One of the mantras of congressional Republicans over the past two years has been to ask, “Where are the jobs?” House GOP leader John Boehner (OH) made this into a theme of the campaign last fall. As then-GOP chairman Michael Steele summarized the argument: “Americans are still asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ … Washington Democrats still have no answers.”
This afternoon, Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and other progressives took to the floor of the House of Representatives to turn this question back on their Republican colleagues. Ellison and the others asked where all the jobs-creation legislation was, excoriating their conservative colleagues for focusing on legislation like terminating the HAMP program, which would do nothing to create jobs:
— Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN): “The Republicans’ no-jobs agenda has been exposed, Mr. Chair. The majority has done nothing to create jobs or protect homes. All they do is criticize programs that could use some improvement. Rather, they would get rid of them altogether.”
— Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY): “[The Republicans] have no plans of their own to address the foreclosure crisis that is hurting neighborhoods and disrupting lives throughout their country. Like the jobs bills they said they would have. We have yet to see them.”
— Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX): “Your cities have been impacted positively by the HAMP program. Job growth is picking up. Investing and growing jobs should be the mindset of the American Congress for that’s what we were sent back to Washington to do.”
At one point, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) took to the floor to respond to the progressives. She attacked the HAMP program, urging her colleagues to end it, and signaled that she would oppose progressive amendments to the GOP’s bill for ending the mortgage modification program. Then, she incredulously told her colleagues to stop talking about jobs and focus rather on the substance of the amendments:
BIGGERT: I would urge my colleagues to support — oppose this amendment. And stop talking about jobs, let’s focus on the substance of these amendments.
One would have to wonder what a certain congresswoman who asked at a hearing — on February 25, 2010 — “Where are the jobs?” would think about Biggert’s statement. That congresswoman was Biggert herself. Watch it: