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This Week in Washington

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As we work to grow the economy and put people back to work, we must recognize that American small businesses are the key to our success. They will continue to serve as the backbone of our economy, creating more than two thirds of all new jobs. When I talk about the importance of making sure we do all we can to Buy American, it is because no single dollar in our country can be better spent than by supporting a local company that will then invest that dollar in expanding their businesses in our community or bringing on additional workers. When our small businesses find success, so too does our nation, and I'm proud to report that we're making steps in the right direction to get our economy going and help our local businesses grow.

This week, I was proud to vote in support of legislation to end the unnecessary and overly burdensome "1099 requirements" that small businesses were set to face in 2012. I voted in support of H.R. 4, the Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011, which will repeal the requirement for businesses to file additional tax paperwork to the IRS for purchases made over $600. This requirement is not only another unnecessary bureaucratic nightmare for our businesses, it also would keep them sidetracked with more government paperwork rather than working to create more jobs. Every single small business owner I've talked to throughout North Carolina's Eighth District has told me that they just simply cannot afford any more unnecessary paperwork. We don't need our government hindering success in any regard for our small businesses and working families, and I'm glad that folks on both sides of the aisle were able to come together to agree on the important need to end this burden.

As we work to get our economy back on track following the economic devastation we faced a little over two years ago, we must do so in the most efficient and effective way possible. Here in North Carolina, no single industry has been as hard hit as our construction sector. As many industries have fought to stay afloat in these troubling times, the economic dip faced by construction companies throughout our state has been significantly larger, facing job losses over 18% during the height of the downturn. While homebuilding makes up over 16% of our nation's GDP, we continue to see new housing inventories hover at over 40-year lows. We simply must address the struggles of the housing sector if we hope to keep our economy on the path to recovery.

The construction and homebuilding industries are especially important when you consider the ripple effect of construction spending in our communities. When construction companies have a steady stream of work, they are hiring more and more people locally. When they purchase materials and equipment, they purchase them in our nearby communities, supporting our local suppliers and their employees. Whether they're building schools or hospitals, or even helping new or existing businesses expand, these new structures will be staffed with local employees and do business selling products and providing services to our community. The beneficial effects continue on and on throughout the area, helping to move us all further and further back on track.

I fought hard in the last Congress to pass legislation to help these companies continue on a path to recover, and to give home builders and construction companies the most important thing they need in order to be successful--access to capital. I was proud to sponsor a bill that would identify these housing markets where growth and housing demand were strong, and would remove barriers to funding that the businesses of this industry unfortunately faced. Under the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010, we were able to expand the eligibility of construction and home building companies to allow them increased access to a lending pool designed to help do the one thing we need most--create jobs. Whether they're building new homes or expanding existing businesses, our construction folks are helping lay the foundation for our economic recovery and strengthening our American families along the way.

I've often said that our government works best when it sets the parameters and creates an environment for businesses to be successful, and then gets out of the way. Given the dire state of our economy two years ago, things are slowly improving. It was announced this week that national unemployment has dropped to 8.9 percent, and 192,000 new jobs have been created. While it is certainly true that these numbers represent good news, we must continue to work to create jobs here in North Carolina, and ensure an environment in which small businesses can be profitable. I'll continue to do all I can to help create jobs. We'll continue to put our faith in the American entrepreneurs who know how to build, manufacture and provide the best goods and services in the world, and together we will find success as a nation, a tradition America knows well.


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