(House of Representatives - July 20, 2011)

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[Page H5243]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                           RESTORING AMERICA

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Louisiana (Mr. Boustany) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BOUSTANY. Mr. Speaker, yesterday we had a very vigorous debate 
about the unsustainable debt that our country is facing, and we passed 
a bill, the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill. That bill is really the only 
one that's been on the table, House or Senate, so far.
  So we asked in the Senate, where's their proposal? We asked the White 
House, give us a proposal that the Congressional Budget Office can 
actually give us a score on, on how we're going to do this. We need 
legislative language to move forward on these things. We can't just 
base things on speeches, as has been said yesterday.
  Mr. Speaker, I believe this country is at a very pivotal point in its 
history. There's no question about it. We're at a pivotal point. We can 
decide, is the United States going to lead in the 21st century as it 
did in the 20th century and in the 19th century, or will we be 
swallowed in a sea of red ink, high unemployment and very sluggish 
growth? That is the basic fundamental problem we're faced with today.
  It's within our power in Congress to make policy decisions that will 
change this equation for the good or the bad for the American people. 
We have decisions to make, tough decisions. And it's time. It's time to 
make those decisions.

                              {time}  1020

  Now yesterday we debated the unsustainable debt problem that this 
country is facing, a situation that is going to swallow up savings for 
every single American, currently, $46,000 for every man, woman, and 
child in this country; and it's rising. And that doesn't count the 
unfunded liabilities.
  So the debt is clearly a problem, and we have to set the country on a 
sustainable path with a credible plan to move us forward. But there's 
another side to the problem that's not being talked about enough, and 
it's the fact that we are not growing this economy. We are not growing 
private sector jobs. The previous speaker, my friend from Connecticut, 
talked about the plight of so many who are without jobs. We have to 
grow this economy if we're going to create jobs, and that means having 
a well-thought-out energy strategy for the United States. It means 
fundamental tax reform to put us on a very competitive footing, whether 
it's a small business or a large U.S. company, and it also means a very 
aggressive trade strategy for the United States.
  Now I want to talk about trade for a minute because it really does 
not get enough discussion here in this body. I got some very 
encouraging news just last week from the World Trade Center of New 
Orleans, in my home State. It released some quarterly trade figures. In 
the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, exports from Louisiana 
manufacturers and farmers grew by almost 50 percent compared to the 
previous period last year. This is incredible news because Louisiana is 
rapidly transforming its economy into a global trading economy that 
helps our farmers, helps our manufacturers. We sell to the world. We 
create private sector jobs that pay better than the average jobs around 
the United States. One out of five jobs in Louisiana is related to 
international trade where we export. This is critical. If we're going 
to grow this country and grow private sector jobs, we need a trade 
strategy in place to do this, to help it, to open markets overseas for 
our farmers, our manufacturers, our small businesses.
  We're seeing rapid growth in Asia and South America right now, all 
based on trade. Hundreds of trade agreements have been basically voted 
upon in these countries and implemented. Regional trade agreements. 
Here in the United States, it's been 4 years, and no activity. We have 
three pending agreements right now: Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. 
These will basically open markets in countries that are already having 
pretty much unfettered access into our market. These will create, by 
the President's own estimate, 250,000 jobs in this country. Those are 
direct jobs in the short term. That doesn't even speak to the number of 
jobs that will be created going forward. It is critically important 
that we move forward on this. There will be $13 billion in exports from 
these three agreements alone, exports. These are American companies, 
American farmers selling their goods overseas. This will stimulate 
growth in this economy and job creation. This is why we need to move 
forward on it.
  But there are other important aspects to this. These three agreements 
were negotiated in good faith. And so just like the full faith and 
credit of the United States is on the line with regard to dealing with 
our debt problem, our credibility internationally is on the line as to 
whether we're going to be a leader in this world or we're just going to 
sit back and shrink and see high unemployment and sluggish job growth 
and lost opportunities for our children and grandchildren. That's 
what's at stake with this.
  These three trade agreements need to be done now. The President could 
easily send these to Congress, and we can vote on them. That's what we 
need to do. That's a step forward to restore American competitiveness, 
to restore American credibility, and to restore American confidence. 
Come on, Mr. President, lead.