tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN October 20, 2011 6:00am-7:00am EDT
same in every one of police department s, as i said in some places literally cut in half like camden, new jersey and flint, michigan. in many cities the result has been that it's not unique, murder rates are up, robberies are up, rapes are up. folks there's a simple reason for it. there's been a perfect storm out there. god awful ponzi schemes that the last outfit allowed wall street to engage in resulted in that gigantic collapse in the financial industry. housing, the bottom fell out. foreclosures increased, particularly in poor neighborhoods. abandoned homes are created. drug lords move in, arson increases, budgets fall because the property taxes fall. cops and firefighters get laid off, response times increase in five minutes to 30 minutes and people die and peoples homes
burn to the ground. ladies and gentlemen, response times have gone from five minutes to over an hour in some of your cities. both for fire and for police. just not enough of you. and what's the criticism we hear from our friends? on the other side? this is temporary. we're only coming up with the temporary solution. well let me tell you, there's nothing temporary about kindergarten being eliminated because that will affect that child the rest of their life. there is nothing temporary about a child that gets 20% less attention in the early years of class sizes increased by 20%-30%. there's nothing temporary about the life saved in a home invasion or robbery because a squad car is able to get there in five minutes not in 30 minutes. there's nothing temporary about that for real, live people. and there's nothing temporary about your house burning to the
ground because your fire department has been deluted and they can't get a truck to you in time. i don't know where these guys live. seriously. because it's not in the neighborhoods that i grew up in or any of us grew up in. ladies and gentlemen, the consequences of these losses are real and they're now. but the interesting thing is why i say this is simple, this is very, very simple. there's a solution. we can do something about it right now. it's not rocket science. right now. what's being proposed, and my colleagues are pushing is to put 400,000 educators on the job right away. to put 18,000 cops back on the street. and to put 7,000 firefighters back in fire houses.
>> my dad used to say everything is about priority. here are the choices. not even a very hard choice. these guys came up with a solution. if you add one half of 1% surtax on the -- it doesn't affect those who make $999,999. it doesn't affect anyone who makes $999,999.00, it only affects that one dollar. that's the only thing the rate goes up on. so let me put this in
perspective. if you make $1.1 million when god willing this passes you will pay next year $500 more in taxes. you got that? now the average income for the group of people we're talking about is $3 million, on average. you take all the people whose income is above a million to a billion. the average is $3 million. you know the really sad thing about it is? the millionaires know we should do this. they don't oppose it. they know it's the equitable thing to do. these guys seem to want to curry favor for guys that aren't even asking for the favor. ladies and gentlemen, this is so simple. so i say to the american people watch your senator, watch him or her choose. are you going to put 400,000
school teachers back in classrooms? are you going to put 18,000 cops back in the street. 7,000 firefighters back in the fire houses? or are you going to save people with average incomes of $1 million a one half of one percent increase in tax on every dollar they make over a million? ladies and gentlemen, the choice is pretty clear. i believe the vast majority of american people, and i believe the vast majority of millionaires know this isn't about -- what do they say we're engaging? class warfare. yo, ritchey, i mean class warfare. [laughter] seriously. i mean seriously. this is bizarre! this is bizarre! ladies and gentlemen, i
strongly, strongly, strongly urge my cheegs in the republican party to think hard about this. because i think if they actually, actually just think of it in the actual stark terms that this is, the trade is a .5% increase and every dollar over a million dollars made in order to secure our communities. in order to secure our homes. in order to keep our children from falling further behind. do you think they're cutting education in china? do you think they're cutting education in finland? so guys, i appreciate you being here. i've been doing this a long time. long time folks here, led by
chris dodd, we stid here, you went to the offices of the other guy and it made a difference. we did the crime bill. you should up and made a difference. i'm just praying it will make a difference now. because there's nothing temporary about saving somebody's life. there's nothing temporary about giving a kid a chance. thank you all very, very much. [cheers and applause] leader harry reid. [cheers and applause]
>> thank you very much. i want the lesson that everyone takes away is that we make sure there's a vote on our bill this week. to make sure we do that, we have to work something out. we're going to protect ourselves. you know the republicans that work in the senate suit up every day. come down to play their game in the senate by following the lead of their leader. that is to do whatever they can do to make sure they do everything they can to make barack obama's life miserable. that in fact is what the
republican leader said. his number one goal is to make sure that barack obama's not re-elected. do we disagree with mitch mcconnell? [cheers and applause] but the sad part about these people who suit up to come down here and fight against progress in this country, they don't represent america, they don't even represent republicans. the senator republicans are different from senator -- i'm sorry the senate republican are different than republicans in this country. why do i say that? because not only do the american people by a vote of 76 support what we're trying to do with this legislation, but republicans supported also a majority of. so the republicans in the senate should understand they don't even represent republicans throughout the country. so we need to go forth from this
