Mr. Speaker, I come from the great State of Michigan where we currently have the highest unemployment in the Nation and where our citizens have suffered more than most in this economic downturn. And every week when I come to Washington, I am constantly amazed that this Congress isn't laser focused on creating jobs, because the question being asked by the American people is: Where are the jobs?
When President Obama said he wanted an economic stimulus bill principally focused on tax cuts and infrastructure investment, I was all for it. But the bill that was passed by the Democrat majority in Congress really was unrecognized from what was originally proposed. That bill focused much more on expanding the size of government than expanding jobs in the private sector. Americans were told that if this huge expansion of government were passed, that 2 to 3 million new jobs would be created and unemployment would not reach 8 percent. And what are the results actually?
Well, since that time, our economy has shed nearly 3 million jobs and the unemployment rate has now reached nearly 10 percent. In my home State of Michigan, it is in the 15 percentile.
Nine months after the passage of the failed stimulus plan, Americans are still asking: Where are the jobs?
After passing a jobs bill that did not create jobs, House Democrats passed a cap-and-trade national energy tax. This national energy tax will destroy millions of jobs in this struggling economy. Manufacturing, which is so important in my home State of Michigan, would be especially hard hit when millions more good-paying jobs are shipped overseas to nations that are not going to put this jobs-killing tax on their manufacturing companies.
Struggling American families will also be very hard hit. The Obama administration's own estimates project that this legislation would cost our economy $200 billion every year, which means an increase of $1,700 for every American household. That means hard-pressed Americans are going to pay more for energy while at the same time having their jobs put at risk.
I would ask this, Mr. Speaker, as the American people continue to do: Where are the jobs?
Congress is now considering a health care reform bill that would amount to a government takeover and would be funded with job-killing tax increases and cuts to Medicare impacting the coverage of millions of American seniors. That bill, H.R. 3200, places an 8 percent tax on payroll for every business in this Nation that does not offer health care coverage to their workers.
Well, I have talked to countless employers, and they tell you that their costs run much higher than 8 percent, so they would end the private coverage that they currently give to their employees and dump them all out on the public plan.
Republicans have been accused of being the party of no because we have stood against this job-killing agenda, but we have offered alternatives, better alternatives, and it is actually the Democrats in Congress who have said no to these ideas. Let me cite a few specific examples.
We have offered an alternative to the stimulus plan that, according to the formula created by President Obama's own economic team, would create twice the jobs at half the cost. We have offered an all-of-the-above national energy plan as an alternative to the Democrats' national energy tax. Our plan would encourage the development of clean alternative energy while allowing the development of domestic supplies, which would bring energy costs down instead of driving them up. And it would create jobs here in America, and it would make America more energy independent.
We have offered commonsense approaches to health care reforms that would provide greater competition, increase access to care, and reduce costs. We feel that individuals should be able to purchase health care across State lines, and small businesses should be able to group together to open up more options and reduce costs to protect private health care. And we believe we need to enact real medical liability reform to end junk lawsuits that drive up costs by forcing doctors to practice defensive medicine.
I raise these points because I truly believe we have to have bipartisan consensus to address the challenges that are facing our Nation.
Mr. Speaker, the American people are way ahead of the politicians here in Washington. They understand the need for jobs. They understand that bigger government will not increase jobs but will put millions more jobs at risk.
Mr. Speaker, it is long past the time we start listening to commonsense Americans who continue to ask: Where are the jobs?