The 2011 Congressional Art Competition Awards Ceremony took place last month at Edinboro University, where several young artists from throughout the 3rd District proudly displayed their works of art. What impressed me most about this group of young men and women was not only their undeniable talent, but also their energy and enthusiasm.
Unlike anywhere else in the world, America has always been known as the land of opportunity, a place where anyone, regardless of race, gender, or creed, can realize the American Dream if they work hard and believe in themselves.
I want to make sure that the next generation is able to have the same opportunities as generations past. That's why I'm doing everything I can to get our country back on a path to prosperity so that our kids and grandkids will be able to enjoy all the blessings and promises that define the American experience.
Where are the Jobs?
In 2009, Congress passed a more than $800 billion economic stimulus package with the hope that it would create jobs immediately and that the unemployment rate would not rise above 8 percent. Unfortunately, since the stimulus bill was enacted, 2.1 million jobs have been lost and the unemployment rate, currently at 9.1 percent, has been higher than 8 percent for 27 straight months.
On May 19, I had the privilege of delivering the commencement speech at Thiel College. I tried to offer words of encouragement to a graduating class that is about to enter one of the worst job markets in recent history. I told them to not be discouraged, that life will undoubtedly present challenges along the way and our responsibility is to rise to meet those challenges with courage and conviction. As I told the graduates, if the wind is not at your back, adjust your sails.
The challenges we face today are great, but like those before us, we'll rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done to fix things for the future. This will require making difficult decisions and a level of leadership that transcends politics. It will also require the will of the America people, who will have to look past the rhetoric and seek to know the truth.
We are at a critical moment in history. Nearly 14 million Americans remain out of work. The jobs data for May showed that the private sector added a meager 54,000 jobs last month, an increase that fell short of expectations for a gain of about 170,000, and also fell short of the 130,000 to 150,000 new jobs needed to keep up with population growth. This was discouraging news and the markets responded, with the Dow Jones dropping 279 points in one day alone.
In order to right the ship and change the downward direction in which we're headed, we need to act and we need to act now. Playing the fiddle while Rome burns is not option. Our children's future is at stake.
To get Americans back to work, my colleagues and I have put forward a plan to tear down government barriers to job creation, decrease our nation's staggering $14.3 debt, dial back government spending to levels we can afford and reform our treasured entitlement programs, including Medicare, so we can save it for current and future beneficiaries.
American Job Creators' Initiative
Americans have always possessed a spirit of innovation and determination that has inspired some of the greatest achievements in modern history. Yet increasingly, bureaucrats in Washington have made decisions that limit our freedom to create job opportunities and grow the private sector. While oversight is important, over-regulation is imposing, stifling the very innovation that has made our country great.
Real, sustainable job growth comes from the private sector, not the government. AmericanJobCreators.com, is a new forum for businesses to tell Congress which government regulations stand in the way of job growth. I want to hear from you: how has Washington helped and how has it hurt your business?
The fact is that federal regulations cost the private sector an astonishing $1.75 trillion last year. For firms with fewer than 20 people, regulatory compliance costs an average of $10,585 per employee each year. In addition, according to one estimate, just complying with the complex federal tax code cost Americans $160 billion in 2009.
We need pro-growth tax and regulatory reform that makes it easier for families and businesses to save, invest, and create jobs.
What Goes Up Must Come Down: Raising the Debt Ceiling Without Reducing Spending? Out of the Question.
Last week, a bill to increase the nation's debt limit without spending reductions or budget reforms overwhelmingly failed to pass the House of Representatives by a bi-partisan vote of 318-97. The bill, H.R. 1954, would have implemented President Obama's request to unconditionally increase the amount of money the United States is legally permitted to borrow by more than $2 trillion, raising the current debt limit of $14,294,000,000,000 to a debt ceiling of $16,700,000,000,000.
The day after the measure failed to pass the House, a statement signed by more than 150 economists, including Ed Miseta, an economics lecturer at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, warned that, "An increase in the national debt limit that is not accompanied by significant spending cuts and budget reforms to address our government's spending addiction will harm private-sector job creation in America."
I voted against this measure not only because it will destroy jobs, but also because the idea that Washington can continue spending ridiculous amounts of money and then expect to just raise the debt ceiling without addressing the irresponsible habits that got us here in the first place is unconscionable.
Washington thinks it can play by a different set of rules when spending taxpayer dollars. Over the past two years, we have experienced the largest budget deficits in our nation's history. The White House and the previous Democrat-led Congress have maxed out our nation's credit cards and are asking us to increase the credit limit without making a commitment to stop the recent and reckless runaway spending.
Right now, our national debt is more than $14.2 trillion, almost more than the size of our entire economy. We borrow nearly 42 cents of every dollar we spend, much of it from the Chinese, and then send the bill to our children and
grandchildren. In fact, every child born in America today, and that includes the granddaughter my family just welcomed into the world last week, already owes $45,500 in debt they didn't create.
This is a shameful legacy we are leaving for our children and I and the American people will no longer stand for it.
When we face another vote on the debt ceiling later this summer, we expect that the President will have heard the calls of Congress and the American people that we can't raise the debt ceiling without significant spending cuts. That's the only foundation for future negotiations.
Meadville Town Hall and Satellite Office
You are Invited to the Meadville Town Hall!
Date: Friday, July1
Time: 10:30 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
Place: The Vernon Township Building 16678 McMath Avenue Meadville, PA 16335
This will be an opportunity for me to hear your thoughts, questions, and concerns, so I encourage all to attend. As I've always said, the office I hold is not Mike Kelly's office, it's the people of the 3rd District's office. I am here to serve you, so please take advantage of this opportunity to tell me how I'm doing and what I can do better.
Please note, to better serve the residents of Meadville, I have added an office at 908 Diamond that is open every Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Meadville satellite office is a place where constituents can go to let me know what's on their mind and to learn about the services available to them through the federal government.
Remembering our Fallen Soldiers
On Memorial Day, our nation honored those fallen soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect and defend America. The 3rd District lost two young soldiers this year, and I ask that you keep their families in your prayers as they continue to grieve their tremendous loss. May God bless the eternal souls of these brave young men and give comfort to all who loved them.
U.S. Army Cpl. Jarrid King of Harborcreek Township Jarrid was 20 years old when he was killed on January 12 in Afghanistan's Ghazni province after insurgents attacked his unit with a roadside bomb. Jarrid was assigned to the 7th Engineer Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
U.S. Army Capt. Joshua McClimans of Jamestown Joshua was 30 years old when he was killed on April 22 as he was on his way to work at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost province near Kabul. Joshua served as a nurse with the 848th Forward Surgical Team based in Twinsburg, Ohio.