gathering here today and thank you very much for being here. we're sorry about the rain. had we not had the rain there would have been twice as many, three times as many. we're glad you're here. we're glad you're here because because this is important. for my five children, my 16 grandchildren, there's nothing more important than their communities having a good set of educational opportunities. and you can't do that when you lay off in the state of nevada about 4,000 teachers. you can't do that when firefighters are laid off. you can't do that when police officers are laid off. you can't do that because we heard senator biden, i always call him senator biden, talk about the fact that -- [laughter] we heard senator biden talk about the lasts of our first responders but harold, that can't take into consideration
the bad to have their cutbacks and what they're making now. cutbacks in the ben fitteds. that's happening as we speak. this legislation's important. it's important for our communities, for our families and we must go forward from today on recognizing that not only do we have the support of the american people we have the support of republicans throughout the country. [cheers and applause] >> thank you mr. leader. it now is my privilege to introduce a long time advocate of public sector workers who has always fought hard to ensure that american dollars, tax dollars go to funds for priority, education, law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service protection.
he is persuasive. he is tenacious. and he is one of the very best whips in the history of the united states. and i am glad he's on our side. please welcome the honorable senator from illinois, dick durbin. [cheers and applause] >> thank you very much, harold. let me acknowledge the secretary of labor who is here, glad you're with us hill da. thank you. [cheers and applause] my thanks to the firefighters, the police, the teachers. when we need you and call on you to educate our children and grandchildren, to keep our homes safe, to keep our neighborhood safe, you're always there. now you're coming to us and you're asking us will you be there when we need you? and that's the question which
was asked to the united states senate last week. we tried to bring president obama's jobs bill to the floor. we got 51 votes. not one single republican senator would support us. not one. they must know what's going on across america. we are losing valuable public resources because of the state of the economy and the budgets that we face locally. in my home state of illinois we've seen it. two thirds of the school districts, to layoff teachers. go to city of moline. they had to drop two shifts of ambulances for people who live in that area. across the state, police departments scaling back when they should be around the neighborhoods doing their jobs. why do republicans say they can't support doing the jobs bill? because they say it raises taxes on people making over a million
dollars. you heard the vice president. one half of 1% increase for millionaires and billionaires to put quality teachers in the classrooms, to keep our neighborhoods safe. to protect our homes. i think it's worth it. and i hope that we can stand up -- cheerpscheers >> we need to stand up in illinois, means 14,000 plus teachers, policemen and firefighters back at work. i'd like to ask my friends in the republican side of the senate who all voted against us one basic question. what would you think if you dialed 911 and a billionaire answered the phone? [cheers and applause] when we dial 911 we want these
men and women standing behind me to answer that phone, call of duty, risking their life for us every day. we want to make sure teachers are there for their children and grandchildren. we're not here to protect billionaires, we're here to protect america. [cheers and applause] that means coming together on this critical amendment that's offered by bob menendez of new jersey, it will be solidly supported on the democratic side. but we need republican senators to cross over and join us. if they want to pick up the phone and dial 911 and answer that call, they need to be there. if they want to make sure our kids have a fighting chance, they need to be there. thanks for being here today. [cheers and applause] >> thank you senator. our next speaker is a long-time
friend of school teachers. in fact he married one. also been a great friend of police officers, firefighters, as well as workers everywhere. i want to thank him once again for everything he did to ensure passage last december of the 9/11 health and compensation act which provides funding for existing medical monitoring and treatment programs for those at the world trade center who were involved in the rescue, recovery and clean up at ground zero following the terrorist attack of september 11, 2001. he has always been there for the tough fights and he is once again ready to go to battle for you and for us. please welcome the honorable senator from new york, chuck schumer. [cheers and applause] >> thank you, harold. harold does a great job and there's no one you want on your
side more in a fight than harold, so thanks. now we all know why we're here. but some people don't. yesterday i heard senator mcconnell describe this legislation as a bailout. is this a bailout? >> no! >> could anyone who walks on the same planet as you do think this is a bailout? no! is keeping teachers in the classroom a bailout? is keeping cops on the beat a bailout? >> is keeping firefighters in fire house a bailout? no! go tell mitch mcconnell! [cheers and applause] our legislation, the menendez bill carried by two of our finest senators, who will speak
