Dear Co-Chair Hensarling and Co-Chair Murray:
I understand the task of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is a difficult one, and I commend you all for agreeing to take up this extraordinary challenge. It is my sincere hope that your efforts yield bipartisan solutions that set aside politics and put the economic health of our country first.
Congress has provided you with broad authority to address the nation's record deficits. And while job creation was not explicitly included among your responsibilities, I believe you have a unique opportunity to tackle the complicated job crisis our country is facing without adding to the deficit. After all, the creation and protection of American jobs can and should play an important role in the discussion of any deficit reduction measures. Job growth leads to economic growth, which in turn would improve our government's fiscal health. More jobs means fewer workers will need unemployment benefits; fewer families will depend on assistance to buy groceries, gas, and medicine; and more workers and families will again be able to work toward achieving the American dream.
As you prepared your recommendations, I would like to offer several job-creation suggestions for you to consider.
Tax cuts to help businesses hire American workers. Last year, I proposed a series of tax cuts for businesses in order to spur hiring and growth, including a payroll tax reduction for companies that hired new workers. The goal was to encourage companies--which may have wanted to expand but weren't sure if they could afford it--to add jobs. I encourage you to consider tax relief targeted toward businesses that are putting people back to work and retaining their new employees for at least a year.
Job training to keep our workers and our manufacturers competitive. In March of this year, I held a manufacturing summit in Indianapolis to hear from leaders across Indiana in business, education, and labor about ways to revitalize the manufacturing sector and ensure that it remains a robust source of good-paying jobs. One recurring theme that emerged was that many employers with open positions are having difficulty finding workers with the necessary skills. With unemployment still about 9%, we cannot afford to have unfilled jobs. We also cannot afford to let our workers' skills slip in this increasingly competitive global economy. With this in mind, I worked with many partners, including the National Association of Manufacturers, and introduced H.R. 1325, The AMERICA Works Act. The AMERICA Works Act would help American workers and our manufacturers remain competitive in the global marketplace. It would ensure that workforce training programs are teaching the needs of our employers and are issuing recognized, portable credentials. This bipartisan legislation passed the House of Representatives with more than 400 votes last year and would not increase spending, instead it more efficiently utilizes existing funds to accomplish its purpose.
Level playing-field for American companies. Successfully taking on the issue of currency manipulation is another way to help American businesses compete while also keeping the good-paying jobs we already have. When countries like China are allowed to artificially keep the value of their currency--and the prices of their exports--low, American companies face an unfair fight. Our businesses want nothing more than a level playing field, and given one, I think they can win every time. Addressing this issue, as the House did last year by passing H.R. 2378, The Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, would help keep American jobs and dollars on American soil.
All-in American energy policy. To further ensure we are investing in America and not foreign countries, we must update our country's energy policies The current rate at which we are sending billions of dollars annually overseas in exchange for oil from global actors who do not have our best interests in mind is unwise and unsustainable. We should be encouraging investment in clean and renewable sources like wind and solar that can be produced here by American workers. We should expand the search for natural resources like oil and natural gas available on American territory, and we can use the revenue generated from lease sales for further energy investment and even reducing our deficit.
World-class infrastructure to support economic growth. Finally, infrastructure plays a vital role in securing America's economic future and is also a way to put American back to work right now. Our roads, bridges, and railroads are used to move goods around the country and help support American businesses. rebuilding and investing in our nation's infrastructure should be a top priority. And to maximize the job-creation value of infrastructure investments, we should require the use of American iron and steel in these projects.
I believe that getting Americans back to work is among the best solutions to long-term deficit reduction. Thank you again for taking my views on job creation into consideration as you carry out your duty.
Member of Congress