(House of Representatives - October 13, 2011)

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[Pages H6906-H6912]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              {time}  2000
                        THE PROGRESSIVE MESSAGE

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gowdy). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Minnesota (Mr. Ellison) 
is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. ELLISON. Mr. Speaker, thank you very much.
  I'm Congressman Keith Ellison. We're claiming this hour on behalf of 
the Progressive Caucus, which tonight is going to feature a number of 
critical issues, all focusing on the importance of the rights of women 
and the assault they have been under in this Congress.
  To lead off our hour and to get started, I first want to introduce a 
good colleague from the great State of California--Oakland, California, 
who's going to lead off our hour.
  Congresswoman Barbara Lee has been a champion of the rights of all 
people. She has been a champion for peace and justice around the world. 
And she has been an unswerving champion for civil and human rights not 
only for women, but for all people around the world.
  So let me first recognize, on behalf of this Special Order hour, 
Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
  Congresswoman Lee, I yield the floor to you.
  Ms. LEE of California. Thank you very much. I want to thank our chair 
of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for yielding and for your 
amazing leadership on so many tough issues that we're dealing with.
  Tonight we're joining with the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, of 
which I'm also a member. And so I'm very pleased to be down here with 
my colleagues to discuss this critical issue, a very sad day, quite 
frankly, for women in this country, and especially for poor women, for 
African American women, for women of color.
  This bill which was passed today is really just the newest attack in 
what I have been calling from day one the Republican ``war on women.'' 
Today, instead of focusing on ways to find jobs for Americans, the 
Republicans are focusing on eliminating family planning programs, 
undercutting women's right to choose, and returning our country, 
unfortunately, to the days of back-alley abortions, which I remember 
very well.
  H.R. 358, the Protect Life Act--can you believe that, ``Protect Life 
Act''--forces coverage for women to be dropped from State exchanges, 
which will cut off millions of women from affordable, comprehensive 
health care. In fact, this bill makes it virtually impossible for any 
health care plan to offer abortion coverage and allows hospitals to 
refuse to provide lifesaving care to a woman who needs an abortion to 
protect her own life. This is unprecedented, and it should have been 
rejected on this floor.
  This legislation really though is part of a coordinated, nationwide 
war on women. Just last week, the Republican-controlled House Foreign 
Affairs Committee voted to defund the United Nations Population Fund, 
an organization that supports lifesaving activities for women and 
families in post-conflict and disaster situations. And before that, the 
very same committee voted

[[Page H6907]]

to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, which prevents health care providers 
from even discussing or offering comprehensive health services to women 
and girls. This affects women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa who bear 
the brunt of the global AIDS pandemic. And of course, as usual, the 
Republicans have targeted Planned Parenthood, putting increased 
requirements on how this nonprofit, which provides affordable health 
care to low-income women, black women, women of color, Latino women, 
Asian-Pacific American women--if Planned Parenthood wants to receive 
Federal funding, they have to stop, mind you, providing women 
reproductive health choices, which really is only a tiny percentage of 
what Planned Parenthood offers to women.
  Sadly, it does not end there. It's nothing less than shocking that 
after holding the fiscal year 2011 budget hostage over their 
controversial policy proposals, the anti-choice leaders in the House 
seem eager to pick up some of the very same fights once again this 
  The Republican appropriations bill continued this attack on women's 
reproductive health by eliminating title X, the Nation's family 
planning program, defunding Planned Parenthood, cutting funding for 
science-based teenage pregnancy prevention initiatives--prevention, 
mind you--and redirecting those funds into failed abstinence-only 
programs. And the list goes on.
  So let's just return to the battle, though, that took place today. In 
putting forward this very divisive bill, Republicans made the false 
claim that the Affordable Care Act needs to be amended to ensure that 
United States taxpayer dollars are not used to fund abortions. The fact 
of the matter is that it's very disingenuous, and it's just wrong. And 
it's really amazing that that argument could even be put out there 
because the fact is the Hyde amendment has been in effect for decades, 
since 1976, and the Affordable Care Act continues the Hyde amendment 
policy, despite my personal view that it should be overturned.