after me, it's good for our kids, it's good for our economy, it's good for our country and it's even good for the people making over a million dollars. but we'll pay for it. the only thing standing in the way between us and this worthy legislation is a small handful of very, very, very wealthy people. not all wealthy people because as joe biden said i believe most people who make over a million dollars know this is the right thing to do. but it's a small number who are very greedy. their view is i made all my money all by myself how dare your government put its fingers on any of that money. and they unfortunately control on issues like this the republican side of the aisle in
the united states senate. that's the problem. what is our anti-dote. what is the medicine we have to make to break through the strangle hold? it is you. we need you. we need the teachers and the cops and the firefighters. and everyone else who's an average middle class person to walk the hauls of this senate and to tell those senators to stop standing in the way of progress, to stop standing in the way of what this country needs. and i believe, just like with the other bill when you walk the hauls for us, and just like with the previous teachers bill, when you walk the hall for us. and just like with the cops law when you walk the halls for us, if you walk these halls again, right will prevail. the menendez-stabinow bill will
become law and we can turn this country around and put it back on the right track. thank you for being here and god bless you. [cheers and applause] >> the next speaker who i am honored to introduce is a long-time elected official from the state of michigan. a state that has felt this recession more than most. she is on the front line fighting for people who work in for this country each and every day. saving good american jobs who provide a living wage and real benefits. also been there for teachers, police officers, and firefighters every step of the way. and we are so thankful that she is a chief sponsor of this legislation to put people back to work. please welcome the honorable senator from michigan debby stabinow. [cheers and applause]
>> we're here to say it's about time we put people back to work in this country and that's what we're going to do with this leags. it starts with our children and it also starts with making sure they're healthy and i see a great group of nurses right here in the front. and we're glad you're here. it starts with our children when they leave our homes and walk into the streets having the security of knowing that those streets are going to be safe. and that the parks are safe. and that when they need to have a firefighter, they're going to
be able to have access to someone in cases of crisis. that's what it means. these are basics that we're talking about. these are not frills in america. these are basics. and so i'm very proud to be joining with my friend and colleague bob me mendes in leading this fight with all of our colleagues and the vice president, and with the president. to send a message that when we talk about getting out of a deficit hole or when we talk about a need to grow the economy, you have to start with education. educating our children. giving them an opportunity. [cheers and applause] because it's a highly educated group of children in school are tomorrows ultra competitive work force and globe global economy.
every country understands that and they're now doing those things. they're putting money into education, college, invasion, making things in their countries. and they're trying to figure out what the heck we are doing right now. the reality is we've got to get beyond the blind partisanship or the narrow extreme ideology that says we're not in it together and do what we know how to do as americans, which is come together with community, with commitment around the basic set of values that are so critical to all of us. you know i am deeply concerned when i see the 27,000 teachers that have been laid off in my home state of michigan and what that means to people that i know, to my two beautiful grandchildren and people, children across this state. this bill in my home state of michigan will put 12,000
michigan teachers back in the classroom. [cheers and applause] and with our first responders we have seen just within the last year 4,000 first responders who have lost their jobs. think about 9/11 and all the talk about the need to increase our security. we talked about this so many times. there are fewer police officers, fewer firefighters on our streets today. by the thousands. than that time when everyone came together and we were attacked. it makes no sense. you know, when it comes to first responders there's a very famous fire chief who once said that when a person becomes a firefighter their greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. what they do after that is all
in a day's work. you know, we are so proud of the men and women -- [cheers and applause] we know what was done on 9/11. running into buildings of people. we know what it's done every single day. when there's a fire, a medical emergency. when someone needs a police officer to step in because of their own safety for themselves and their families and their business. we say thank you to every single one of you for what you do. you are the best and the brightest of america and we thank you. [cheers and applause] so we need you to go forward from today and focus with us, as i know you will at how we can get the votes necessary to stop
the phil buster that's already on this bill. you know if you heard, we actually received 51 votes out of a hundred which is a majority. it was an election, you win when you get one more vote than the other guy. and in the house you win when you get one more vote than the other guy. and in the senate, unfortunately in the last few years they have used this procedure to force us to have a super majority so that a majority doesn't win any more in the senate. we had a majority on the president's jobs bill. 51 is a majority. if we had been allowed to get beyond the filibuster it would have passed. so what we are now going to do, again, is attempt to get beyond the blind partnership and the blocking that is going on. that is getting in the way of all of you having your senators have the right to cast a vote, a
