. unfortunately it was right in the eye of the storm of the deepwater horizon. and for the oil that came out, this was the first -- one of the spots that it came to. now, what we're showing you here is that first -- these are initial areas of the marsh area and what i want the people to see is that not all of the marsh area of the 115,000 acres are filled with oil. and that is something that i
didn't particularly understand as i was watching some of the news results. you look at us going out to the boat area, you see some of the low areas where some of the oil has come. here you see a little bit higher and then this area you see where it was very severely -- where oil came in and impacted the marsh area. next slide, please. this area is characterized by river channels with attendant channel banks and manmade canals which are interspersed with intermediate fresh marshes. hurricane damage have contributed to a major part of the vegetation and the marsh not being as strong as it has been in the past. so, this area here, you see where -- which i found was interesting, i rode on a helicopter for about 45 minutes and then on a boat for about 0 minutes to be able to final -- 30 minutes to be able to finally
get to the spot where the worst amount of the oil impacting the marshes had taken place. so the message of what i want to say tonight is, yes, a horrible thing has happened. and, yes, many areas that we love and have gone for generations have been cherished, but the important thing to remember is that it is not in a position that we cannot fix it with the work and the commitment to do so. and so what you see here is i'm reaching in and touching some of the oil that has accumulated here in this section and then on this portion here, if you could help me, this is the actual entrance into one of the marsh canals and you can see literally where the oil just kind of travels inside, came in and basically accumulated in this section here of what you see. next slide, please. so, when you look at these marsh
areas and what we can do to fix it and some of the complaints that were made was why we didn't have enough booms, how come we couldn't get the boom out there quick enough, this is what is very important for people to see. here you can see the boom is normally a yellow color, this is where oil has come over and you can see it only takes about half of a foot of a wave or a foot of a wave to be able to go in. here is where they're replacing it and putting new ones out and trying to keep it out and then of course using the booms farther out in the area. next slide, please. thank you. this i think was important to show that as the booms are collecting oil they become filled with it and then you have to go back out and remove them and place more in their place. so here you can see a tremendous amount of oil that had
accumulated, it has been absorbed in these booms and they'll be going out to these areas to place new once and one of the things that's also -- ones and one of the things that's important to understand, why the booms alone aren't the answer, the waves begin to move them into the marsh areas so it moves them out from protecting the outer area. that's why the booms are not a permanent solution to this problem. next slide, please. as i prepared this report, what i call the people's congress, i would be wrong not to acknowledge the efforts of secretary napolitano and chairman thompson for providing the access, demonstrating transparency and showing a willingness to consider all options on the table for the betterment of america and the american people. in order to improve even further, here are some of the lessons that i learned from some of the things that i've shown you tonight. elected officials in the local area talked about the fact that
we've had past exercises, we've had national exercises in the gulf regions and so you would ask the question of why were some of the problems that we experienced? some of the things that they talked about were still not being connected on the daily calls until a couple weeks into the situation. the impact of the local economy, when many of the areas really were not having an extensive amount of oil, you also had people sounding the alarm saying that a concern of how are we going to pay for all of the recovery that was going to be required? you had others that said we weren't moving fast enough. and we needed to do more. still others still said the team should be changed. but i want to talk about another area that was also very clearly -- became clear to me of a lesson learned. one of the recommendations that i've made when we had our hearing was to say to the coast guard and the department of homeland security that we need to also have our own message which is why i'm here tonight.