  The Republicans continue to invent new ways to try and erode and deny 
women their constitutionally guaranteed rights purely on religious 
beliefs and on ideology. This is a democracy; this is not a theocracy. 
The religious views of some--and I am a woman of faith, but I have to 
tell you, the religious views, the personal religious views of some 
should not dictate public policy for all.
  I'm also aware of the fact that sometimes we as a Nation really don't 
give young women and girls the right tools to prevent unintended 
pregnancies in the first place. But the fact of the matter is this 
Republican war on women and this bill will put more lives at risk, 
isolate us from women who have no money, who are poor--especially women 
of color, who have become really central targets of these efforts. 
Evidence of this is seen all over the country, and very recently in the 
form of very offensive billboards that denigrated African American 
women in my own district in Oakland, California--which we fought 
against and which were quickly taken down. Now, by using a combination 
or at least trying to use a combination of law and guilt, these efforts 
undermine really the basic health care rights of women, African 
American women, low-income women, women of color.
  As SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective states, 
``Black women make decisions every day about whether to parent or not, 
not just whether to give birth. Those who think they should dictate our 
choices won't be there when the child is born to help us fight for 
better education, increase childcare, keep our kids out of jail, send 
our children to college, or get affordable health care.''
  This war on women must stop. We cannot and we must not allow the 
Republicans to turn back the clock on women, on choice, and on our 
access to health care. So I urge my colleagues to fight this war, fight 
against these unnecessary and these harmful initiatives that keep 
coming forward that continue to do damage to women and that continue to 
try to erode our basic health care and basic human rights. We need to 
create jobs rather than continue to deny health care to women.
  Thank you, Mr. Ellison, our cochair of the Progressive Caucus, for 
your leadership. Once again, I want to thank you for your leadership on 
our jobs initiative, on each and every effort that the Congressional 
Black Caucus has mounted. And thank you for joining with the 
Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus in our efforts to protect women and 
protect our basic rights.
  Mr. ELLISON. Let me thank the gentlelady from California, Barbara 
Lee, a fearless, unrelenting struggler for the rights of all people.
  Tonight we're here with the Progressive Caucus. We're talking about 
the harm that H.R. 358 would do to women's rights. It would hurt the 
rights of women in three important ways. It would deprive women of 
comprehensive health insurance coverage, eliminate emergency lifesaving 
protections, and undermine health care benefits in the Affordable Care 
Act. For the first time, private health care insurance coverage for 
women will be restricted.
  And so to carry the discussion further, and from a very important 
perspective, my good friend from New York--also a tireless fighter for 
the rights of all people, a leader in the area of choice and women's 
rights--let me yield the floor to Carolyn Maloney.
  Mrs. MALONEY. Thank you, Congressman Ellison, who is the chair of the 
Progressive Caucus. Thank you for your leadership on this and in so 
many other areas. And thank you for having this Special Order on this 
disturbing vote that took place today in the Congress.
  There is no question and there can be no debating the fact that the 
bill that the Republicans put forward endangers women's health, puts 
their lives at risk, and intrudes on their constitutionally protected 
  The bill extends the reach of government more cynically and in a very 
profoundly disturbing way. And that is why President Obama put out a 
veto threat on Wednesday that he would veto any bill that would 
restrict insurers from paying for abortions, saying, in the President's 
words, ``it goes too far.'' And I'd like to quote from the President's 
statement on this.
  ``Longstanding Federal policy prohibits Federal funds from being used 
for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of 
the woman would be endangered.''

                              {time}  2010

  The Affordable Care Act preserved this prohibition and included 
policies to ensure that Federal funding is segregated from any private 
dollars used to fund abortions for which Federal funding is prohibited. 
So that's very, very clear, and I don't understand why the Republicans 
forced a vote on this, like the other anti-women, anti-choice, anti-
respect of a woman's right to choose and her judgment have failed so 
far in the Senate.
  So I feel that instead of looking at creating jobs, which is the 
priority, and the Republican majority has consistently said that jobs 
and job creation is their priority, but then they spend their time on 
debating a bill that even their own Members admit the President will 
veto and it is going nowhere in the Senate. So instead of creating 
jobs, they remain focused, Mr. Ellison, on creating obstacles for women 
to access safe, legal, and badly needed health care.
  This bill, H.R. 358, is an attack on women's access to reproductive 
health services and our fundamental right to lifesaving medical care. 
It is stunning in its scope, appalling in its indifference, and 
outrageous in its arrogance.
  Americans want Congress to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, 
and find bipartisan consensus. So it's time to end this attack on women 
and get to work on our top priority, or what should be our top 
priority, creating jobs.
  This bill is just another attempt to keep women down and back and not 
to protect their constitutional rights and access to the health care 
that they feel they deserve.
  I thank the gentleman for organizing this and for yielding to me.
  Mr. ELLISON. Congresswoman Maloney, I wonder if you would yield for a 
  Mrs. MALONEY. Absolutely.
  Mr. ELLISON. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 
wrote, in order for women to receive the best health care and disease 
prevention, they must have access to all medically appropriate, legal 
medical procedures, regardless of the ability to pay. The American 
College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians opposes

[[Page H6908]]

legislative proposals to limit women's access to any needed medical 
care. These proposals can jeopardize the health and safety of our 
patients and put government between a physician and a patient.
  My question to you is: This bill, H.R. 358, the very deceptively 
titled Protect Life Act, does this bill have scientific and medical 
backing behind it as the opposition to this bill has? In other words, 
do they have trained medical professionals operating on the basis of 
science supporting their position?
  I yield to the gentlelady.
  Mrs. MALONEY. No, they do not. In fact, the scientists and the 
medical professions all support access to all medically appropriate 
legal medical procedures. There are some times when the fetus is not--
could not live or has died and is in jeopardy of causing, literally, 
the destruction of organs or even death of the woman. So this is, I 
would say, a life-taking bill from the health and welfare. And this 
bill also allows hospitals to deny lifesaving care. This is a big 
change in our values and our procedures in this country.
  And I want to point out very importantly, Mr. Chairman, that at the 
same time they are restricting reproductive choices, Republicans are 
limiting access to family planning and primary care by their efforts to 
defund Planned Parenthood, which is a primary care provider to most 
women for their basic health in this country. And these actions I would 
label just plain too extreme.
  Mr. ELLISON. The gentlelady has been very eloquent about the assault 
on women's health. If you don't mind, given that you are a member of 
the Joint Economic Committee, which is a bicameral committee, 
bipartisan committee, I think, in the Congress, I wonder if you don't 
mind talking with me just a little while about the assault on women's 
economic prospects.
  In your opinion, Congresswoman Maloney, how will assaults and cuts to 
Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security impact women, given that 
women statistically live longer than men and have a greater 
representation for use of those important programs? Are we seeing not 
just the health but also the economic viability of women under threat, 
as well as seeing important programs that women rely on 
disproportionately cut into?
  I yield to the gentlelady.
  Mrs. MALONEY. It is true that women disproportionately rely on 
government programs and, regrettably, women are the largest segment, 
older women are the largest segment of people living in poverty. So the 
discrimination that has existed in pay, there is still, for over 30 
years, an unexplained gap between men and women, the pay gap, well over 
20 percent; and this then translates into your Social Security--less 
Social Security, less pension--and the need for Social Security, 
Medicaid, and Medicare to help women.
  And also, a lot of women that are around the age of 55, when their 
spouses die and they've been stay-at-home-mothers and wives, they lose 
the coverage that their husbands have, and there is a gap that's not 
there until they reach Medicare age of 65. So they rely 
disproportionately on these safety net programs.
  So any cuts--and I hear from my constituents, I know that you do, 
too, that say: I can't absorb another cut to my Medicare; I can't 
absorb a cut to my Social Security. And I believe that's one reason why 
Democrats have fought so hard to keep that safety net in place for 
working men and women in our country.
  Mr. ELLISON. I appreciate the gentlelady shedding some light on this 
issue because the fact is that today we were looking at a bill that 
would restrict women's health care access.
  But you know that we have been trying to fend off assaults on the 
viability of women's economic situation. We still know that women earn 
about 80 cents for every dollar men make. This is unexplained, or it is 
explained. It's explained by gender discrimination.
  And I think it's important for even men to take account of this 
important fact, that if your wife or partner is being discriminated 
against in the workplace because she's a woman, then your total family 
income is being hurt because of sex discrimination in the workplace. 
It's important that men and women come together to fight these attacks 
on women's rights because, even though the direct victims of this kind 
of discrimination are women, this invariably hurts the entire family, 
and so this is everybody's business to stand up for the rights of all 
  I tell you, one of the things that really concerns me is this gap in 
pay between men and women. The median weekly--women earn about 81.2 
percent of what men earn. In addition to that, they have assaults on 
their access to health care. When you add these things up, what does 
this mean in terms of the majority's commitment to women's rights? What 
does it all add up to?
  I wonder if the gentlelady might offer her views on this subject.
  I yield to the gentlelady.
  Mrs. MALONEY. I think all of those efforts, whether it's the Pitts 
bill that passed today, I think it's a very dangerous bill that 
threatens women's ability to even purchase private health insurance 
that includes abortion coverage with their own money, and codifies 
broad and troubling conscience provisions. And it's another attempt to 
unravel the health care law while at the same time expanding anti-
choice laws that will harm women's health.

                              {time}  2020

  That's an anti-woman agenda that just passed this great body. And 
when you talk about the assaults on programs that women 
disproportionately rely on, it is another step that will keep women 
down and back. And I'm proud of the Democrats for standing up for 
women, children, and families. You rightfully pointed out that when you 
discriminate against a woman, you discriminate against her husband and 
her children. And you and I know that it takes two working parents 
sometimes two jobs by each parent to pay the bills and keep the food on 
the table. So these are very serious concerns and ways that we need to 
fight back and stand up for the women of America.
  Mr. ELLISON. Now, Congresswoman Maloney, I know you might have to 
run, but I appreciate your standing here with me tonight because I 
think that the people of America, Mr. Speaker, need to hear from a 
person like yourself, Congresswoman Maloney, who has been laboring in 
the vineyards of economic and civil rights, both, for a few years now. 
You know what you're talking about, you've been doing this work, you've 
served the community for many years, and I just want to see if I can 
get your views on another issue, and that is that one of the things 
that Republicans have been doing is having this program to cut, cut, 
cut government services, which, of course, has led to reductions in 
public employees.
  So, for example, while the private sector has added about 1.7 million 
jobs over the last 12 months--of course, during the Bush administration 
we were losing jobs--the public sector has lost about 400,000 jobs. 
When you consider the fact that women are disproportionately likely to 
work for the public sector, their employment decline has been 
particularly hit when public sector employees get laid off.
  So I want to keep connecting the dots tonight, if I may. We started 
out the conversation with the cuts to women's health in this 
deceptively entitled bill, the so-called--I don't even want to repeat 
it because it is so wrong, but the Protect Life Act, actually it's a 
``not to protect women's life'' act.
  Mrs. MALONEY. That's a better name.
  Mr. ELLISON. But then we move on to cuts to important programs that 
older women are disproportionately relying on, we move to the wage gap, 
and now we're seeing that these cuts to public employees are falling 
more heavily on the shoulders of women.
  You mentioned an agenda. Are we really talking about an agenda here, 
not just a single program but a whole agenda?
  I yield to the gentlelady.
  Mrs. MALONEY. Well, the gentleman is correct to connect the dots, and 
you are absolutely correct that when you cut education and health care, 
these are the two areas that women are employed in predominately. In 
many cases they have achieved leadership positions in these two fields. 
Yet these are the two areas that have been cut the most in the 
municipal areas across the country that have hurt our States and our 
  And the gentleman is very correct to point out that you cannot cut 
your way to prosperity. Many economists

