Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to the Delta Grassroots Caucus at their meeting in West Helena, Arkansas. It was encouraging to see so many people gathered together to support the Mississippi River Delta region.
As Co-Chairman of the Mississippi River Delta Congressional Caucus and as a past President of the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association, I have long been involved with fighting for the Delta.
The past few years have been particularly hard on the Delta region. In times like these, it's critical for government, business and community leaders to come together and work to rebuild our neighborhoods and communities. These coalitions of leaders must also continue working together in recovery efforts to secure a brighter future for communities and families throughout the Delta region.
Now, more than ever, our country must refocus its attention back to the middle class and working families if we are ever going to get this economy going again. This is how we help the Delta grow. And, this is how we get America moving again. My number one priority is and has always been keeping jobs in this country and putting hard-working Americans back to work.
We must do everything we can to continue our economic recovery. While there is still work to be done, our country has gone from losing an average of 750,000 jobs per month at the height of the recession to creating approximately 4.5 million jobs over the past three years; and the stock market is back up. By continuing our economic recovery, we give employers the confidence they need to expand and hire more workers.
As we focus on jobs, we must also continue our work on reducing the debt and deficit. Our current massive budget deficits and historic national debt are serious issues and we must get our nation's fiscal house back in order as soon as possible.
While spending cuts are important and necessary, I also believe another effective way to reduce our deficit is to put more Americans back to work in the private sector. When more Americans are working, more are paying taxes, and less are dependent on government programs and services. In order for our progress on deficit reduction to continue, we must stabilize and strengthen our economy.
However, I do not think there is one silver bullet, one plan or a single piece of legislation that alone will speed this process up. In fact, there is only so much government can do, even during tough economic times. Job creation and economic recovery will ultimately depend on the cooperation of governments at all levels, the private sector and local communities.
While I am working hard to help our economy recover and get our nation's fiscal house back in order, our work is not yet done. I will continue to support and advocate for commonsense, bipartisan policies that support small businesses and encourage private sector job growth. And, rest assured, I will continue to do everything I can to help the Delta region because farmers, families and small businesses in the Delta have been the backbone of the American economy for generations.