By Rep. James Renacci
During the past several weeks, I have been traveling throughout the 16th District meeting with families and all types of businesses owners. People are understandably upset about the current state of the economy as a whole, and the job market in particular.
Ohio's unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent in July, up slightly from 8.8 percent in June. In many parts of Northeast Ohio, that number is significantly higher. The question I keep hearing is, "When are we going to get a jobs bill passed in Congress?"
Some are calling for another round of stimulus spending. As you may recall, the previous Congress spent roughly $850 billion dollars on one massive bill in early 2009 because -- we were told -- government "investment" would create jobs, keeping the national unemployment rate below 8 percent.
August marks the 31st month we have been above that number, a sure sign the stimulus did not achieve its desired result. The vast majority of Americans agree we must change course if we want our economy to recover fully.
There is another way to grow our economy, one that has proven successful before. Over the past seven months, my colleagues and I in the House of Representatives have worked to rein in runaway spending and pull back the growing tangle of federal regulations.
Government spending is crowding out investment in the private sector and replacing it with job destroying uncertainty. In response, every major piece of legislation that has passed the House this year has contained significant spending cuts.
We understand small business owners will not hire and they will not expand if they believe today's spending spree will be paid for with higher taxes tomorrow.
On the regulatory side, we have passed legislation like the North American-Made Energy Security Act and the Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act. They begin the process of cutting through the bureaucracy and red tape currently preventing us from accessing our own domestic energy reserves.
We also have passed the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act. That bill instructs the House committees to review existing, pending and proposed regulations, particularly with respect to their effect on jobs and economic growth. With over 45,000 pages of new regulations added to the books just this year, we certainly have plenty of places to look.
The unfortunate reality is that many in our nation's capital are more interested in scoring political points than they are in leading and making the tough decisions required. Almost all of the pro-jobs legislation passed in the House sits idly in the Senate awaiting a vote there.
Now is the time for us to come together, learn from our mistakes and work toward real, sustainable job growth. I am willing to work with Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.
But we must unleash the private sector and scale back government. It is past time for Washington to step aside and let the real American job creators take over.