2012 is off to a busy start and Congress has returned for its second session. Unfortunately, as our economy continues to limp along, there still seems to be too much "business as usual" around our nation's capital.
For example, let's look at the budget. Every family across East Alabama lives by its income and expenses. That's why it's troubling that January 24th marked 1,000 days since a budget has been passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate. Americans are left scratching their heads knowing Congress can do better.
Meanwhile, here in Alabama the unemployment rate has been going down. That seems to be good news, which we all hope means more people are finding work. Of course, there continues to be new layoffs as well, leaving even more people suffering and asking "where are the jobs?'
Jobs have to be our nation's number one priority in 2012. In the House, Republicans have passed 27 bipartisan bills which are part of the Plan for America's Job Creators, but all of these bills are still sitting idle in the Senate. Let's get those bills passed.
One of them deals with a once-obscure energy independence and jobs project called the Keystone Pipeline XL. This pipeline, designed to carry oil from Canada to refineries in the U.S., is estimated to create thousands of jobs.
It also would help increase our energy independence by lowering the amount of oil we need to import from countries that may not have our best interests at heart.
I hope President Obama ends his opposition to the project and instead helps our country become even more energy independent while helping get Americans back to work.
And as February begins, I hope we will all take time to acknowledge Black History month.
East Alabama is rich in history of great African Americans and was honored by the recent premier of the movie "Red Tails' about the brave Tuskegee Airmen.
We will continue to honor them and all of our civil rights leaders who have made a difference.