Nearly four years ago, the Obama Administration promised us that their economic policies would keep unemployment under 8%. Last week's September jobs report showed that it's taken them 44 months to get there -- while the drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8% is welcome news, it's a reminder that we remain mired in the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.
Despite all the spin from the Obama Administration touting the "strength" of the jobs report, the facts are clear: Twenty-three million Americans find themselves out of work or can only find part-time work; one half of recent college graduates remain unemployed or underemployed; and during the second quarter of 2012, our economy grew by a paltry 1.3%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. These numbers are not the hallmarks of a strong economy, and they stand in stark contrast to the Obama Administration's 2009 projection that the unemployment rate would be approximately 5.6% right now if we passed the trillion dollar stimulus bill.
President Obama and his liberal allies have attempted to spend, tax, and regulate our way to a better economy, and it hasn't worked. It's time we implement policies to put America back to work. One way to do that is to take advantage of the vast amount of energy resources we have right here in America. The 23rd District is fortunate to include portions of the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale, two of the most prolific oil and gas production areas in the country. According to a recent study, production at Eagle Ford alone contributed $25 billion in economic output and supported 47,000 jobs in the region during 2011. The potential for further growth and job creation in the Eagle Ford region and Permian Basin are tremendous, and we must ensure that the economic opportunities afforded to the residents of those areas are not denied.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and its environmental extremist allies do not share this view. Federal agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Interior, have issued countless regulations that threaten jobs in Texas and around the country. Take the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard for example. In late 2010, the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service proposed placing the lizard, whose habitat includes the Permian Basin, on the endangered species list. Such a listing would have effectively shut down oil and gas production in the Permian Basin and cost countless jobs. I am proud to have helped lead the fight in Congress to prevent this listing, and working with private sector partners and other stakeholders we were able to secure a non-listing in June 2012. While we successfully prevented the listing, the amount of time and resources it took to prevent the listing could have been better directed at creating jobs and producing energy -- especially in the midst of the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.
The Obama Administration has shown its willingness to put ideology over jobs -- especially jobs in the energy sector. The September jobs report was another reminder of this misguided approach. That's why I am fighting hard in the House of Representatives for pro-growth economic policies, like those that will ensure we can produce more American energy and continue creating good-paying energy jobs here at home, and to ensure that President Obama and his liberal allies do not deny economic opportunities for the residents of the 23rd District.