Weekly remarks: Eric Cantor says no more budget gimmicks; Biden hails Obama auto bailout
Hello, everyone. I hope you’re having a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. I’ve got some good news for us today. Not only is our economy overall growing, but one of the important sectors of our economy is on the rise again: the American automobile industry.
Just a few days ago, on Tuesday, Chrysler Corp. announced that they were repaying the taxpayers for the loans we gave them when we came into office.
And this announcement came six years ahead of schedule -– and just two years after Chrysler Corp. emerged from bankruptcy. You know, and it’s a sign of what’s happening throughout the American automobile industry.
It’s not just Chrysler. Also this week, GM announced that its Detroit Hamtramick factory will run three shifts for the first time its 26-year history. You know, that’s 2,500 more good, paying jobs.
In the words of Don LaForest, of the UAW -– and I want to quote him –- he said....
And I heard the same pride, and the same feeling of dignity, when I called the Jefferson North Chrysler plant in Detroit the day Chrysler paid back its debt. I talked to a UAW worker -– her name was Frances -– a line worker, who said her dad had worked on that line before, and that she had been out of work for two-and-a-half years before she was hired a year ago back to the plant.
I got the same sense when I went to Bonneville and Son, a Chrysler dealership in Manchester, N.H., a couple days ago. Eighty-five employees came out, stood out there in the lot with me. Eighty-five people. All of whom knew and said, had Chrysler liquidated, had we not helped them, they wouldn’t have a job.
When President Obama and I came into office, we faced an auto industry on the brink of extinction. Total collapse.
At the time, many people thought the President should just let GM and Chrysler go under. They didn’t think the automobile industry was essential to America’s future.
The President disagreed -- and, in addition, he wasn’t willing to walk away from the thousands of hardworking UAW members who worked at GM and Chrysler -– and in many cases, not only all their lives, but as second and third generation employees. And he certainly wasn’t going to abandon an industry that had meant so much to our economy, and so much to so many for so long.
So, he said if GM and Chrysler, and their management, and all their shareholders were willing to do the difficult work of making themselves more competitive, we would support giving them another chance.
And because of what we did, the auto industry is rising again. Manufacturing is coming back. And our economy is recovering and it’s gaining traction.
But the thing is this: even for a lot of people with jobs, their wages aren’t keeping pace with prices of everything from gas to groceries to health care and college tuition.
That’s why the President and I remain focused on, not just recovering from this recession. We’re focused on making sure that if you work hard, play by the rules, you’ll be able to get ahead, put your kids through college, retire with dignity and security.
Before I sign off, I just want to mention once again Memorial Day and remember what this holiday’s all about. You know -– we still have thousands of troops deployed in harm’s way. In days past, on Memorial Day, we remembered heroes from former wars – but I think it’s absolutely essential that we all remember today that thousands of names have been added to those memorials in the wars that are still continuing.
Folks, all I ask you to do is, what my wife Jill and Michelle Obama ask, to reach out to those families who have someone deployed, in your community. Let them know you know. Let them know you know the sacrifice they’re making. Engage in – as my wife would say -– a single act of kindness.
Maybe invite them to your barbecue this weekend. Mow their lawn. Offer to mow their lawn next week. Make it known that you appreciate their sacrifice and you’re willing to lend a hand.
As I said, that’s what Jill and Michelle Obama are doing through their Joining Forces initiative. And that’s what I hope all of us will do every day as long as we have a man or woman deployed in harm’s way. Thank you for listening and enjoy the holiday. ####
Hello, I’m Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader from the 7th District of Virginia.
I’m happy to be with you this Memorial Day, as we spend time with family and friends in festive gatherings and thoughtful ceremonies to honor those brave Americans who gave their lives in service to our country. It is their sacrifice that has kept America free and strong. Let us pay them tribute by renewing our resolve to promote lasting peace and liberty across the globe.
As we spend time with family this weekend, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Joplin, Missouri, Oklahoma City, and other areas of our country that are facing unthinkable circumstances and terrible tragedy. Please know that Congress stands ready for a request for funding from President Obama to ensure that the resources are available to help these communities rebuild and recover.
Americans have a rich history of standing tall in tough times and going the extra mile to propel ourselves forward. Whether it was the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution or the Internet Revolution: we are unique in our ability to apply creativity, intellect and leadership to solve any problem.
Now we face new obstacles as this country finds itself at a crossroads. Before us is a choice about who we want to be as a country:
Do we want a future with more taxes and more government? Or do we want to see more growth and more jobs?