[[Page H6909]]

have come out in support of President Obama's jobs bill, including two 
Nobel laureates. And one economist that I like to read because he is 
employed by the private sector, which means if he's wrong he's going to 
get fired, and he was a Republican economist in that he was the chief 
analyst for Senator McCain when McCain ran for President, and this is 
Mr. Zandi. And Mr. Zandi said that President Obama's economic plan, the 
jobs bill that he's put out, would create next year 1.9 million new 
jobs, add 2 percentage points to the GDP, and also cut the unemployment 
rate by at least 1 percent. I use his numbers since he was Senator 
McCain's adviser and economist.
  But there is a drumbeat of economists across the country that are 
saying you cannot cut your way out of a recession and that we are 
getting dangerously close to a double-dip when you combine all these 
massive cuts with what's happening in Europe and the instability with 
the countries' finances and certain of our allies, and this is an 
extreme challenge here at home. And economists have universally said 
that we need to invest and continue to work to get the economy moving 
by investing in job-creating areas such as the infrastructure bank and 
such as rebuilding our bridges and making sure they're safe.
  One part that I particularly like as a former teacher is the plan to 
rehab schools and make them ready for the 21st century. That will 
employ people across this country and invest in making our schools 
appropriate. I know that even in the great State of New York, some of 
our schools are not properly wired for computers. Mr. Ellison, when you 
and I were in school, all you needed was a pencil. But, today, our 
young people need computers. They are competing not with the people in 
the class but with people around the world. And they need to have high-
tech access, and our schools have to be wired for the 21st century.
  And the investment in creating good jobs by building high-speed rail 
to move us into the 21st century and repairing our infrastructure with 
our roads and our trains in so many ways, and also making sure that our 
teachers, our police and our fire are not laid off during this 
recession when we need to invest in helping America.
  Every economist will tell us the best investment we can make for the 
future of our country is to invest in education. We can't afford to not 
be competitive with modern schools and not competitive with the proper 
number of teachers so that our classrooms are not so overcrowded. So 
that is a particular area that I like in this particular jobs program.
  Mr. ELLISON. I like the jobs bill as well. It's too bad that the 
American Jobs Act was not even able to be debated in the Senate 
yesterday. You would think that we could debate the bill at least. If 
Republicans have different ideas about job creation than we do as 
Democrats, I'm okay with that. Let's debate it, and let's get it out on 
the floor. But they don't even want to have the debate. You mentioned 
the public sector getting support.
  Mrs. MALONEY. I would like to applaud what you just said. I truly do 
believe that there is no idea that is so frightening or threatening 
that it can't be debated in the United States Congress. And so I agree 
with you. Let's have a debate. The President has put forward his 
program. Let's see what the Republican program is. Let's bring it down, 
have it debated, and let's have the economists across the country and 
across the world weigh in on which program is going to get the economy 
moving and move us with greater strength in the growth of our economy.
  Mr. ELLISON. Congresswoman Maloney, as you know, the President 
challenged them, the Republicans, to do this. He said, look, I'm 
putting my bill up here, you bring yours up here, and we'll see which 
one creates more jobs. And folks like Mark Zandi, an economist who has 
advised both Republicans and Democrats, took an evaluation. He said the 
Republican plan is not likely to create any jobs next year. Well, 
people are employed this year and next year. And what are they doing 
about it? Well, they're just cutting basic services in local 
government, they're getting rid of health regulations in the EPA, 
they're doing things like creating cultural fights, like the one they 
did today, trying to sort of divide Americans based on people's deeply 
held views about the issue of abortion when we need to be getting 
people back to work, which is, in my view, trying to take our eye off 
the ball.
  But I just wanted to throw out a couple of facts that I think may 
contribute to the dialogue. Here's one: In September, 2011, a month 
that just passed, the public sector lost 34,000 jobs. Eighty-two 
percent of those jobs were women's jobs. This is an important fact. 
This is according to the National Women's Law Center. And then also, 
the damage in the public sector was driven largely by cuts to local 
governments' education. I'll say that again. And, Congresswoman 
Maloney, you're a former teacher, so I know this is close to your 
heart. The damage in the public sector was largely by cuts to the local 
governments' education.
  In this field, one that is nearly three-quarters women, 24,400 jobs 
were lost from August to September. Since the recovery began in 2009, 
this field has lost more than 250,000 jobs. What does it mean when we, 
as a society, disinvest in public education?