majority vote. that's what america's about. that's what our democracy is about. is a majority vote. that's all we're asking for. give us a majority vote, we'll put teachers back to work. we'll put firefighters back to work. we'll put first responders. we'll put police officers, our communities will be safer. our children will have smaller class sizes and have the teachers that they need and our country will be stronger. so thank you for all you're doing. [cheers and applause] >> let me again, a great privilege to introduce our next
speaker, someone who i've worked with for many years, the great leader. he deserves a special thanks for introducing the teacher and first responder back to work act that has brought us here together today. he is doing all he can to protect working families, and making sure that the super wealthy pay their fair share. he'll always been about jobs, jobs and more jobs. he is one of the greatest champions for infrastructure investment, building schools and strengthening public safety. please welcome the honorable senator from new jersey, bob menendez. [cheers and applause] >> you know my friends government is all about making choices. and sometimes they're difficult choices. but folks, this isn't one of
them. it's time to get teachers off the unemployment line and back into the classroom teaching our children! [cheers and applause] it's time to get cops off of the job beat and back on the beat patrolling our communities and creating a safer atmosphere! it's time to get the firefighters off of the job search and into the search and rescue that helps save our families at critical times! [cheers and applause] now senator mcconnell, the republican leader, opposes this bill. i was on the floor when he said it because it's a bailout he says. because he has no problem with a bailout however to big oil companies and billionaires. but he has a problem with helping working families in this country. this isn't a hand out.
this is lifting up our officers, our firefighters, our teachers, our families and improving the quality of their life. i thought that's what government was all about at the end of the day. they need to learn that our children need a quality teacher in the classroom to help education and fulfill their god given potential. they need to learn -- [cheers and applause] they need to learn that communities need someone to protect them. and it's perfectly fine in a society to say to those who are among the wealthy, to say we need shared sacrifice. we are asking working families in this country time and time again to sacrifice it's ok for those who have been successful to do one half of 1% to be able to make the common good a reality. i don't want to be in a position
where the american dream that has been the first right of each and every american willing to work hard and sacrifice is robbed. i want each and every one of our children to have the same opportunity that i did growing up poor in a tenement in new jersey. the first in my family to go onto college. made a difference in my life was a teacher who turned my life around and i want that to be true for every kid in every classroom! [cheers and applause] there are 300,000 education jobs that are on the chopping block right now. new jersey lost over 6,000 teachers since 2008. 4,000 cops since 2009. 7,000 fewer firefighters on the job nationwide. they need to know in the capitol city of my state pren ton that
they had to lay off 105 police officers. and last weekend there was no one to keep the crowd back at the crime scene or enough cops to help people push back so that firefighters and emergency technicians could ultimately respond to those that have been hurt. we're not going to stand in the way of making this progress and we're not going to allow them to stand in the way any more. we can teach them a lesson about what our country needs by passing the menendez-stabenow first responders and teachers back to work act. [cheers and applause] we remember. those of us who live in the new york/new jersey region remember that fateful day on september 11. it was not the federal government that responded to the tragedy at the world trade
center. it was local police officers, local firefighters, local emergency management. we called them heroes and they are, and it's time to put the heroes back to work again. [cheers and applause] time to put those 18,000 cops back on the beat. it's time to put those 10,000 firefighters responding to emergencies and more than 400,000 educators teaching our kids. it's about $30 billion to state and local communities to retain, to hire, to rehire those teachers who educate tomorrow. in china education is rising. they're having more teachers. and guess what? their economy is rising. in india they're spending more
money. their economy is rising. we want this economy to be rising too and that's why we have to put teachers back into work. [cheers and applause] so we have a choice. we have a choice. for me, we can fulfill our duty to educate our children and protect our communities. or we can gamble our future away on a political game that the republicans here in the senate seem to be all about. you know i come to work every day and my focus is how do i grow this economy, how do i get people back to work, how do i get companies to hire people? how do i get lending to take place to our small businesses. how do i make this economy prosper so we can get people back to work, has the dignity of work, and ultimately achieve our hopes and dreams and aspirations. i don't come to work saying how do i make barack obama a one-term president.
