Larson on MSNBC: We Need to Put America Back to Work
WASHINGTON – On MSNBC today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (CT) told Richard Liu that now that we’ve out the manufactured debt crisis behind us, we need to focus on putting America back to work.
Richard Liu: Alright, joining me now Democratic Congressman John Larson. He’s also Chair of the House Democrats Caucus. Congressman, thank you for your time today.
Chairman Larson: Happy to be with you, Rich.
Richard Liu: Now, you just heard the President there say it's Democrats and Republicans’ responsibility to deal with jobs – a very important issue for all Americans.
Chairman Larson: It is indeed.
Richard Liu: Absolutely. You may have heard our conversation earlier with Michael Grimm, Tea Party supported candidate – Tea Party supported lawmaker. But when we see the gridlock, when we see the arguing and the friction, some have to ask how can we work moving forward on jobs if we’ve seen anything but bipartisan ship.
Chairman Larson: Well, first of all, we do have to move forward on jobs. Certainly we’ve got to end this nonsense that's going on. We just got through a self-made crisis, a manufactured crisis, in terms of the debt ceiling, that should have been addressed. We put that behind us now. Now let's focus on putting America back to work.
You know, Democrats have been calling. Our theme is Make it in America. We’ve put forward job after job after job proposal. It’s been blocked or hasn't been taken up. But there are a number of bipartisan approaches out there, including the Natural Gas Act, something that T. Boone Pickens, certainly no Democrat, has been pushing out there, but it has more than 186 signatures. It ought to be brought to the Floor and it could mean 500,000 jobs. And an infrastructure investment bank…
Richard Liu: There are a bunch of ideas that the President wants done – a number of ideas the President has suggested that he would like to see at his desk here. Is that the one you favor the most of the many that he has put out here?
Chairman Larson: I think there's many that are out here, but I think that is clearly one of them, but anything with infrastructure. How about with dealing with your responsibility to the FAA instead of seeing these people laid off or furloughed over the break why Congress goes home? People are out of work. People are unemployed. That was a simple matter that could have been taken up by Congress to have people go back to work.
The president is right. It has to be about infrastructure and investment. You know Rich, he said early on what we have to do is out innovate, out educate, and out build the rest of the world. This is not complicated. What people should be in a room focusing on, and frankly from my opinion, what the new committee should be focusing on is jobs and how do we make cuts to the budget that are going to stimulate jobs and how we make investments that are going to stimulate jobs. But everything at the end of the day should be focused on the dignity that can come only from a job, the ability to look across the table at your spouse and let them know you're working there and you’re able to provide for them, and you’re able to your send kids to school.
Richard Liu: Such an important conversation. You really brought it down to every American's conversation. You know, but you've got a lot of work to do there before you can talk about jobs, perhaps. You’ve got the 2013 budget. You’ve got 12 appropriations bills that have to make it through. You’ve got a possible Continuing Resolution for 2012. There’s a lot of things that need to happen here. What do you think you learned, and Congress learned, so that we can get the job done when it comes to giving attention to jobs?
Chairman Larson: Well, I think what you have to… What Congress has learned, I hope, is that you’ve got to put the American people first. You can’t put an ideology first. You can’t put politics first. The goal on the other side has been to try to – stated elegantly by the Senate Majority Leader, “our objective is to get rid of Barack Obama.’” That’s not the American’s people’s agenda. The American people’s agenda is to get back to work. You heard the President say it again, it’s not a Democratic or Republican agenda, it’s an American agenda. We have to put people back to work. And oh by the way, when we put those people back to work, that impacts the budget, that impacts the national debt, that increases the taxes that come in here. But thus far, in more than 210 days, there has not been a single focus on jobs from the Republican controlled House.
Richard Liu: Congressman Larson, have a very restful month ahead. A lot of work, as you described, coming up when you return. I appreciate your time.
Chairman Larson: Well, I appreciate being here. The focus should be jobs and we ought to be able to do it bipartisanly.
Richard Liu: Thank you sir.