Neal Opening Statement at Education and Workforce Hearing
Washington, D.C., October 25, 2023
(As prepared for delivery)
It’s been 22 days since the House of Representatives had a Speaker. In that time, House Republicans have left the body paralyzed, and no closer to averting a complete government shutdown.
Today’s hearing is another tangentially related distraction from the party that can’t even achieve what they are best at: cutting taxes for the wealthy and well-connected.
Democrats want to get to work. So much so that we’ve offered to help get our colleagues out of their mess and find a bipartisan pathway forward. Instead, they chose another week of chaos. There is no pretending that this is business as usual.
This majority has embroiled the country in manufactured crisis after crisis, with the latest, leaving the House of Representatives at a complete standstill. They’ve thrown away the work of the American people, only to fight one another. Putting candidate after candidate up, only to be no closer to consensus than they were three weeks ago.
Meanwhile, outside of the Capitol complex, the American economy is humming. President Biden and Congressional Democrats are to thank.
The first and second largest years of job growth in American history happened respectively over the last two years. Overall, job growth is at a 40 year high, while we’ve had the longest stretch of sub-4 percent unemployment in 50 years. From 2019 to 2022, low-wage workers experienced the fastest real wage growth they’ve seen since 1979.
Amid relentless wish-casting for a recession from my colleagues, experts just aren’t seeing it. Rather, estimates for economic growth are consistently being revised upwards.
Legislation changes lives, and our current reality is proof. Our progress was made possible by the American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPs and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and more.
Democrats are rebuilding the economy from the bottom up and the middle out to spread opportunity to workers, drive economic growth, and lower costs for families. And it’s working. In the year since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law, more than 170,000 clean energy jobs have been created, with an expected 9 million on the way over the next decade. The landmark law is ushering in good-paying jobs that don’t require a traditional four-year degree, and offers unparalleled opportunity for workers to reap the economic gains of the growing clean economy.
Last month, President Biden announced a new initiative to train young people for the high-demand skills that will drive the clean energy economy. The American Climate Corps (CORE) will give the next generation these opportunities at the start of their careers.
We haven’t seen this type of sweeping potential for job creation in a century. Bolstering this success is what Congress should be doing. As you’ll hear from our witness today, there are plenty of new and innovative ways to harness economic mobility for mutual benefit.
Today, we are here to highlight that while Democrats innovate, Republicans infight, and nothing good comes out of that for the American people.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.