we need to make sure that we're showing the american people, as they also have an opportunity to watch, that, yes, many marsh areas have been damaged, yes, beaches have had oil come upon them, but, yes, there are many other areas where they can still come and they can enjoy and where we hope that our marshes will survive. when you look at some of the reports and you look at the current state of the situation, things even in the hearing they have acknowledged have gotten better. a lot of that has been to now being included in those calls, the transparency of what's been happening and the daily updates from admiral allen, one of the key things they talked about was having a message that was understandable and in lehman's terms. so that's why i came here tonight. because what the public had been asking for and what some of the elected officials have been asking for is just, show us what you're seeing and what we're
doing and just -- in just regular terms. something very simple but basically con vase the message of what has happened -- conveys the message what have has happened. when you also look at some of the improvements what have we learned and with being the subcommittee chair of emergency communications, preparedness and response, it's very important to look at these things. of how soon was the 1-800 number up? how many claims have been filled? when you look at where did the boom come from? how long did it take it to get there? how much did we already have? how many skimmers do we have? how many do we still need? these are the things that we have now learned and we've learned in subsequent -- in previous spills as well that we need to do to be prepared for a spill, unfortunately, of this size. now, when we talk about lehman's terms, one of the key things that i think is important to acknowledge is the gulf of mexico. this is a picture of a very sensitive area, you can see that
the marsh is not very deep, but it's pretty much covered all the way around with booms. it's green, the water is blue, but we are fighting on a daily basis to keep it that way. and we have 45,000 personnel who are working to fix the problem. so when we talk about the clear lessons on some of the other things that i think that should be considered, is one, we need to make sure that as we consider how we respond to a spill that we're prepared to make the adjustments in a hurricane season as well. i showed you pictures of the bird estuary and where they were cleaning up the birds. they're actually in the process of moving from that area because it's not stable enough, so if in fact a hurricane were to come, we would have -- we would lose many birdsals with from that experience. so we have to be include -- birds as well from that experience. so we have to be including different agencies in that emergency process and ensure that those places are set up throughout the region so that
they're ready if something in this -- like this crisis does in fact occur. another thing that we've also -- we also have learned is that when we talk about communication, the national oceanic and atmospheric administration is predicting an active to extremely active hurricane season for 2010. with a chance of 70% chance for 14 to 23 named storms. so the clock is ticking and that's why people are working so hard to be ready. another key point that is very important to consider has to do with legislation. now, i mentioned earlier some of the legislation that the house has already passed. but there are other suggestions that should be considered as well. one of the things that we found in terms of response and who's in charge is that when you looked at the marsh area, the louisiana wildlife individuals felt that if you had oil in the marsh, that you should leave it
there and allow it to eventually work its way out. the united states, the federal level said, it's better to go in and cut it open, to flush some water, to go through to remove the oil and to get it out from just sitting there. so they were having to make those decisions. and i would venture to say that we should actually have those kinds of plans in advance. we should know that for certain parts of our country we have marsh areas and that if in the event there are oil spills, and i already mentioned to you there have been 6,000 in our period of time here in the united states, that we should already have an adopted policy that we agree to, how we get the marsh out, how do we get the oil of the of the marsh? that was one of the things that i asked at the hearing that we had. another important thing to consider with legislation is to make sure that it would have proper mitigation and that's what i'm talking about with the marsh.
we should already determine what the potential costs are, we shouldn't be waiting until something unfortunately happens and then we're trying to guestmate. we should also make sure that mitigation includes natural resource restoration. when you look at mitigation, it's loss of life, loss of limb, loss of property. but it's also, we have grown to know, it's a loss of our natural ecosystem as well. so when we consider funding that's available for mitigations, we need to make sure enough is there for that restoration as well. we also need to make sure that we have adequate information that's prepared independently, not of a particular independent private source that will actually provide us the information and say, -- say what will be required to restore our ecosystem and its natural level. sensitive natural resource areas can be identified early and they can be done so to adequately protect them from an oil spill
and also help with associated cleanup operations. the damage impact assessment should be thorough and it should be accurate. and it doesn't have to be late. habitat restoration is the preferred method to mitigate for impacts of natural resources from an oil spill and associated cleanup activities. a detailed mitigation plan should be prepared. these are the things i saw and learned that i plan on bringing forward with my colleagues to consider on this very floor. when you talk about adequate funding for restoration activities, it should be provided based upon the actual cost and not what we think it might be. we should have to have timelines. there should be strict penalties. feasible objectives. there should be separate oversight from the initiators and the implementers and certainly, there should be periodic updates. so when you look at the oil and
fuel spell readiness act, another piece of legislation that i think this house should consider is, we shouldn't have to, when we have a spill, scramble for a couple of weeks to try to get enough boom and try to get enough skimmers and try to get enough of everything to deal with an incredible disaster. these are things based upon the depth and amount of oil being pulled if the ocean floor that we should be able to consider what will be needed if in the event a disaster were to occur. a readiness act would be able to have lessons learned from this deepwater horizon oil spill. it should include an objective, academic minds and expertise. it should include standards and require all emergency planning. and it should also include, as i've said, environment and wildlife as well. now, as we talk about what i call the people's congress, this house is one where we have
an opportunity to represent approximately 650,000 americans and i happen to be fortunate enough to be one of those people. so as i rise today and talk about the special order, one of the things you find quickly, being a member of congress, is that it's your area that you represent but you also represent -- you're a united states house of representatives -- which means you're not only looking for your district but for other districts as well. when this incident happened and it fell within the committee of jurisdiction within my area, i felt, really, it was a responsibility. we have oil wells and pipelines in my area as well. what happened in louisiana could happen in any coastline in this country. so it behooves us to be prepared and to learn our lesson. as i've explained tonight, we
can start looking forward in a constructive way. we can work together with federal, state, and local elected officials and agencies and private partners on solving these problems. millions of people depend upon the gulf for their livelihood, for family history and it is home to valuable animal and -- animals as part of their family , plants, and environments. i'm optimistic and while this is certainly one of the biggest challenge this is nation has ever faced, one thing we know for sure about the united states is that we're always ready to rebound we don't see things as insurmountable, and we do believe that we can then -- they can then be made right. the last slide i'm showing you tonight is not the marsh area before the oil spill. in fact, it's after. what you see in this marsh area is that it is in its full and beautiful state.
