By Congressman Leonard Lance)
The U.S. Senate recently acted in a bipartisan fashion to reject the President Obama's $447 billion jobs proposal -- a package of tax cuts for employers and employees, unemployment benefits, infrastructure spending, various government spending "stimulus" measures and higher taxes on upper-income individuals, families and small businesses.
In light of the Senate's action I believe the time is now for President Obama and leaders in the U.S. House and Senate to put aside partisanship and instead agree upon pro-growth policies that have broad, bipartisan support.
There are some elements of the President's proposal that I believe could garner bipartisan support in both the House and Senate: the extension of a payroll-tax cut in 2012; passage of a highway bill; changes to help the long-term unemployed.
Another example of bipartisan cooperation in Washington is the cooperative efforts of both the House and Senate that led to recent passage of a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American farmers, companies and manufacturers to sell their products in Panama, Colombia and South Korea. On a level playing field, where our products do not face higher tariffs than imports from other countries, New Jersey businesses will thrive.
Other bipartisan alternative measures that may more effectively create private-sector jobs include real tax code reform and new tax policies that encourage hard-work, innovation and investment while making American companies more competitive internationally.
We must close loopholes and carve-outs, lower individual and corporate tax rates and make the tax code simpler and less burdensome. And Congress must pass measures to provide our Nation's job-creators with the tools they need to invest in plants, equipment and workers -- this includes rejecting job-killing tax increases.
There is bipartisan support for sensible regulatory reform to help spur economic growth and make America more competitive in the global marketplace. Business owners should spend their time investing in their companies and creating new jobs rather than fighting cumbersome rules and regulations.
Health care reform can lead to job creation. We should examine fiscally responsible reforms that include allowing insurance to be sold across state lines, establishing high-risk insurance pools, implementing medical malpractice reforms and prohibiting insurance companies from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions. These health care policies will lower health care costs, expand access and protect jobs.
We need a national energy plan that makes us less dependent on foreign oil and uses American resources to ensure reliable and affordable energy. In the Energy and Commerce Committee we are working in a bipartisan capacity toward an energy plan that creates American energy and American jobs.
Finally we must build upon the bipartisan Budget Control Act that cuts government spending more than it raises the debt cap, puts in place spending cuts that restrain future spending and advances the cause of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. It's time Washington began to live within its means as New Jersey working families must do.
I am focused on working in a bipartisan capacity on solutions that bring more opportunities to the job market and more certainty to our economy while addressing larger proposals for tax reform and debt reduction.