| Our economy is stuck in neutral and wages remain flat, while health care and other costs keep skyrocketing. The federal government has run up an unsustainable and rising debt of $17 trillion. Nearly 40 cents of every dollar we spend is borrowed – and most of it from China. Twelve million Americans – young parents, seniors, veterans and recent college graduates – still are looking for work.
In my discussions with constituents around the 4th Congressional District, the economy and jobs remain the top concern of most constituents, regardless of political ideology. Washington must stop spending money it doesn’t have and focus its efforts on creating opportunities for job growth.
In 2013, the U.S. House of Representatives consistently focused its efforts on helping to foster an environment for real job growth. The House passed nearly 150 bills on which the Senate failed to act. Many of these bills could help our economy and boost job creation. These solutions will help expand opportunity for everyone – and I hope the Senate will consider our proposals.
Even though 12 million Americans are unemployed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that millions of job openings remain unfilled. The House passed legislation to reform job training programs and expand education opportunities to give Americans the tools they need to find work in a tough economy. The SKILLS Act seeks to consolidate, reform and modernize the maze of federal workforce training programs and help millions of unemployed Americans get back to work.
The House also passed bills to promote American energy independence, create jobs, address energy costs, and revitalize manufacturing. Such bills included the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act, which streamlines the permitting process for pipelines to increase the supply and reduce the cost of American-made natural gas and help create good paying jobs. On a positive note, two bills to help spur hydropower development passed the House and were signed into law in 2013. Hydropower is the largest source of clean, renewable energy in the U.S., creating thousands of jobs (including many in the 4th District) and providing power to millions of Americans at low cost.
Bills to lower health care costs and bolster medical research also passed the House this year. The American Health Care Reform Act sought to address higher premiums, canceled health plans, and burdens placed on small businesses as a result of the President’s health care law. After the Obama Administration announced that it no longer would verify whether applicants actually qualify for subsidies under the health care law, the House passed the No Subsidies Without Verification Act, which required that only those eligible for taxpayer subsidies should receive them.
Government regulations cost the average American family more than $15,000 each year. The House has sought to confront excessive government regulations that act as barriers to stronger private sector growth and job creation. For example, the REINS Act requires an up-or-down vote in Congress on any major new regulation with an economic cost of $100 million or more.
During my first year in office I’ve continually said we can't keep spending money we don't have and we must reduce barriers for real private sector job growth. People still are out of work and hurting. I’ll remain focused on what we can do right now, and in the long-term, to make a difference in people’s lives.