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Sunday, February 15, 2009

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The American people know, and House Republicans know, our nation is facing a serious recession. American families are hurting. Many have lost their jobs, many millions more are worried that they’ll be next. House Republicans know that Congress must do something, but it’s important that we do the right thing.

As this debate begins today, we just heard moments ago from a distinguished colleague and others that somehow Republicans are about saying ‘no.’ Well let me say with great respect to the gentleman: this is not about saying ‘no.’ This is about saying ‘yes’ to solutions that will put Americans back to work.

Republicans have brought forward such solutions, built on the time-honored experience of President John F. Kennedy, of President Ronald Reagan, in the experience of this nation with the impending recession that followed September the 11th. We didn’t go on a spending spree on Capitol Hill. We didn’t offer Americans a $13-a-person tax cut. John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, this Congress and this government after September the 11th under George W. Bush cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses and family farms. And, the economy grew. But what has the majority brought to the floor today?

The truth is this stimulus bill will do nothing to stimulate this economy in the long term. The only thing the Democrats’ stimulus bill will do is stimulate more government and more debt. The American people are asking, ‘What’s $13 bucks a week gonna do to get this economy moving again for the average American? What’s $2 billion for community organizing to organizations like ACORN going to do to get Americans from the unemployment line to the factory line? Or millions to begin rationing health care or to purchase green golf carts going to do to put families back to work in Indiana?’

As the gentleman said, I had a town hall meeting Monday myself in Indiana. A thirteen-year-old girl stood up, told me that her dad raising her and her sibling alone as a single parent had lost half of his hours at work, gone from 40 hours to 24 hours. And she stood up bravely in front of 300 Hoosiers and she said, ‘Anything in that bill, Congressman, that can help my dad get back to full time?’ And I looked at little Hillary, congratulated her for her courage, and I said, ‘Hillary, because I can’t answer “yes” to your question that there’s anything in this bill that’s gonna help get your dad get back to full time, I can’t vote “yes” on this bill.’ And the 300 Hoosiers in that room exploded in agreeing applause.

The American people know what’s going on here. The American people know that this Administration and this Congress are about to pass a bill that will not grow our economy; it will merely grow our government. We can do better. We must do better. This Congress owes the American people no less.