it's perfectly green. you see the canals that are there supporting it. as we continue to work to respond to this oil spill that we put in the recovery in play we can ensure that the rest of the 115,000 acres can look again like this particular section does as well. with that, mr. speaker, i thank you for the opportunity to be able to share my thoughts, kind of a testimony of what i saw in the gulf, painting a picture for the american people of what's really happening and what so many incredible people are doing to really restore and to fix something that was originally a disaster that i think can come back to look like this particular slide does. with that, i'm appreciative for all of the efforts, as i said, of chairman thompson on our
committee, secretary napolitano, of her working with all the members of congress and the senate to visit the gulf and we look forward to continuing to work to do our lessons learned and put better systems in place so we won't repeat a deep horizon oil spill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. does the gentlewoman have a motion. ms. richardson: i move that the house do now adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is agreed to. accordingly the hous
thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you. thank you. everybody, please have a seat. have a seat. good morning, everyone. >> good morning. >> we are gathered in the heart of our nation's capitol, surrounded by memorials to leaders and citizens who served our nation in its earliest days and its days of greatest triumph. today is such a time for america. over the past two years we have faced the worst recession since the great depression. eight million people lost their jobs. tens of millions saw the value of their homes and retirement savings plummet. countless businesses have been unable to get the loans they need and many have been forced
to shut their doors. and although the economy is growing again, too many people are still feeling the pain of the downturn. now, while a number of factors led to such a severe recession, the primary cause was a breakdown in our financial system. it was a crisis born of a failure of responsibility from certain corners of wall street to the halls and power of washington. for years our financial sector was governed by antiquated and poorly enforced rules that allowed some to game the system and take risks that endangered the entire economy. unscrupulous lenders locked consumers into complex loans with hidden costs. firms like a.i.g. placed massive risky bets with borrowed money.
and while the rules left abuse and excess unchecked, they also left taxpayers on the hook if a big bank or financial institution ever failed. now, even before the crisis hit i went to ball et -- wall street and i called for commonsense reforms to protect consumers and our economy as a whole. and soon after taking office i proposed a set of reforms to empower consumers and investors to bring the shadowy deals that caused this crisis into the light of day. and to put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all. [applause] today thanks to a lot of people in this room those reforms will become the law of the land.
>> barney and chris have worked day and night to bring about this reform. and i am profoundly grateful to them. i would be remiss if i didn't also express my appreciation to senator harry reid and speaker nancy pelosi. for their leadership. it wouldn't have happened without them. [applause] >> you know, passing this bill was no easy task. to get there we had to overcome the furious lobbying of an array of powerful interest groups. and a partisan minority determined to block change.
so the members who are here today, both on the stage and on in the audience, they have done a great service in devoting so much time and expertise to this effort. to looking out for the public interests and not the special interests. and -- [applause] and i also want to thank the three republican senators who put partisanship aside and voted for reform. we're grateful to them. [applause] and the republican house members, good to see you, joe.
now, let's put this in perspective. the fact is, the financial industry is central to our nation's ability to grow, to prosper, to compete and to innovate. there are a lot of banks that understand and fulfill this vital role. and there are a whole lot of bankers out there who want to do right and do right by their customers. this reform will help foster innovation, not hamper it. it is designed to make sure that everybody follows the same set of rules so that firms compete on price and quality, not on tricks and not on tracks. it demands accountability and responsibility from everyone. it provides certainty to everybody, from bankers to farmers to