One year ago today, the Obama administration declared the summer of 2010, "Recovery Summer." Even as the unemployment rate soared to a staggering 9.8 percent, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner penned an out-of-touch oped entitled, "Welcome to the Recovery."
With the unemployment rate still hovering above 9 percent a year later, Democrats are finally singing a different tune. President Obama's former economic advisor Larry Summers this week admitted, "The United States is now halfway to a lost decade." If the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, maybe -- just maybe -- Democrats will stop demagoguing the GOP jobs agenda and join us to advance it.
So far, the White House and congressional Democrats have used a trial and error approach on economic policies. They wasted $1.16 trillion (total cost with interest) on a stimulus project that, by the Democrats' own standards, was a complete failure.
Rather than push another big-spending bill, House Republicans are offering a Plan for America's Job Creators. Common sense tells us if we want to create jobs, we need to empower job creators. For our part, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is using a fine-tooth comb to examine regulations already on the rulebooks to eliminate the red tape that is tying job creators' hands.
This week, we held two hearings to discuss the job-crushing regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. In just one year, the administration has published 3,500 pages of regulations created because of the health care law alone. These regulations have costly consequences. So far, more than 1,300 groups and businesses have been granted waivers because they cannot afford to comply with the law's mandates. Unfortunately, these waivers will soon expire, and job creators tell us they will then be forced to either drop coverage, freeze hiring, or both.
According to the Wall Street Journal, many economists consider increasing oil prices to be the biggest risk to the economy. And yet, the Obama administration continues to ram through its anti-energy agenda. Just last week, American Electric Power Co. announced plans to prematurely shut down five of its power plants as a result of EPA's proposed regulations. House Republicans are considering numerous legislative proposals to rein in the administration's regulatory overreach and stave off these devastating consequences. For example, the House passed the Energy Tax Prevention Act to stop EPA from unilaterally imposing costly greenhouse gas regulations. And the committee is currently considering legislation to require a cumulative economic analysis of EPA's rules to shed greater light on the damaging impacts of these regulations onjobs and energy prices.
While the Obama administration continues to block access to North American energy supplies, House Republicans are pursing policies to strengthen America's energy security, create jobs, and bring prices down at the pump. The North American-Made Energy Security Act will end the administration's obstruction to the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an expansion of an existing pipeline that would bring oil from Alberta, Canada and North Dakota to U.S. refineries. Completion of the pipeline expansion is estimated to bring an additional 1.3 million barrels of oil per day online and directly create 20,000 jobs.
We understand it'll take more than a reduction of regulations to turn around the economy, and Republicans are also working to reduce spending and lower taxes. However, it is critical for this government to first do no more harm and that starts with creating an economic environment conducive to job growth. Last year's Recovery Summer fizzled, but with the right policies, our economy can begin to sizzle once again.