As we head towards the midterm elections, the choice facing the American people that will shape the future of our country could not be clearer. Will we chose to go back to the policies that led to the worst recession since the Great Depression, the loss of eight million jobs, exploded our deficit after years of record surpluses, and put the financial security of our nation's seniors in jeopardy?
President Obama has likened the management of the economy by my Republican colleagues and President Bush to having driven a car into the ditch, and then asking for the keys back. Well, while the driver got off scot-free, some of the passengers suffered blunt force trauma, and for the last two years we've been trying to stabilize them with various remedies, some of them unprecedented.
Now that our economy is showing signs of life, the Republicans want to go back to those "exact same" failed policies that drove our economy into the ditch in the first place. They have unveiled a new Republican pledge to America -- filled with the same old ideas. And I am convinced that if their plan is implemented it would be a plague on America.
TheRecovery Act that the Democrats passed and President Obama signed into law has stopped the hemorrhaging. It has saved or created at least 3.2 million jobs to date, is still making critical investments in our nation's infrastructure and is laying the groundwork to create 21st century jobs in green technology sectors. Just as jobs are coming back to industries that were once written off, Republicans are demanding that we defund the Recovery Act and give up on our investment in the future of America.
Yesterday we passed a small business jobs bill that does not add one dime to the deficit and will offer tax credits, provide access to capital and free up much needed credit for small businesses around the country so they can create jobs and continue driving our economic recovery. After rolling out their agenda at a small business in Northern Virginia, House Republicans cynically came back to Capitol Hill and all but one of them voted against providing tax relief and increased lending for small businesses.
The GOP plan also abandons the middle class by holding hostage tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, increasing the deficit by $700 billion. Republicans have repeatedly voted against closing tax loopholes that encourage shipping jobs overseas, while the Democrats' Make it in America agenda has focused on creating high-skill, high-paying jobs in our communities and increasing the competitiveness of home grown, American owned companies.
The Republicans want to inflict a plague on the American people by repealing health reform and the Patient's Bill of Rights -- a package of common sense reforms that will allow kids to stay on their parent's insurance until age 26, prevent insurance companies from revoking your coverage if you get sick, prevent children from being denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and remove lifetime limits on what insurance will cover. If they get their wish and repeal health reform, millions of seniors would see an increase in their out-of-pocket expenses, Medicare premiums will increase, prescription drug costs will go back up and insurance companies will regain control of your health care decisions.
The GOP plague on Americans even includes putting retirement security in the hands of those who ruined our economy, and would turn Social Security from a guaranteed benefit, to a guaranteed gamble. Even though the American public rejected their privatization schemes during the Bush Administration, the GOP wants to repeat.
I believe the choice before the American people is clear. While we still have a lot of work to do to get our country back, all signs indicate that we are moving in the right direction. And recent history has shown us exactly what will happen if Republicans are allowed to reinstitute their failed ideas from the past.