i come to work saying how do i make america greater? and they should be the focus of our work. [cheers and applause] i say to all of our friends think about that moment, god forbid, when you have to pick up the phone and call the police department because someone is breaking into your home. think about that moment in which your home got caught on fire. and you have to call the fire department to respond. think about that child who you want everything in the world for and it all starts with a great education. if you think about those things, then you will be voting in common cause with us to let us proceed to a debate and then a final vote to get our teachers, to get our firefighters, to get our police officers, and to get
america back to work. thank you so much for everything. [cheers and applause] >> i now get to introduce someone who i've known over three decades and who has been working on behalf of workers for his entire political career. he is well known simply as the man for america's workers. his record on education is much too long to list here today. and his support for law enforcement, firefighters, the emergency medical and their right for collective bargaining has never waivered. please welcome the great senator from iowa, our dear friend, tom
harken. [cheers and applause] >> harold, thank you very much. you know one of my heroes. has always been harold schieffer. you can always count on him to be in the fray when the fight's going, when the going gets tough. harold schieffer is always there and you can be proud of him. [cheers and applause] honor to be here with my two colleagues who are leading the fight, senator menendez and senator stabenow. also here with one who shazz dedicated her life and now secretary to labor. you couldn't have a finer secretary of labor than hilda right over here. [cheers and applause] i guess this is about the part
in the program where i can honestly say everything's been said but not everybody said it. [laughter] you know i shouldn't even be here. i was not scheduled to be here, so why am i here? well, as chairman of the education committee i've been working for a year to get our education bill up, to get marked up so we can do away with no child left behind. we can get more hope for our teachers and our schools around the cub. so we finally got it up h morning. and senator paul from kentucky, using an arcane rule of the senate, and we've got a lot of them believe me, said we couldn't meet after two hours so we had to shut it down. this is the same senator who filed 74 amendments to the bill. ok, get it? 74 amendments to the bill but he won't let us meet to consider his amendments. same senator said he wants to get rid of no child left behind. our bill gets rid of no child left behind but he won't let us
meet to get rid of no child left behind. if the word no were ever stricken from the english language, republicans would be rendered speechless. [cheers and applause] vice president biden said where do they come from? i whisper and said they come from the planet dork. that's why they're called dorks. [laughter] but anyway -- that's over your head. what we're trying to do and what senator menendez and senator stabenow are trying to do, there's been proof. last year my bill to provide $10 billion for teachers went through. we got the help of two senators from maine, two republicans from maine, it went through. that money's been used to keep
teachers in the classroom. last year and this year. there's a problem that's running out. teachers will be getting their pink slips this winter because they're making their budgets for the next school year. that's why this bill is so important to keep our teachers and our firefighters and our first responders employed and to bring those back to work who are unemployed. so we know it works. because we've done it before. and now the republicans are saying no. they won't let it happen. basically their argument has always been, and it has always been we can't afford it. we're broke. we're broke. we're broke. my friends we are the richest nation in the history of man kind. we have the highest per capita income of any nation in the world. so if we're so rich why are we so broke? we're so broke because of the last 30 years.
policies, tax policies, trade policies, other policies, have eroded the middle class in america. and they have separated the rich. fewer and fewer people get more and more. and more and more people get less and less in this country. that's what's happened. we got too many people that lack the resources. that lack the financial resources and too few people have too much power in this country and it's time to right that imbalance. [cheers and applause] we have a saying in farm country you don't fertilize the tree from the top down. you put it in at the roots. that's what we're trying to do here. and what are the better roots to feed our country and our society than education and our teachers? what could be better to protect and enhance the civilization that we have than our
firefighters and our first responders and our police in this country. that's putting it in at the roots. that's where our money, that's where your hard earned tax dollars should be going. not to give more tax breaks to those who already have way too much. [cheers and applause] so when i walked in this room i said oh my god it's occupy congress. [laughter] [cheers and applause] >> well, you should occupy congress! people like you all over this country ought to be occupying to make sure that we don't fall down in this endeavor. senator menendez and senator stabenow are leading is a fight for the future of our country. it's that important. we need every single one of you. we got two senators from maine last time. we need help to get more of
them. with your help and support we'll get this job done. we're going to say yes to education, yes to our firefighters, yes to our first responders and we're going to say no to the nay sayers and the republicans who would stop us. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> i now get the privilege to intro introduce our next speaker. one of the most important i'm going to make, one of my own members who is patiently waiting to help close this out so i'm asking everybody to please stay with us. our next guest is a true advocate for workers in every nation of society. our personal history is rooted
in social justice in the labor movement. as someone who represented impover issued communities in los angeles, she knows that america needs jobs. she's a true fighter for the middle class for fair wages, safe working conditions and collective bargaining rights. workers are fortunate to have her at the helm of the department of labor and it is my honor to welcome her and introduce the honorable secretary of the department of the labor, hilda selize. [cheers and applause] >> hello! are police officers in the house? public safety workers in the house? teachers in the house? are there any unemployed in the house?
