(Senate - October 13, 2011)

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[Pages S6479-S6480]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                           AMERICAN JOBS ACT

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I take this time to comment on a vote that 
took place earlier this week that the people of this Nation are having 
a hard time understanding--why the Republicans are filibustering 
legislation that will allow us to consider job growth in America. It is 
a filibuster, and that happens so frequently in this body that it seems 
to be standard operating procedure for the Republicans. But in this 
case I think the American public realizes they have gone too far.
  We have to create more jobs. We have to create more jobs so our 
economy can grow. There are millions of Americans who are seeking work 
and cannot find jobs and they need work in order to support their 
families. We need more jobs for our economy to grow.
  We got into a debate in August about what we were going to do about 
raising the debt ceiling and we were all concerned about the deficits 
this country has. Yes, we are concerned that our current deficits are 
not sustainable, but we will not have a budget that is sustainable 
unless we have more jobs. You can look at all of the programs to reduce 
government spending or to try to bring in more revenues, but if we do 
not create more jobs we are not going to be able to get our budget into 
a semblance of order.
  The reason for that is simple. The more people out of work, the more 
reliant they are on government services and the less taxes paid in to 
pay our bills. So for the sake of those who are seeking employment, for 
the sake of our economy, for the sake of our budget, we have to create 
more jobs.
  We had a vote this week on moving forward on S. 1660, the President's 
jobs initiative. It was a motion to proceed. It was a motion to bring 
the bill to the floor so we could get into a debate about the best way 
to create jobs. Many of us thought we would have amendments that would 
enhance and improve the President's package. The President's package 
was a starting point for our debate. But the Republicans said no, we 
are going to filibuster even the opportunity for us to consider jobs 
legislation. They wouldn't even allow us to move forward.
  We had a majority of the Senate. We had enough votes to pass it or at 
least proceed if it were a simple majority, which is what most 
democracies believe is the right standard. But, no, we had a filibuster 
that did not even allow us to consider the jobs bill on the floor of 
the Senate.
  I find that most surprising. When you look at the President's 
proposal, the individual provisions have bipartisan support. This is 
not a Democratic proposal. Every one of the provisions that

[[Page S6480]]

the President included in his package had bipartisan support. The 
Congressional Budget Office said the President's proposal would 
actually reduce the deficit and would create jobs. It has been 
validated by the outside experts. Marc Zandi, the chief economist at 
Moody's--he was also, by the way, the economic adviser to Senator 
McCain during the 2008 Presidential campaign--said, talking about the 
President's plan, ``The plan would add 2 percentage points to GDP 
growth next year, add 1.9 million jobs, and cut the unemployment rate 
by a full percentage point.''
  There are many others. Macroeconomic Advisers said that the 
President's package would:

       Boost the level of GDP by 1.3 percent by the end of 2012, 
     and by 0.2 percent by the end of 2013--

  In other words, we are moving in the right way; and then went on to 

       Raise nonfarm establishment employment by 1.3 million by 
     the end of 2012 and 0.8 million by the end of 2013. . . .

  The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the President's job bill 
would create 2.6 million jobs over 2 years and protect an existing 1.6 
million jobs.
  Republicans say we cannot even talk about this on the floor, the 
majority shouldn't at least be able to bring forward this issue so we 
can have a full debate in the Senate.
  The President's proposals included areas in which I think there is 
strong bipartisan support--to help small businesses. We all know small 
businesses are the growth engine of America. That is where jobs are 
created. That is where most innovation will take place. The proposal 
would help small businesses with new hires on their payroll and 
expensing of investments so they have an incentive to invest in job 
growth. That is what was in the President's proposal to help small 
  In the President's proposal was help for our veterans. We all talk 
about our warriors, our soldiers, out there every day protecting our 
values. They have represented America so brilliantly in international 
combat. Now they are coming home to America. They are coming home and 
they cannot find work, cannot find a job. The President is saying let's 
help them. We all talk about doing what we can to help our warriors. 
This bill did something tangible about it.
  What did the Republicans do? They filibustered an opportunity to even 
talk about a bill that could help create more jobs.
  The proposal also provides for infrastructure. Infrastructure is 
building. It is rebuilding America. Democrats and Republicans agree on 
that. We have to rebuild our bridges and our roads. The bridges are 
falling down. Roads are in desperate need of repair. Roads help provide 
economic growth for our country. It would help us rebuild America, 
create jobs through those who construct these new roads and bridges and 
electric grids, et cetera, but then also make America more competitive.
  It would help those who are unemployed in several ways. First, it 
would provide not just unemployment benefits, which are important 
because they help families keep their homes and keep their family 
together and help our economy because that money is spent, it also 
reforms the unemployment system, so we train those who are out of work 
for jobs that are available. In many cases, as the Presiding Officer 
from Ohio knows, those who have lost their jobs are going to have to 
find employment in a different area. Well, the unemployment system 
should be reformed so that they could be trained for those types of 
jobs. That was in the proposal the Republicans would not even allow us 
to bring up. They filibustered rather than allow the majority to bring 
forward a bill to help create jobs.
  The bill was paid for. As I have indicated before, it didn't increase 
the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office said it would actually 
reduce the deficit.
  I want to make the point I made earlier and underscore this: The 
motion to proceed was the starting point for the debate--the starting 
point. I had three amendments I wanted to bring forward--I am going to 
talk very briefly about those three amendments--that I think would have 
improved the President's bill.
  One would allow the Small Business Administration surety bond 
program--this is a program that gives small construction companies the 
ability to move forward with construction work. It would increase the 
surety bond program from $2 million to $5 million. It was an amendment 
I offered to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Let me tell 
you about the success of that program. As a result of increasing the 
surety bonds from $2 million to $5 million, we saw a jump of 36 percent 
in 1 year, 2010, in construction work for small businesses. That is 
quite a success story. Guess how much money that cost the taxpayers of 
this country in direct costs. Zero, no cost to the taxpayer. Well, my 
amendment would make that extension permanent. And it is bipartisan--
Democrats and Republicans support it.
  I have another amendment that would expand the infrastructure work to 
include water projects. Water projects are in desperate need. We have a 
huge need to deal with the way we treat wastewater and our safe 
drinking water. My amendment would add $30 billion for infrastructure 
in our water projects. It would provide $20 billion to the Clean Water 
State Revolving Fund and $10 billion to the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  I would like to talk about one more amendment, which is the cool roof 
bill I filed with Senator Crapo which would change the depreciation 
schedule for those businesses that put on modern roofs that are energy 
efficient and would create 40,000 jobs and help our energy policy. This 
is another amendment I cannot bring forward because the Republicans 
filibustered the motion to proceed, so we can't bring up the jobs bill.
  Well, Americans want us to consider jobs legislation. I hope we find 
a way to do it. I can tell you that I am going to continue the fight to 
create more jobs for America because that is America's future. Our 
economy depends upon it, and we need to continue to focus on how we can 
create more jobs for the American economy.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nebraska is recognized.