May 11, 2012
By Carolyn McCarthy
Traveling around Nassau County and meeting with residents of the Fourth Congressional District, I’m hearing a common theme from community leaders, business leaders and regular citizens alike.
While people recognize the consecutive months of job growth the last few years, it doesn’t matter to them when unemployment and uncertainty are still too high. Too many people are still struggling – even the employed are too often living paycheck to paycheck – and confidence is weak in the situation improving quickly.
Many are skeptical of government’s ability to help. I don’t blame them when they turn on the TV and see politicians in Washington bickering about petty disputes that have nothing to do with the economy.
But American democracy itself isn’t the problem – I believe it’s the hyper-partisan, obstructionist agenda brought to Washington by the freshman class of ultra-conservative ideologues that has brought more dysfunction the nation’s capital than I’ve seen in my lifetime. Thanks to them we’ve spent countless hours debating things that most Americans agree upon – like extending the payroll tax cut or protecting Medicare from privatization – because of differences in other matters like women’s health care funding.
It would be wrong not to note that there are many of us in Washington who are focused on the economy, and putting party politics aside in order to try to improve the economy. You can see this with many of my Congressional colleagues and in recent initiatives that I’ve participated in with regards to America’s position in the global marketplace.
Just this Wednesday, May 9, I told my colleagues on the floor of the House of Representatives:
“Our nation is at a crossroads. One job at a time, we’re gradually emerging from one of the worst recessions in living memory. But at this very moment, we can either stand in the way of America’s ongoing recovery, or speed it up. American businesses have recently watched their counterparts in other countries, like China, become world leaders in exporting. I believe strongly that now, it’s America’s turn. It’s America’s turn to put our workers – the best workers in the world – to work in selling their goods and services to an untapped global market. It’s America’s turn, to see its innovative businesses reach their full potential, to grow and create local jobs in communities across the country.”
I was speaking just before the overwhelmingly bipartisan vote to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which passed with the support of every Congress member in New York except one, and with the support of leaders as different as Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. All 93 votes against this legislation, in fact, came from the Right Wing of the Republican Party.
As the “Ranking Member,” or lead minority party member, on the International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee of the Financial Services Committee, I’m proud to have played an integral role in the bipartisan negotiations to help bring about this deal.
It’s a win for the American people. The U.S. Export-Import Bank reports that it has assisted 5,716 American exporters since 2007, with about two-thirds of them being small businesses, the backbone of the American economy. This includes six companies in my district, including A.J. Hollander Enterprises of Lawrence; Ecological Laboratories of Lynbrook; Ellman International of Oceanside; and International Logistics Express of Valley Stream.
In fiscal year 2011 alone, the Bank supported nearly 290,000 American jobs.
And the Bank is self-funding, using fees and interest from companies it assists, and makes a profit, which goes into the U.S. Treasury for taxpayers. Since 2008, the Bank has generated $1.9 billion in excess revenue for U.S. taxpayers.
I also fought recently to position the United States economy and its workers more strongly against China by joining a bipartisan Congressional letter with upstate Republican Nan Hayworth, Long Island Republican Peter King, and others.
In the letter we tell President Barack Obama and top Administration officials to help make trade with China more fair and profitable for American businesses and workers – and to bring up the issue at a critical summit between the two nations at the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, whose last summit was held in Beijing last week.
Protectionist measures by foreign nations like China put American companies and workers at a competitive disadvantage and limit American job growth. This is outrageously unfair and unacceptable, and we must fight back with conviction.
You can read the full letter on my website, at www.carolynmccarthy.house.gov.
Improving our economy and working in a bipartisan manner to achieve that are central to my mission as a member of Congress. Newsday recognized these priorities of mine in an editorial last year when they called me “a nationally recognized voice of reason.” Dale Brown, chief executive of the Financial Services Institute, said in an Investment News article last month, “Ms. McCarthy has influence… She is a credible voice on the Democratic side of the aisle.”
But the greatest satisfaction of all will come when I see more and more of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle working together to improve our economy.
It’s the duty and responsibility of elected officials to put politics aside and do what’s right for the people we represent. Even if it means making something that used to be common in Washington but is becoming increasingly rare: compromise and cooperation.
The American people deserve nothing less.
Filed Under: Carolyn McCarthy
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