ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:
Before the president could even sign legislation passed by Congress this week to raise the debt ceiling, the House Democratic leadership is already reviving its quest to create jobs in the slumping economy.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the debt deal vote was “a bitter pill for us to swallow, but we did,” and she commended Democrats for answering the call “to save the day.”
“Yesterday we crossed a bridge. Enough talk about the debt. We have to talk about jobs,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. You cannot say it enough.”
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer – the No. 2 ranked Democrat in the House, said that “talking about jobs is talking about the debt,” and suggested that “the only we're going to successfully deal with debt is to create jobs and economic growth in America.”
Hoyer once again recapped the Democrats’ “Make It In America” jobs agenda – a mix of legislative battles aimed at increasing domestic manufacturing, and encouraging private sector investments in infrastructure.
“Democrats have focused on our Make It in America plan, because America's innovation, invention and manufacturing creates middle-class jobs and is essential to the growth of our whole economy,” Hoyer, D-Maryland said. “We need to facilitate efficient private sector investments in infrastructure. We need to compete from broadband energy systems to ports. We need to out-build.”
Hoyer also called for currency reform, in particular the Chinese Currency Manipulation measure that passed the House in the last Congress, but the Senate failed to act on.
“We passed a bipartisan bill that sought to level the playing field by holding accountable countries that manipulate currency to gain unfair trade advantages,” Hoyer said. “We know China is doing that, and we know others are doing it. We need to pass legislation that will again send to the Senate a bill which will level the playing field for our manufacturers and our competitors.”
Most lawmakers in the House of Representatives left Washington following last night’s vote, heading back to their congressional districts for the next month while the Congress is on summer recess.
Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that the debt limit deal “may not have been a great deal, but it is now a done deal,” and pledged that his army of Democrats will hit Republicans for misplaced priorities during the break.
“We will spend August holding Republicans in the House accountable for eight months of wrong choices for the American people in two areas, jobs and Medicare,” Israel, D-New York said. “House Republicans made a decision. They made a decision with the Ryan budget…They made a decision going into this debate on the debt ceiling that they would rather close down the government in their relentless pursuit of the end of Medicare in the funding of corporate tax loopholes.”
“I don't know what the National Weather Service is predicting for temperatures in August, but for House Republicans I'm predicting it's going to be very, very hot, because they are going to spend their August defending the indefensible,” he added.
Pelosi would not reveal who she intends to nominate to the so-called “super committee” on deficit reduction, but said that “whoever's at that table will be someone who will fight to protect [Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security] benefits” and target tax reform.
“Our caucus is very united and hoping that this committee has some level of success in reducing the deficit with a strong element of growth and job creation as part of it. We're fooling ourselves if we ever think that one element on the table, whether it be cuts, is going to solve it,” Pelosi said. “If we're serious, as our caucus is, about reducing the deficit, we have to go in there recognizing that some cuts will have to be made, that you can't accomplish what you set out to do without considering revenues in a very strong way.”
Pelosi also reacted to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ dramatic return to the Capitol just seven months after being shot in the head in Tucson, Ariz., calling it “a great moment for our country.”
“I was not one who would have encouraged her to come, because we didn't think it was going to hinge on one vote, but she felt so strongly about it that — that she wanted to come, and we're very, very proud that she did,” Pelosi said. “Any moment that she's here she enhances the climate of bipartisanship, nonpartisanship, and of our country working together. It was a great moment. When the green light went up on the screen on the wall next to her name, it was highly emotional moment for us. There it was, yes, in green, Giffords, just the last name.”
“As I said to the [congressional] pages who were there, you will witness a great deal of history. Nothing,” she added. “When a person so respected, so courageous, came back here because she wanted to save our economy, because she knew going to default would be harmful.”