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Public Statements

Column: This Week in Washington


Location: Washington, DC

Our ailing economy will not be cured through a single "jobs bill" -- it will take a comprehensive series of measures, all aimed toward removing government barriers to private-sector job growth and tax relief for employers and small businesses.

The House been focused on passing legislation that will create a better environment for job creation since the beginning of this year. On May 26, 2011, the House proposed its Plan for America's Job Creators. I'm proud to report that I have supported fourteen of these measures; but unfortunately, these bills are being blocked in the Senate.

Nonetheless, this week, the House continued its mission to peel away excessive, burdensome regulatory barriers to job creation and economic growth.

EPA Boiler MACT Rules

The Obama administration has publicly listed a total of 219 new job-killing regulatory actions under consideration for the upcoming year, each of which would have an estimated cost to our economy of $100 million or more, indicating that seven of those regulations would have an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion each in job-destroying costs for job creators.

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new Boiler MACT (maximum achievable control technology) rules are exceedingly complex and unduly onerous. Together, these four rules span 276 pages and impose control and monitoring standards for 11 subcategories of boilers and process heaters that vary by design and fuel type. These rules require boiler owners to conduct emissions testing and comply with complex control standards. Hospitals, factories, universities, farms, and thousands of major American employers will be directly impacted by these rules.

EPA officials have estimated that the cost of implementing these rules will be $9.5 billion. A recent study prepared by IHS Global Insight puts the figure at more than $14 billion with over 230,000 jobs at risk. Another study by the American Forest and Paper Association had concluded that for the forest products sector alone, the final Boiler MACT rules put at risk over 20,000 jobs, or 18% of the entire workforce, for U.S. pulp and paper mills.

Importantly, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, H.R. 2250, would alleviate the excessive regulatory burden placed on Minnesota employers by the EPA's Boiler MACT rules by replacing them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs. The House passed this important legislation yesterday with bipartisan support.

Free Trade Agreements

The bipartisan effort to pass the three free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, which will help America's farmers, businesses and manufacturers increase our exports and create jobs, represents a good step in the right direction. These FTAs will create jobs at home in Minnesota without costing taxpayers a dime and will level the playing field for American exports and boost demand for our products.

Importantly, the TAA legislation passed by the House provides government benefits to American workers whose jobs are displaced because of foreign trade. TAA has been in existence since 1962, but Wednesday's vote secured the program at an incredible bargain. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the legislation would have a discretionary cost of $171 million over the 2012-2021 period. Also, CBO estimates the bill would reduce revenues and direct spending by nearly identical amounts over the 2012-2021 period by approximately $1.8 billion (the bill is offset). On balance, CBO estimates that the TAA legislation would reduce deficits over the 2012-2021 period by $6 million.

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More Jobs for Minnesota

I am committed to taking every possible step to improve conditions for private sector job creation in the Eighth District and to get our economy back on track so that America's workers and business owners can do what they do best: create, innovate and lead. We must focus on removing government barriers to private-sector job creation and the pursuit of pro-growth tax relief.

Less than a year ago, President Obama warned that -- if Congress failed to prevent tax hikes -- Americans would "see it in smaller paychecks" and "fewer jobs." Unfortunately, the President's jobs bill is a big missed opportunity to get something done, and it's only divided Americans. There are some good provisions in the bill that I would support.

Specifically, I am in favor of Davis-Bacon wage provisions to protect working families' take home pay and a requirement that only American-made steel is used for stipulated infrastructure projects. I also support airport improvement, modernization of air traffic control systems, highway and Indian reservation infrastructure funding provisions, and reallocation of communication platforms for first responders and public safety.

Both parties need to find common ground on job creation. I look forward to working with my House colleagues to finding common-sense solutions for private-sector job creation, and to continue passing jobs bills supported by both Republicans and Democrats.

Iran Terror Plot

The indictment unsealed this week demonstrates that Iran, the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, is now targeting the United States for attack -- this is an alarming development. Since coming to Congress, Iran has been a top focus of our work on the Counterterrorism and Intelligence subcommittee. In July, Chairman Meehan held a hearing on the influence of Iran and its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, in the Western Hemisphere, which shed light on Iran's influence around the world, including along the Southern Border. Unfortunately, this case is the culmination of many of the issues we examined. I commend the DEA, FBI and other members of the intelligence community for their diligent work in keeping our Nation safe. We must remain vigilant and attentive as American continues its War on Terror.

Next Week

I will be conducting two town hall meetings open to the public next week. These discussion forums afford essential dialogue with my Eighth District constituents who entrusted me to serve this office. I encourage you to attend.

Tuesday, October 18th
Freddie's Restaurant
7:30-8:30 p.m.
Mora, MN

Wednesday, October 19th
M State, Wadena campus
7:00-8:00 p.m.
Wadena, MN

I will also be joining with my House colleagues Dan Benishek M.D. (MI-1), Sean Duffy (WI-7), and Reid Ribble (WI-8) for the Forestry Policy Conference in Rhinelander, WI. Industry leaders and others interested in forestry issues will convene in a unique effort to highlight current policies impacting national forests and discuss opportunities that will allow better utilization of forest resources across the four congressional districts represented. To RSVP, please contact Mary May at 651-237-8220; or toll free at 888-563-7390; or by e-mail

Mobile Offices

Each Friday, members of my staff will head out from my three district offices in North Branch, Duluth and Brainerd to hold what are known as mobile offices. If you have a question about federal benefits or a question regarding your dealings with a federal agency, please stop by at the given locations at the times listed so you can speak with one of my staff. The list of mobile offices for next Friday, October 21 can be found here. As always, you can also reach my casework staff by phone at (651) 237-8220, or toll free at 1-888-563-7390.

It is my privilege to have provided my constituents access to mobile offices in over 110 Minnesota cities since entrusted to this office.

Commitment to Constituent Outreach

It is my duty to provide my 8thDistrict constituents unprecedented access to their representative to Washington. To date, this responsibility has amounted to thirteen town hall meetings, nine tele-town halls, mobile offices in over 110 different cities, numerous roundtable discussions, and three permanent district offices where we conduct office hours -- anyone is able schedule an appointment. My primary focus is to create more jobs for the 8th District; I look forward to continuing this conversation with my constituents.

Social Media

One of the best ways you can keep up to speed with what I'm doing in Congress is through social media. I encourage you to follow me on Facebook and on Twitter.

Rest assured, I will remain an independent, conservative voice in Washington; I promise to uphold the fiscally conservative principles the people of the 8th District entrusted upon me. It is a privilege serving you as your elected representative to Congress.

Very truly yours,


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