I am pleased that President Obama continues to focus on jobs and the economy. And, I agree that America's strength and future depends on creating jobs and growing our economy. Without question, these are particularly difficult times and both parties must be willing to work together to solve the problems confronting our nation.
It is my sincerest hope that as this Congress comes together we will find common ground on solutions that create jobs, strengthen the middle class and restore fiscal responsibility.
While there continue to be positive signs of an improving economy, millions of people are still out of work or struggling pay their bills. North Carolina is still suffering with an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent. And, since the economic recession began in 2007, North Carolinians have lost nearly 273,000 jobs, including nearly 98,000 manufacturing jobs.
Clearly, there is still much more work that needs to be done, and I support making wise investments to educate our people and to spur innovation. A crucial part of restoring our economy and recovering secure, middle class jobs is rebuilding American manufacturing.
History clearly shows that manufacturing helped America build the strongest economy in the world, and it has provided solid incomes for generations of middle-class families.
Over the past year, North Carolina companies have actually added 2,600 manufacturing jobs. Across the country, the number of manufacturing jobs grew by 1.2% - or 136,000 jobs - over the past year for the first time since 1997. We must build on this success if we are going to secure a strong future for our children and grandchildren.
As this Congress gets underway, it must work to restore the faith that the "American Dream" is alive and well, and that each of us can succeed with hard work. We must restore that confidence, which is so necessary for the growth of our economy.
Congress must also come together to help restore America's position as one of the world's manufacturers.
Toward that end, I will be strongly supporting legislation that:
Closes tax loopholes that encourage outsourcing U.S. jobs overseas.
Provides tax credits to help small businesses hire new employees and sell their products and innovation overseas.
Boosts incentives to create American clean energy jobs like making state-of-the-art wind turbines and solar panels - paid for by ending corporate welfare to Big Oil.
Strengthens rules that U.S. and its contractors buy American, especially to build transportation, energy and communications infrastructure.
Demands that China and other countries honor fair trade principles or lose American business.
Gives incentives to hire and retrain America's returning veterans for new clean energy jobs.
And, strengthens partnerships with businesses to retrain America's workers.
Rebuilding America's manufacturing strength is one of the toughest challenges our country faces, and one of the most important to meet - because the foundation of innovation rests directly on our ability to manufacture products here in America.
Success will require hard work, sacrifice and bipartisan support, but it would mean laying the foundation for American strength and competitiveness for many years to come. Toward this end, I support the President's call to take responsibility for our deficits, investing only in what makes America stronger and reforming our government so that it's leaner and smarter for the 21st century.
I believe in America and the American people, and I know that together we can succeed in meeting our many challenges.
Thank you very much.
Very truly yours,
G. K. Butterfield
Member of Congress