their voices will be heard and that's what we're talking about today. i want to congratulate our senate leaders, without him, without voice in the senate god knows where we would be. because this fight has to go on. but the fight really begins with you helping us get this message out. so much has already been said about the importance of making sure that we put back teachers. every single month as a labor secretary i have to report how many people are unemployed. right now shamelesly 14 million people can't find work. can't find work. i say no, what do you say? i say we've got to help our teachers because it's in our best interest to make sure we have a well educated work force
and you don't abandon preschool children. and you don't abandon people who need retraining right now in community colleges and all across this country. for firefighters, god bless you because i can tell you from the state like mine where i come from firefighters save so many important properties, homes, of average people. they don't discriminate. if you get a call from beverly hills 90210, they go. if they call from east l.a., they come. firefighters deserve the respect and dignity and we need to make sure they're no longer being harassed on the job. they also have the ability to get their jobs back but to collectively bargain because a lot of our folks are on the line right now. a lot. [cheers and applause] i don't have to tell you how important it is we put 1.2 million people, 1.9 million
people back to the work. that's what the independent economists have said. if we pass this bill right now we'll help to put some. but we still have unfinished business. we have more to do. i hope you have the fortitude and the insight fullness to understand that our job just started. yes it's hard right here working in this congress. i've never seen it like this. i used to be a member of the house representing my district. we used to talk across the aisle with both republicans and democrat. now there's no civility. it's about this party or that party. i say no, it's about workers. it's about families, it's at children. and more importantly it's about dignity respect for work. [cheers and applause] this president is supportive of what's being undertaken right now. i support our leader for what he's undertaken because our
rules are incredible here in the u.s. senate. one person can filibuster. one person. but that doesn't mean the minority is dominate everything because we know for a fact that the american public is behind this plan. it is not a democratic plan. a plan that's been supported by republicans and democrats. so i don't understand when i go around the country people are saying secretary we need jobs now. we are tired of sacrifice and sacrifice. it seems to always fall harder on vulnerable population and on workers. and on people who are just trying to do the right thing and play by the rules. but they are being punished unfairly and unjustly. that's why we need that bill. that's why we need this first down payment. we need to have more people, more voices. don't just go to your friends, don't just go to the senators that are already here fighting for you government to the one that you haven't knocked on
doors yet. make sure you tweak them. make sure you email them and make sure you get on your phone if you have to and make sure they they hear that you represent more people behind you. you are not bringing the voices of other people from your community. that's what's empowering about your movement. because it is organic and it is happening across this country. and we need your voices. we need every single one of you. if not for us, then for whom. but for our children, right? and i'm telling you, i am fired up. i am fired up. but i want to know that you are fired up. i want to make sure that you are fired up. that we're going to start from days now. every minute we're going to move until parts of this bill get enacted because we can't wait until elections next year. people are already homeless. veterans are coming home. firefighters are trying to keep sanity and safety and police officers in our community.
