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Rep. John Lewis Says Jobs Should be Focus of House Business not Partisan Games Introduces Back to Basic Jobs Bill

January 18, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON--Today one of the least productive Congresses in recent history turned its attention to  H. J. Res 98 for the only full day of voting scheduled this week.  The resolution, unlikely to move in the Senate, expresses partisan disapproval of the President’s authority to extend the debt limit. Republican Presidents from Reagan to Bush raised the debt ceiling numerous times during their tenure without any complaint from Republican conservatives, though the deficit bloated more during these administrations than any others in the past 30 years.  Rep. John Lewis took to the House floor and labeled this bill a cynical maneuver a time of crisis for the American people.  He said the following:

Here we go again, Mr. Speaker.  Instead of working on legislation to help create jobs, House Republicans have gathered us here for political games.  This bill is not constructive, Mr. Speaker, it is destructive.  It is disruptive to the most important task we face, helping struggling Americans get back to work.  We have been down this road before.  We fought this so-called battle last year.  The debt limit is America’s credit card bill, and just because we don’t like the balance doesn’t mean we don’t have to pay it.  This exercise is a waste of time and taxpayer dollars.  I urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill.  Let’s come together and work for the good of this nation, not partisan dissent.

In the meantime Lewis has practiced what he is preaching.  He has introduced H.R. 3701 the Back to Basics Job Creation Act.  The bill offers support to individuals who are currently unemployed and underemployed who decide to create their own small businesses to make ends meet.

Atlantans are very industrious,” said Lewis.  Contrary to what some of my Republican brothers believe, most people are trying to face their unemployment with courage and ingenuity.  They are not waiting to get hired.  Many are taking the initiative, dusting off old skills, and developing new ones.  They use these talents to create small businesses making pottery, greeting cards, soaps, paintings, sculptures and other products they can sell.  Instead of vilifying the unemployed, we need to empower them.”

The bill provides a $5 million grant program directed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be disseminated as seed money to fund self-employment opportunities, small business development and related work.  It could not be used to fund salaries or existing jobs.  It would provide immediate relief for those who are creative, and business-minded, yet unemployed.  The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee for action.