As West Virginians continue to ponder the trillion dollar price tag on proposed health care legislation, it's worth taking a second look at some of the other big ticket items that have come before Congress in recent months.
Where are the jobs?
When it comes to the $787 billion stimulus bill, I took to the floor of the House this week to ask a question that many West Virginians have asked: After nearly seven months, where are the jobs?
The massive stimulus package passed in February was billed as a job creator, yet we once again opened the papers this week to see depressing news about unemployment across our state. For legislation designed to stem the tide of job loss, it's clear that the stimulus has fallen woefully short.
As I said at the time of the original debate, the need for economic stimulus legislation was clear, but the make-up of the final bill was far from the targeted, focused and efficient use of tax dollars that West Virginian's deserved.
Given the legislation's lackluster progress thus far, it's quite evident that the President and Congress must focus their efforts on supporting job creation. That's why I will continue to press for the reauthorization of the highway bill, legislation I believe can have a truly stimulative impact on our economy by investing in our transportation infrastructure.
Smart Regulation for the Financial Industry
And just as residents across our state have been skeptical about the track record of the stimulus, it's also clear that we need to draw the right lessons from the misguided $700 billion bailout of financial institutions last fall. With these financial bailouts as a backdrop, Congress is engaged in debate about how to best reform financial regulations.
As the debate moves forward, we must seek smart regulation -- not simply more regulation. By improving coordination across regulatory agencies we can provide strong consumer protections, but we must also ensure that new regulations don't stifle or restrict the flow of credit to individuals and small businesses across our state.
We know that small businesses rely on access to credit to invest in their business and create jobs. After all, they have historically created nearly 70 percent of new jobs across our nation and any new legislation shouldn't jeopardize their important role as new job creators.
As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your thoughts, ideas and concerns. It is truly an honor to serve you and your family.