and teachers right now are just hovering hoping that they don't get that pink slip. and the ones that have already received it, it's bad enough. and we need to clean up this mess. so help us, as my mother would say in spanish, get the broom out, let's clean up the mess, let's take of america. let's put american workers, let's put firefighters, teachers, health care, safety workers, public safety workers and to include them in every conversation that we have. and not just here in the capitol but in our churches, in the polices where we gather with our family so everybody understands what is at stake. so i thank you, i applaud you and let's continue to fight. i'm ready to fight, are you? are you fired up? [cheers and applause] all right, thank you! >> thank you. [cheers and applause] if i may, with protocal we would
always refer to the distinguished leaders in our congress, in our administration in the united states. but the last two speakers is what this rally is all about, two incredibly important people. the first that i want to introduce is one of my brothers. a firefighter with local 146 in lawrence, massachusetts. he is a true american story. a graduate of lawrence high school. served aboard the aircraft carer u.s.s. theodore rosevelt. he became a lawrence firefighter in 2004 after graduating from the university of massachusetts law. like so many firefighters over the past three years and like so many americans, he lost his job
during the recession. but today he has that job back because lawrence, massachusetts got a safer grant. the exact same grant of programs that will be supported and provided today. so please welcome wayne ledue. [cheers and applause] vice president biden, members of the senate, brothers and sisters good afternoon. it's an honor to be with you today. i want to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to speak and stand here. it's a privilege to speak on behalf of my brothers and sister firefighters with lawrence local 146 and to firefighters across the country. the reason i amiable to stand
here today as a firefighter with the lawrence fire department is directly attributed to the grant program. in 2004 as the president said i was lucky enough to fulfill my life long dream to be hired by the lawrence fire department and serve the city i love so dearly. but after six and a half wonderful years i was laid off. i was fortunate enough to land a temporary assignment with another department, the impact of the recession made it impossible for me to return to my lawrence. they then received a grant and in march 2011 i was back on the job. it is because of that safer grant that i got a second chance. and i wasn't the only one. 24 of my brother and sister lawrence firefighters were able to come back to work. and in addition we hired 23 new firefighters to fill vacant positions that have been left vacant due to that safer grant lawrence received. that ease 47 men and women,
families that have peace of mind because they're on the front lines, not the unemployment line. passing the president's job bill will ensure we stay on the front lines protecting our community and neighborhood. the lack of resources in the layoffs and so many cities and towns have jeopardized the safety of the public. not only do they get firefighters back to work, it improves public safety by increasing a city's resources. so today for the sake of my fellow firefighters in lawrence and across the nation, i urge the senate to pass the teachers and first responders back to work act. for the sake of those we have sworn to protect i urge the senate to pass the teachers and first responders back to work act. my city's safer grant got me back a job that i love and gave me a second chance and passage of this bill will give thousands more tirets just like me the same opportunity. so to the president and vice president, thank you for this jobs proposal. and to the senate, please do the right thing and pass this bill
and get firefighters back on the job. thank you so very much. [cheers and applause] >> and now i would like to introduce someone on the front lines as a police officer in connecticut. she's a proud member of the connecticut counsel 15. and she sees first hand what this economy has done to public safety in her city and her state. please welcome officer jennifer pierce. jennifer? [cheers and applause] >> good afternoon. my name is jennifer pierce. for five years i've been a police officer in connecticut and a member of council 15. i'm here today because
connecticut needs jobs. and i want congress to pass president obama's proposal to teachers and first responders back to work act. it's clear that we are in a jobs crisis and everyone knows that the only way out is to start creating jobs. good jobs have put people back to work and made our communities safer and stronger at the same time. in the last two years, nearly 600,000 jobs have been lost through state and local government. some of these were in my home state. just this month 56 state troopers in connecticut received layoff notices. their fellow officers offered to retire to prevent the layoffs. fewer officers on the job hurts the entire community. it means response times might get longer, it means the streets
might get patroled less. when a cop calls for back-up there might not be anyone close by. the loss of jobs hurting our communities and putting public safety at risk. i hope that congress can put politics aside and get to work creating jobs. passing president obama's jobs plan will truly help connecticut. as police officers, we are trained to run towards the problem and i am hoping some of the politicians here in washington can learn to do the same. run towards the jobs problem and vote for a real solution. the situation in connecticut is like any other state in the country right now. we need jobs, and we need them fast. funding from the teachers and first responders back to work act would help keep our communities safe and prevent even more layoffs to first responders and get experienced public safety workers back on the job. i urge the senate to pass the teachers and first responders back to work act because you
cannot put a price on public safety and security. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> and with that i would like to thank all of our members from all of our unions, i would like to thank the members of congress that participated today and certainly the vice president of the united states, secretary solis, and for all of us, the work ahead of us at the united states state senate the choice is clear. and what we're asking is vote yes on this bill and let's put people back to work. thank you. [cheers and applause]
>> republican presidential candidate mitt romney is holding a town hall meeting. live coverage begins at 9:30 eastern on c-span 3. here on c-span, "washington journal" is next, with your phone calls. on the global financial system. in about 45 minutes, senator charles grassley. then maryland congressman don edwards. and dr. norman coleman from the health and human services' office of prepared this will discuss how the u.s. would provide medical care to victims of a radiation-