                              {time}  2030

  One thing it means is that women workers will be hit harder because 
that's who three-quarters of our teachers are. It also means that our 
young people will be deprived.
  As a person who has been in the classroom, Congresswoman Maloney, 
what does that mean when a classroom goes from 20 kids to 35 kids? What 
does it mean to the kids who might not be catching on to the lesson or 
who may have a learning disability? I mean, is it even possible for a 
competent, caring teacher to teach all the kids given that some may 
need extra help?
  Mrs. MALONEY. There is scientific data that, as schools are 
overcrowded, the quality of the teaching goes down. That's very 
troubling when you talk about the hemorrhaging of so many jobs.
  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 14 million 
people out of work, and there are 3 million jobs that are out there 
now. So, if we could miraculously fill those 3 million jobs overnight, 
there would still be 11 million Americans out of work and looking for 
jobs. For every job opening, there are five people, at least, standing 
in line for that job.
  What I find particularly troubling is that many of these people are 
young people who have invested in their education and who are burdened 
with huge student loans, but they can't find employment. They are 
facing a terrible situation. Studies show that, if you can't find 
employment in the early years of your career, it affects your earnings 
and your self-confidence and your productivity for the rest of your 
life. For no fault of theirs, they are confronting, really, the worst 
employment situation in my lifetime and, really, in decades.
  So we need to work together. If there were one area in which the 
Republicans and Democrats should work together, it's in creating jobs 
and moving our economy forward. Regretfully, some people don't want to 
do anything until the 2012 election, but the people who are out of work 
can't afford to wait until 2012. It is really incumbent on us to act 
now to help them.
  Mr. ELLISON. Congresswoman Maloney, you just mentioned a moment ago 
this idea of reinvesting in our schools. Today, I had a visit from a 
number of superintendents in my State of Minnesota. They were not all 
from the Fifth Congressional District, which I'm honored to represent, 
but they were from a cross-section around the State.
  They told me that there were literally nearly 100 different school 
districts going to the voters for a referendum so that they could pay 
their basic expenses because the State government is backing off its 
commitment to education because the Federal Government is backing off 
its commitment.
  The fact of the matter is we have a disturbing trend here.
  They said, Look, if we could just get the part of the American Jobs 
Act passed that would help us with these old and outdated and rupturing 
boilers, these old, beat-up pipes, this poor ventilation, these windows 
that are not opening and closing properly--if we could get some help 
with our capital budget--that would free up money for

[[Page H6910]]

us to hire teachers and to do some real instruction.
  What do you think of that part of the American Jobs Act which goes to 
this issue of investing in our schools and in keeping our teachers out 
there and preventing 280,000 teachers from being laid off? What do you 
think about this idea of, really, just making sure that the 
infrastructure of our schools is sound for our kids and for the people 
working in the schools?
  Mrs. MALONEY. You focused, really, on one of the critical parts of 
the President's jobs proposal--modernizing our schools.
  Not only would it help you through this period by creating good-
paying jobs to modernize the schools and to keep the teachers working--
and, I would say, the police and fire--but it also invests in better 
education, a better environment for our young people to learn and grow, 
and to modernize the schools to the extent that they are wired 
appropriately for the 21st century. These are important areas that we 
need to look at and think about.
  I also want to point out the unemployed. The jobs aren't out there, 
so when you don't continue the unemployment insurance, there is no hope 
for these people. It's better for them to continue looking for a job 
and to continue trying and not to give up hope so that they continue 
working towards that end.
  I just want to tell you how much I enjoyed sharing with you 
information on the jobs program for the President and, really, of the 
opposition's agenda--our friends on the other side of the aisle--to 
keep women down and back, of disproportionately cutting programs that 
aid women, of disproportionately going after, literally, their 
constitutional rights to make the choices that are legal in our country 
which provide the best health care for them.
  The Progressive Caucus has always stood up for women, children, and 
families, and I want to thank you and the caucus in a programmatic way 
for standing up for women, children, and families and also for 
organizing this Special Order.
  Mr. ELLISON. Congresswoman Maloney, I know that you have to take care 
of other important responsibilities, so I want to just thank you.
  I just think it's important, Mr. Speaker, for people to know that 
Congresswoman Maloney is the author of the Credit Cardholders' Bill of 
Rights Act. It's when you go and use your credit card and don't get 
back a bunch of fees and stuff you didn't even bargain for--terms being 
changed without any notice to you. When you used that credit card and 
were late on that card, sometimes they used to jack you up on the card 
you weren't even late on because you were late on some other card. They 
can't do that anymore.
  When people benefit from credit card justice, you have to thank 
Carolyn Maloney. You cannot just use that card and say, Wow, things are 
better than they used to be with this card. They're better because 
Carolyn Maloney fought tirelessly.