We saw the former when Democrat –controlled Washington enacted the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus program which drove up our debt and failed to get people back to work. And it took a sweeping Republican electoral victory to stop President Obama, Leader Reid, and Leader Pelosi from imposing one of the largest tax increases in America history.
Now, as the summer of 2011 approaches, far too many our family members, neighbors and friends are still out of work.
To be strong, to lead, to grow, and to empower people -- here’s what we’ve got to do.
We’ve got to shift from a government that smothers new jobs and business growth to one that nurtures an environment for getting people back to work and back to what Americans do best: innovate, compete and lead.
That’s why Republicans promised to focus on jobs in our Pledge to America and have been committed to economic growth and jobs since Day One.
Beginning in January we adopted a two-track strategy we call ‘Cut and Grow.’
The first part – ‘Cut’ – is obvious. We know that Washington has to stop spending money we don’t have and manage the money we do spend more wisely. Families are tightening their belts and sticking to a budget - and Washington should, too.
But we also understand that cutting alone isn’t enough to address our debt crisis or get people back to work. We must also ‘Grow.’
For too long, Washington has relied on gimmicks or government-knows-best solutions. No more.
Now, more than ever, our nation needs small businesses and entrepreneurs to get people back to work.
That’s why this week we continue to build on the Pledge to America and our work over the past five months by unveiling our plan to help the nation’s job creators grow the economy and start hiring.
Our plan for America’s job creators injects a dose of commonsense, pro-growth economic policies to give our businessmen and women the tools they need to get the for-hire signs back in their windows again.
First, we must fix the tax code and remove loopholes and giveaways to special interests. We achieve that by reducing the overall tax rate to no more than 25% for businesses and individuals -– including small business owners. This makes the tax code simpler, flatter, and more fair.
We’ll increase competitiveness for American manufacturers. The more that businesses export, the more they produce. The more they produce, the more workers they need. This means more available jobs. By enacting agreements with Colombia, South Korea, and Panama, which have been held up by President Obama, we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs. There is no excuse for delaying trade agreements that create jobs at home while our foreign competitors are making them.
Next we will stop and repeal any onerous regulations that are barriers to growth and prosperity.
Last week in my hometown of Richmond, I held a forum with job creators and business owners from all over Virginia. They made it clear to me that Washington is stopping them from innovating and hiring more workers by pursuing hundreds of onerous and unnecessary regulations.
Frankly, this Administration’s regulators have gone on an ideological offensive against businesses that is costing our country billions of dollars and countless jobs. Yet this same Administration is telling America’s businessmen and women to create more jobs.
Small business owners and entrepreneurs tell me that they want government to work WITH them rather than AGAINST them. Smart regulations are fine, as long as they help steer businesses into the black rather than into a tangle of red tape.
Of course the summer months bring family travel and no doubt they are feeling the pain at the pump. So are small business owners, who are coping with crippling energy costs. Yet America lacks a realistic national energy strategy that will truly meet our country’s needs in the 21st Century.
We cannot wait for this Administration or the Democrat-led Senate to act –- they have had ample time and done nothing.
So Republicans will take immediate action through our American Energy Initiative by passing bipartisan legislation to expand energy exploration and maximize domestic production. This will help create American jobs, grow our economy, and enhance our security.
All of these elements will help encourage growth and long-term economic stability. By putting in place policies that encourage businesses to expand, innovators to innovate, and allows leaders to lead we will not only begin to put our budget on a path to balance, but we’ll get Americans working again.
This Memorial Day, we are reminded that the true grit of Americans is passed from one generation to the next, so long as government remains limited and opportunity remains unlimited, through free markets and a fair playing field. Americans will out-work, out-hustle and, yes, ‘out-innovate the rest of the world.’
Individual initiative in the private sector has been and always will be the source of America’s prosperity provided we don’t stifle it.
In America, our parents taught us and their parents taught them that, ‘No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, everyone’s got a fair shot, not guaranteed success but the opportunity to work hard and get ahead.’
Our history is rich with people who achieved greatness through hard work, thrift and faith without interference from an overbearing, over-burdensome government.
Let’s get Washington out of the way. Let’s give our nation’s businessmen and women what they need to succeed. Let’s make sure that people out of work can find a job. And let’s get this great country back on the right track.
If you have a spare moment, I’d encourage you to read more about our plan to create jobs at gop.gov/jobs. Thank you. ####
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Photos: Biden talks to reporters on Capitol Hill Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press; Biden and Obama in the Oval Office Credit: Pete Souza / White House; Capitol Hill Credit: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images; Cantor and House Speaker John A. Boehner Credit: Alex Brandon / Associated Press; Cantor and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on May 24 Credit: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters.