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Promotes Economic Security & Worker Assistance
Operation Paycheck Career Center
Orlando, Florida
December 4, 2001
2:26 P.M. EST

I, first of all, understand that the attacks on September the 11th affected a lot of people. Not only did we lose a lot of life, not only are Americans worried about future attacks, but a lot of people lost their jobs.

And I'm here at this program to assure the American people and yourselves that our governments, both federal and state governments, want to help you help yourself. I've just come from a little discussion with people who find themselves in the same position you're in, about how best to use resources to enable them to retrain for jobs that actually exist.

Today, we announced a grant for the state of Florida for over $3 million to encourage programs in one-stop centers such as this, so that they're available for people who are looking for new skills. And the other thing that makes it important is the federal government can write checks, but it seems like to me it makes sense to empower the local folks to design the programs to meet the needs so that you can train for jobs that actually exist in your neighborhood.

And that's why I'm so proud of my little brother for seizing this initiative to develop a program that will meet your needs and the needs of people that are looking for workers. I want you to know that I'm optimistic about the future of the country. There's no question in my mind we will win the war on terror. There's no question that those who -- the evil ones who murdered innocent citizens will be brought to justice.

I believe that we're making -- taking everything we possibly can to -- I know we're doing everything we can to prevent further attacks. It's going to be important for the economic vitality of our country to prevent future attacks. And we're taking the steps necessary within our Constitution to do just that. If we get any whiff, or any sniff that somebody is going to harm an American again, we're acting -- just the way you would want us to.

And I believe that we've got in place the framework for economic growth: the good fiscal policy, interest rates are low, energy prices are reasonable. But I hope the Congress does pass legislation that will take care of displaced workers for the short-term, provide the short-term help necessary for you all -- extending unemployment insurance, national emergency grants to help with the health care payments, and then put other stimuluses in place to encourage job creation. The long-term solution is more jobs. And I believe acting together, we can do that.

There seems to be a little bit of a logjam in Washington, D.C. right now. And I know that Senators from both parties, if they could hear the stories about -- and I'm sure they do, I'm sure they listen when they go home. But they need to act. They need to stop fussing and stop talking and get something to my desk that will take care of the workers and provide stimulus to this economy.

I wish you all the best. I'm an optimist. We live in a great country, a resilient country, a country that will rise to the task. And I believe that the effects of 9/11 will -- when we do our job, will be mitigated with job increases for you all. I really wish you the best. I hurt, that coming into the holiday season, that you're not working. But I admire your courage for going out to try to improve yourselves so you can find jobs around here.

God bless you all. Thank you for letting me come by to say hello. I wish you all the best. (Applause.)

END 2:31 P.M. EST