  This was an uphill climb for you. It wasn't easy. You had to work on 
editorial boards; you had to work on Republicans; you had to work on 
Democrats; you had to work on the Senate. You had to just pound the 
pavement night and day; yet you got that done, and this country cannot 
pay you back for the good work you did.
  Congresswoman Maloney, I wish you many, many, many years here in this 
Congress; but no matter how long you stay here, I just want you to know 
that that accomplishment is a towering achievement which will stand the 
test of time and is historic. So I don't want to hold you up, because I 
know you've got to go do some important things, but I just didn't want 
you to leave without my mentioning how important that service that you 
gave was, not to mention the work that you do every single day, 
including the work you do on the Joint Economic Committee, on the 
rights of all people as well as on women's rights.
  Mrs. MALONEY. I just want to thank the gentleman for his statement.
  The Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights, according to the Pew 
Foundation, saved consumers over $10 billion in the last year by 
cutting out unfair, abusive, deceptive practices--and I'm using the 
terms from the Federal Reserve. I am proud that it helps Americans 
better manage their credit.
  No longer can people raise rates any time, for any reason 
retroactively on their balances, trapping them, really, in a never-
ending cycle of debt. I had many constituents who had purchased items, 
and they had paid so much in interest over that time that they could 
have paid for the car or the washing machine; yet they still had not 
paid it off. This is wrong and unfair.
  Central to this bill, it gives consumers the opportunity and the 
right to make a decision. If they're going to raise their rates, they 
must notify them, and the consumers have the choice of whether they opt 
in to a higher rate or pay off their cards and go to another provider 
that may have a lower rate. So it puts more competition in the system. 
It has lowered the interest rates, the fees, and has really helped 
  I want to say that we were cochairs of the Consumer Justice Caucus. 
We started that, really, to build support for the bill, and you were a 
strong part of helping me pass it.
  Mr. ELLISON. That's right.
  Mrs. MALONEY. It was difficult, but I'm proud that the President 
signed it into law and that it is now benefiting Americans and allowing 
more of an ability for them to control their own businesses, their own 
assets, their own credit. I must say, when it did pass the House, there 
was strong Republican support for it in both the House and the Senate.
  Mr. ELLISON. Yes, there was.
  Mrs. MALONEY. I am pleased that Americans have this added benefit in 
their lives.
  Thank you so much for your leadership. It has been a pleasure to join 
you tonight.

                              {time}  2040

  Mr. ELLISON. Let me thank you again, Congresswoman Maloney. You have 
a wonderful evening and, again, thank you for all of the great work you 
have done and thank you for your help tonight. I am just going to 
remain a few more minutes to help the American people understand what 
is in the American Jobs Act.
  The American Jobs Act is an excellent piece of legislation. We have 
been talking a lot tonight here at this Progressive Caucus Special 
Order about women's rights, but we've also been talking about jobs and, 
of course, these subjects go right together.
  But it's important, as we talk about this subject tonight, that the 
American people know what's in the American Jobs Act. The American Jobs 
Act will put Americans to work when jobs are needed, which is now, not 
later, not next year, not some other time, now.
  The emphasis of the American Jobs Act is immediacy. It will preserve 
and create jobs now. It will put money in the pockets of working 
Americans now. It will give businesses job-creating tax breaks now. And 
it will provide a boost to the economy right now.
  So this is what we're aiming for in the American Jobs Act. Republican 
colleagues have failed to produce any kinds of a jobs bill. The only 
time they ever talk about jobs is when they're not talking about jobs. 
They say that cutting important health regulations will create jobs. 
They won't.
  They say that cutting taxes for people at the very top of the 
American income scale, corporations, will create jobs. It won't. 
Corporations already are awash in corporate profits. They're not using 
the money to create jobs, and they won't use the money even if we give 
them more money because what they don't have is customers. Why don't 
they have customers? Because people aren't working.
  Americans need to be put back to work, and when businesses find that 
they have customers and orders they will hire people to fill those 
orders. When they have excess capacity, they are not going to just hire 
people. They're going to hire people when they need to hire people 
because they've got sales that they need to make.
  Of course, this is a basic and fundamental difference of opinion that 
we have with our Republican colleagues about the way the economy works. 
But I do believe that after years and years of trying, trickle-down 
economics must be discarded, must be dismissed, must be thrown away as 
a discredited economic theory.
  Trickle-down economics, which is the Republican mantra--they believe 
in trickle down. They believe if you give

[[Page H6911]]

rich people enough money maybe the money will trickle down to the rest 
of us.
  This has been a failed economic policy. They are wrong. They have 
been proven to be wrong, and yet they never stop coming here saying, if 
we just gave the rich people another tax cut, if we just gave the rich 
corporations, who don't pay any taxes now, more money. If we just gave 
them more money, all those profits that they have they might maybe hire 
somebody. They're wrong, and history has proven them to be wrong. I 
don't know why they cling to this outmoded, discredited, discarded 
theory of economics, but they cling to it.
  The American Jobs Act would do something different. It would put 
people back to work, and with people working again, this will boost 
aggregate demand, aggregate meaning added up, cumulative demand. And 
with that, more customers, more people with money to buy and spend, 
this economy will take off and the store will hire people because they 
will have a reason to. So the American Jobs Act goes right to the 
  But here's the other thing. The American Jobs Act calls it a Jobs 
Act, and it is. But there's something also very important that the 
American Jobs Act does that I wish got more play. It invests in our 
Nation's basic infrastructure, and it invests in our Nation's human 
  It puts targeted tax breaks--not just giving money to rich people and 
corporations who have plenty of money and who won't use it to hire 
people--but it gives targeted tax breaks and puts money in the pockets 
of American workers and American employers so that they will add and 
grow jobs. And it puts the money into job training, which does skill 
upgrades for our people so that they are more productive and better at 
what they do. The job saving and job-producing actions will put 
paychecks into the economy, will provide vital economic needs and 
invest in economic growth.
  I just want to quote Mark Zandi for a moment, this economist who 
works for both Republicans and Democrats. He is unbiased, and here's 
what he had to say. He says, President Obama's job proposal would help 
stabilize confidence and help keep the U.S. from sliding back into 
recession, add 2 percentage points to GDP, and add 1.9 million jobs and 
cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point.
  Now, that's a big deal. Wouldn't the people watching this show, Mr. 
Speaker, like to be able to see America go from 9.1 percent 
unemployment to 8.1 percent unemployment? I think this would be great, 
and here's the best thing about the American Jobs Act. It's paid for.
  Unlike the two wars that the Republicans got us into in the last 
decade, unlike the big PhRMA Medicare part D, unlike the tax breaks 
under George Bush and the Republican majority, these, the American Jobs 
Act, is paid for.
  President Obama has offered pay-fors in this which cover the cost of 
the bill. This is something the Republicans are not used to, which is 
why they may not quite understand the American Jobs Act. They like to 
spend money that we don't have. That's what they did with the two wars, 
Iraq and Afghanistan. That's what they did with the Bush tax cuts. And 
that's, of course, what they did with the Big Pharma giveaway.
  But this bill is paid for. The American Jobs Act is paid for, which 
may be why they don't support it, because they don't understand things 
that are paid for. They just understand spending and adding to the 
  But the Republicans have not only failed to produce or support any 
jobs bill of their own, other than just absurdly claiming that getting 
rid of important health regulations is going to create jobs, they're 
refusing to even act on the American Jobs Act. In fact, Majority Leader 
Eric Cantor has already said the Jobs Act was dead, his words.
  The Republicans not only failed to produce or support any jobs bill, 
they are refusing to act on this bill, and I think Eric Cantor has also 
said it was ``unacceptable,'' another word that he used. Now, that's, 
again, fine with me.
  If the majority leader could say, look, I don't like this part, but I 
can maybe go for that part, let's get the bill up here, all four 
amendments, debate this thing. But by all means let's start talking 
about jobs around here. The Republicans are more invested in protecting 
millionaires from paying their fair share than helping their middle 
class to work.
  By a 16-point margin, Mr. Speaker, the Americans support President 
Obama's proposal to create jobs, 52 percent to 36 percent. Fifty-two 
percent of Americans want it, 36 percent of Americans don't. By a 16-
point margin Americans support President Obama's proposal to create 
  By a 15-point margin, more Americans trust President Obama to do a 
better job creating jobs than congressional Republicans, 49 percent to 
34 percent. Sixty-two percent of all Americans, Mr. Speaker, and at 
least 62 percent of the people surveyed support a balanced approach. 
That means cutting spending and raising revenue to reduce the deficit.
  And, Mr. Speaker, three out of four Americans support raising taxes 
on Americans with incomes of $1 million or more. These are the so-
called job creators Republicans like to talk about. The only problem is 
they haven't been creating any jobs.
  But what will create jobs is businesses and small businesses that 
have orders and have consumers and have people working and have people 
who have money to spend at their businesses. That's what will create 
  I think it's important, Mr. Speaker, to point out to the American 
people that the three components of the American Jobs Act are designed 
to win. One, the American Jobs Act and reinvesting in America, 
preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs and keeping first responders, 
firefighters, and police officers on the job. Two, modernizing at least 
35,000 public schools across the country.
  Mr. Speaker, myself and Congresswoman Maloney were talking about 
this. She's a former teacher. We were talking about supporting new 
science labs, Internet-ready classrooms, school innovations, both rural 
and urban. But as I talked about earlier today, the superintendents and 
the schools that I represent, some of them have boilers that are about 
to go out, windows that aren't fixed up right, roofs that need repair, 
basic stuff.
  This would put thousands of Americans back to work as we give our 
young people a good decent place and a modern place to go learn in.

