1) Jobs: Still Priority #1
2) The Week Just Past: In Denial About the Need to Cut Spending?
3) Rodney's Appropriations Bill Cuts Spending
Jobs: Still Priority #1
A new report this week showed the private sector added only 38,000 jobs last month, the latest signal of a sluggish economy. This comes on the heels of a growing number of forecasters downgrading their second-quarter growth predictions. It is clear that our economy needs pro-growth actions, which is why last week the House Majority offered a robust plan to ensure businesses, large and small, can innovate, expand and begin hiring again.
The pro-growth agenda, detailed below, builds on the Pledge to America and is focused on job creation and economic growth. It addresses current economic challenges, promotes innovation and investment, and helps job creators without raising taxes on working families and small business owners:
Empower Small Business Owners and Reduce Regulatory Burdens
* Require congressional review and approval of any government regulations that have a significant impact on the economy or burden small businesses.
* Audit existing and pending regulations to identify and address those that hinder economic growth.
Fix the Tax Code to Help Job Creators
* Increase American competitiveness to spur investment and create more American jobs by streamlining the tax code and lowering the tax rate for businesses and individuals including small business owners to no more than 25%.
* Reform the tax code to allow American businesses to bring back their overseas profits without having to pay a tax penalty so they can invest in our economy and create American jobs.
Increase Competitiveness for American Manufacturers
* Pass the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to create up to 250,000 jobs.
* Continue to open new markets to American-made products.
Encourage Entrepreneurship and Growth
* Modernize our patent system to protect our nation's innovators, discourage frivolous lawsuits, and expedite patent reviews.
* Reauthorize and improve federal programs and approval processes to streamline development of new products.
* Remove barriers to building a first class workforce so that the United States can compete in the global marketplace and lead the way in technological development and growth.
Maximize Domestic Energy Production
* Promote lower energy prices through increased domestic production.
* Encourage all forms of energy production.
Pay Down America's Debt Burden and Start Living Within our Means
* Enact significant spending cuts.
Recommended Reading: Tuesday's article in the Wall Street Journal by Sara Murray and Jon Hilsenrath, "Economists Downgrade Prospects For Growth."
The Week Just Past: In Denial About the Need to Cut Spending?
"From time to time, the House will reject legislation put before it by its own leadership. Usually, this move comes as something of a surprise and touches off a flurry of back-room meetings and negotiations to "correct' whatever flaw brought the bill down.
"This week, the House formally and overwhelmingly rejected the President's request for a straight-forward, 17-percent increase for the nation's debt ceiling -- the total amount of money the government can borrow to pay the bills it has already incurred. But the final outcome was not a surprise to the leadership or anyone else who is aware of the catastrophic spending path Washington is on. You see, the debt ceiling legislation voted down in the House on Tuesday contained NO SPENDING CUTS, even though the national debt recently topped $14 trillion!
"The result was not close, as many Democrats joined every Republican in saying "no' to a debt ceiling increase without corresponding immediate spending cuts and long-term budget reforms.
"I hope that Tuesday's lopsided vote will serve two purposes:
"1) I hope it will demonstrate that the new House majority has fundamentally changed the debate in Washington - away from blind devotion to a larger government, more spending and higher taxes. That's a significant shift from the start of the year, when President Obama was pushing hard for billions in dollars of additional "investments' in a range of domestic spending despite our growing ocean of red ink;
"2) I hope the vote will spark new "seriousness' in the official debt ceiling talks in Washington. However, I am concerned that Treasury Secretary Geithner said last week, "Our plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit. Our fallback plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit, and our fallback to the fallback plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit.'
"Then, when asked directly at the White House on Wednesday if he will put forth a specific plan to deal with this debt crisis and get Americans back to work, the President himself said he will not.
"That's troubling. Makes one wonder if the Obama Administration is in a state of denial about the need for serious spending reductions."
Recommended Reading II: Monday editorial in the Washington Times, "The Democrats' Debt Crisis."
Rodney's Appropriations Bill Cuts Spending
As Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee and Energy and Water Development, Rodney is responsible for crafting the bill that provides annual funding for the Department of Energy and other agencies including the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and various regional water and power authorities.
In keeping with his promise to cut federal spending significantly, the bill he unveiled Wednesday totals $30.6 billion -- a reduction of $5.9 billion below the President's February budget request and $1 billion below this year's funding level. In fact, total spending in the bill has not been this low since Fiscal 2006.
"The programs and projects funded in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill affect every community in our nation, and many are essential to our safety and quality of life. We have taken a hard look at each and every line in this bill to make sure that we are prioritizing taxpayer dollars in programs that have the most benefit to the American people, while cutting back funding for programs that we simply cannot afford or that are not performing as they should," Chairman Frelinghuysen said. "In this time of budget crisis, we have to make tough decisions to rein in spending in order to get our economy back on track and creating jobs once again."
The legislation will be brought to the full Appropriations Committee for a vote in mid-June.
"This is a fair bill that recognizes the stark fiscal reality that faces our country. Our subcommittee has worked hard to ensure that our highest priorities -- defense of our country and support for American innovation and competitiveness -- receive critical funding," he said. "At the same time, we cut back on programs with large unspent balances, improve oversight of the agencies funded under the bill and protect taxpayer money."