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Boustany Floor Statement: Unemployment Insurance Motion To Concur in the Senate Amendment to H.R. 4213

July 22, 2010

Republicans want to help those looking for work, but struggling in the current economic slow down.  But we also agree with the American people that new spending must be paid for.  This latest unemployment insurance extender bill fails to do what the American people want. 

Instead, the Democratic approach adds another $34 billion to the already staggering $13 trillion national debt.  And that’s certainly not because there is any shortage of ineffective government spending that could be cut to pay for this bill.  Republicans have repeatedly called for cutting unspent stimulus spending to offset this new spending. 

The Majority Leader, Mr. Hoyer, said on June 13 there is “spending fatigue” across the country and that “if we have dollars not yet expended in the recovery act” that they should be redirected to pay for new spending like this. 

Mr. Speaker, eighteen months ago the Administration told Americans their trillion-dollar stimulus plan would create millions of jobs and keep unemployment below 8 percent. Instead, 2 million jobs have been lost and unemployment surged to nearly 10 percent. Overall 47 out of 50 states have lost jobs since the Democrats’ February 2009 stimulus, including my home state of Louisiana.

Instead of supporting this economy and getting Americans back to work –  jobs have been lost, our debt continues to spiral out of control and the Democrats only solution is to add $34 billion in new spending.  The new spending is unnecessary and Republicans have been calling for this wasted stimulus money to be put to better use by supporting the long-term unemployed. I suggest the best way to create jobs is to stop destroying good paying jobs that already exist.  This is the single most important issue facing the people of Louisiana today – jobs. 

In addition to the failed stimulus, President Obama’s ill-conceived and unwarranted drilling ban is galvanizing residents across the Gulf Coast like I’ve never seen before. The long-term implications of the President’s ban are real. Because of the President’s policy – thousands of good paying jobs all along the Gulf coast are at risk. It doesn’t have to be this way…unfortunately, this Administration just doesn’t get it. 

Already two Gulf rigs left American waters, heading to other parts of the world.  That trend is likely to continue.  Once a rig is gone – it could be years before it returns – if it ever returns at all.  And smaller companies that cannot afford to move are simply going to abandon their work in the Gulf altogether – costing thousands of workers good paying jobs.  They include not only rig workers and energy engineers but also dockworkers, helicopter pilots, restaurant owners and motel workers. 

According to the study by the Lafayette Economic Development Authority 37,000 jobs are at stake in Louisiana alone. The ban hurts everyone and we stand unified in our efforts to save thousands of good paying Louisiana and Gulf Coast jobs. The stimulus failed and it is time to direct these funds into more beneficial areas. 

The last time this House acted, Mr. Camp offered a motion to extend these benefits while paying for this spending by using unspent funds from the failed stimulus bill.  The House could immediately act on those today, with the Senate following suit to get these benefits to the long-term unemployed in a way that helps the economy and job creation instead of hampering job creation even more. 
That is what we should be doing, and what would most help the unemployed get the benefits they need today, and the jobs they need tomorrow. The American people want President Obama and this Congress to help spur entrepreneurship and American competiveness to create good paying jobs. Instead, the President and this Congress continue on a path of increasing uncertainty and runaway spending.

I urge my colleagues to vote NO on this bill.