                              {time}  2050

  Of course, another part of the American Jobs Act, all under this 
important category of investing in America, is making immediate 
investments in infrastructure, modernizing our roads, our railways, our 
airports, and putting hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work; 
Project Rebuild, a great effort, an effort to put people back to work, 
rehabilitating homes and businesses and stabilizing communities, 
leveraging private capital and scaling up successful models of public-
private collaboration; and, of course, expanding wireless Internet, 
expanding wireless Internet to 98 percent of Americans by freeing up 
the Nation's spectrum.
  The second element of this important American Jobs Act which 
Republicans should support and Democrats do support is tax cuts for 
employers and employees. This is not just some giveaway. This is 
targeted tax cuts that are designed to succeed.
  Some of my friends on the Republican side of the aisle like to say 
Democrats don't like tax cuts. This is not true. We are for tax cuts 
when they are targeted and designed to help the average working 
American, not just some giveaway to rich people. And, of course, I have 
nothing against rich people. I like rich people. In fact, one day when 
I leave Congress and go back to the private sector, maybe I can be one 
of them. But the fact is right now, right now the fact of the matter is 
we need tax cuts that are targeted and designed to spur the economy, 
not just giveaways, hoping and praying that the money will trickle 
  Specifically what I'm referring to is cutting payroll taxes in half 
for 160 million workers next year. The President's plan will expand the 
payroll tax cut passed last year to cut workers' payroll taxes in half 
in 2012, providing $1,500, a tax cut to the typical American family, 
without negatively impacting the Social Security trust fund.

[[Page H6912]]

  This is important because things are tough around the house. Things 
are tough around the kitchen table, and Americans could really use 
this, particularly now. It will help maintain aggregate demand, and it 
would be very helpful.
  Also, allowing more Americans to refinance their mortgages at today's 
near 4 percent interest rate, which can put more than $2,000 a year in 
a family's pocket.
  Also, cutting the payroll tax in half for 98 percent of businesses. 
The President's plan will cut in half taxes paid by businesses on their 
first $5 million in payroll.
  Mr. Speaker, another important element of the American Jobs Act that 
has to do with this tax issue is a complete payroll tax holiday for 
added workers or increased wages. The President's plan will completely 
eliminate payroll taxes for firms that increase payroll by adding new 
workers or increasing wages. That's a targeted tax cut. That's a tax 
cut that's going to get people to hire somebody, not just some give 
money to rich people and hope they hire somebody. This is a targeted 
tax cut that will actually be of value.
  The next one, Mr. Speaker, encouraging businesses to make investments 
by extending 100 percent business expensing into 2012. This extension 
would put an additional $85 billion in the hands of businesses next 
  The third thing that I think is important to mention is helping the 
unemployed with pathways back to work. Some people like to refer to our 
social safety net. I think it is much more effective to refer to it as 
our social safety trampoline. That is when you fall down, America, 
caring, compassionate Nation that we are, provides a way for people to 
bounce back. And that is what the third element of this American Jobs 
Act does. Returning heroes, offering tax cuts to encourage businesses 
to hire unemployed veterans.
  Now, I know there are some Republicans who would vote for this 
provision. There's got to be. Businesses that hire veterans who have 
been unemployed for 6 months or longer would receive a tax credit up to 
$5,600, and that credit rises to $9,600 for veterans who have a 
service-connected disability. Now, I have just got to believe that 
there are a few Republicans who would give a green vote to a good piece 
of legislation like that.
  In the same vein of helping our unemployed, the most innovative 
reform to the unemployment insurance program in 40 years, as part of 
the extension of the unemployment insurance, to prevent 5 million 
Americans looking for work from losing their benefits, the President's 
plan includes innovative work-based reforms to prevent layoffs and give 
States greater flexibility to use unemployment insurance funds to best 
support job seekers and connect them to work, including in this 
innovative program things like work sharing, unemployment insurance for 
workers whose employers choose work sharing over layoffs.
  Second, improve reemployment services for long-term unemployed 
through counseling eligibility assessments.
  Three, new bridge to work program. This plan builds on and improves 
innovative State programs where those displaced take temporary, 
voluntary, or pursue on-the-job training.
  I'm about at the end of my time tonight. This has been the 
Congressional Progressive Caucus, and we are here with the progressive 
message, which we like to come to as often as we can. What we're 
talking about tonight is standing up for the rights of women. More than 
50 percent of Americans are female. My daughter is one of them. I just 
want to argue that for this country to rise to its full measure of 
greatness, we have to have full and equal rights for everybody, 
especially women.
  Today, there was an attack on women's constitutional rights today. 
There also have been assaults to programs which women 
disproportionately rely on like Social Security, Medicare, and 
Medicaid, and also employment sectors that women are employed in such 
as the public sector. This is too bad, and we need to stand up against 
it. But also jobs. Instead of dealing with divisive social issues where 
Americans of honestly held conscience disagree very severely on this 
issue of pro-choice/pro-life, instead of dealing with these old issues, 
things that we have been fighting over for years and will probably 
never be solved, why don't we talk about jobs.
  And so we did go into the American Jobs Act tonight where we talked 
about the key parts of this important bill by President Obama. First, 
investing in our infrastructure and in our people skills; second, 
targeted tax breaks designed to put people back to work, not just 
giveaways for the rich; and, third, help for the unemployed. These are 
three very important features which I believe will really help America.
  All we want is a chance to debate these issues on the House floor. We 
can bring amendments, debate them, vote some up, vote some down, but 
it's just wrong to deny the American people a chance to get a good jobs 
bill. So tonight, I just want to wrap up by saying that it's always a 
pleasure to come before the House and discuss critical issues facing 
the American people.
  With that, I yield back the balance of my time.