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From the Desk of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy: March 11, 2011

My Vote for Jobs

I’m in Congress to achieve a few basic but very important things.

I’m in Congress to fight for educational opportunities that prepare Long Islanders to innovate and compete in a tough job market and global economy.

This is why I took a vote last week to protect the small career colleges all over Long Island that give working families and young people access to educational opportunities they can’t get from traditional colleges and universities.

I’m in Congress to fight for greater public health and safety, whether by protecting the environment, reforming a broken health care system or pushing for common sense gun laws that save lives and reduce injuries.

That’s why I just voted against a budget amendment to de-fund health care reforms, am continuing to build momentum for my bill to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, and am proud to have received a 100 percent rating by the League of Conservation Voters.

And most importantly, I’m in Congress to fight for a stronger economy and good-paying jobs that help hardworking Long Islanders stay in their homes and raise their families here.

That’s why last week, after many hours of debate and hundreds of amendments, I voted against the House Republican majority’s short-term federal spending bill that ultimately kills jobs and takes away vital services from those who can afford it the least.

We need to get our fiscal house in order while also spurring job growth and keeping the country on a road to recovery.

I actually agreed with many of the cuts in the spending bill that Republicans just passed. The bill also includes amendments that I supported like the restoration of funding for first responders; the protection of the small career colleges I mentioned above; and my proposal to maintain funding for our national background check system for gun buyers.

Still, many other measures in this bill made it reckless and unconscionable to support, which is why I voted against it.

This budget bill guts funding for education programs like Head Start and scientific research that will help grow our economy; it cuts funding for women’s health care and our homeless veterans; and it tries to take away some small business tax cuts and erase reforms that are protecting that one-third of our population with pre-existing medical conditions.

There’s no question that government must control its spending and work to reduce our national debt. But we must do this in ways that don’t kill jobs and hurt millions of Americans.

This certainly won’t be easy. The House Republican majority will have to work in a bipartisan manner in order to avoid forcing another government shutdown, which would be devastating to veterans, students, families, local businesses, law enforcement and upwards of a million American workers.

As the budget debate continues in Washington, I look forward to supporting measures that strengthen our economy while creating jobs.

We can, and must, do both.