09.08.11

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The President’s Jobs Address Before A Joint Meeting Of Congress Thursday Evening

'Recovery Is Job One In Vermont'


Week in and week out for a decade, our country has sent and spent billions of borrowed dollars to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Taxpayers in fact will be on the hook for trillions of dollars by the time those wars are finally paid for.  Many of those in Congress who now want to block meaningful action on jobs and economic growth here in our country were only too happy to spend those dollars abroad.  It should not be too much to ask that we invest right here, right now, to help Americans, at a time when job creation and full economic recovery are needed so dearly here at home.

I support the outlines of the job creation program the President proposes, and I welcome the President’s continued support for my patent reform bill and the role these reforms can play in unleashing American innovation and strengthening our economic recovery.

But jobs in Vermont depend on recovery from the storm destruction we have suffered, and recovery is job one for us.  The recovery is the key to protecting the jobs we have and to creating the new jobs we need.  In Vermont, a sound jobs program starts with strong and effective efforts to repair, recover and rebuild. 

The cost of recovery is beyond the means of a small state like ours.  Vermont’s top jobs priority right now is securing federal help for the recovery.  This week we made significant progress in laying the groundwork for federal recovery aid, but more challenges remain. 

In the 11 days since Irene hit us, the White House, FEMA and other federal agencies have been highly responsive and extremely helpful in Vermont’s time of need.  We will need the continued support and goodwill of the President and his administration, and we will need to steadily build legislative support in the halls of Congress.

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