By Reps. Diane Black and Steve Scalise
America's economy is still struggling after the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Families that are barely getting by, and small businesses that are drowning under seas of red tape, are left wondering why radical policies coming from this administration are acting like a straitjacket holding back their potential.
It's easy to understand why. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 10.5 million Americans remain out of work, and that 3.7 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months.
Far too often, government is the problem, not the solution. Recognizing that, the Republican-led House has passed more than 30 bills to help the private sector create jobs. Instead of acting on these important measures to get Americans back to work. Harry Reid and his liberal lieutenants running the Senate have allowed them to collect dust while American families continue to suffer. Everyone knows that the best cure for unemployment is a good job, but in the failed Obama economy there are too few of those to go around. It's time to chart a new course towards bold ideas to grow our economy and create opportunities for all Americans.
The Jumpstarting Opportunities with Bold Solutions (JOBS) Act is a common-sense plan that features conservative solutions to get our economy back on track and rebuild an America that works. In fact, our proposal builds on the great work already done by members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) in the House of Representatives.
The JOBS Act unleashes the power of American energy, reforms federal labor laws, restores sanity and transparency to the regulatory process, and spurs more investment in small businesses. Our bold ideas create jobs by reining in runaway government expansion and growing the economy - a stark contrast to the Obama Administration's policies that have dramatically grown the size of government, the regulatory burden and the national debt.
By eliminating government barriers to accessing our nation's vast natural resources, we can tap into the potential of the American workforce and create new job opportunities. The state of North Dakota, home to our nation's lowest unemployment rate, is a prime example of that process in action. And it's not just energy jobs that are created by opening up new areas for domestic energy production -- many McDonalds employees in North Dakota can start at more than $15 an hour because of the great demand for workers.
The president's policies are preventing us from accessing America's resources and are keeping us from putting Americans back to work. Tapping our domestic energy resources would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and would decrease our dependence on energy from Middle Eastern countries that don't like us. The JOBS Act promotes energy production by lifting federal restrictions that block exploration of resources on federal lands and waters. By increasing access to abundant, affordable domestic energy we can help America compete globally -- from the high tech sector to auto manufacturing -- allowing outsourced jobs to come back home.
It's not just energy jobs that the JOBS Act helps create -- this bill creates better opportunities for all Americans. This past winter, families and businesses across America paid record heating bills, resulting in less money for food, clothing and other household needs. By ending the Administration's war on coal, the JOBS Act helps relieve the burden of skyrocketing energy costs and gives families more money in their pockets.
In today's global economy, it's not enough to just buy American. We must sell American. Our bill accelerates approval for the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG). This helps open new markets in countries like Ukraine, who would much rather buy natural gas from the United States than from Vladimir Putin and his Russian friends. Enhanced LNG exports not only maintain good jobs here at home, but also build better relationships abroad.
While expanding domestic energy production is important, it's only part of the battle. Without the opportunity to be rewarded for their hard work, workers have little incentive to give it their all. If a union employee works hard, the employer should have the opportunity to reward them with a bonus. Makes sense, right? But that's not the way it works because of senseless laws that protect unions at the expense of hard workers. Currently, employers cannot give bonuses to those employees without first getting permission from union bosses. That's almost beyond comprehension, and punishes hard-working taxpayers. We repeal those ridiculous laws in the JOBS Act.
President Obama's slogan these days is to act with a pen and a phone. Now that he can't impose his radical agenda through Congress, he thinks he can sidestep the law through Executive Orders or Administrative regulations. All too often, the economic consequences of these new rules and regulations are not taken into consideration before they're enacted. President Obama does not have the authority to rewrite laws with his pen, and we restore transparency and accountability in the JOBS Act that is missing from the regulatory process.
Rather than stifling the American Dream with a government-knows-best attitude, Washington needs to unleash the potential of the greatest workforce in the world and allow the economy to take off. Businesses both big and small are eager to grow, expand, and hire more workers. Men and women across the nation are hungry for new opportunities, new jobs, and new challenges. Washington just needs to get out of the way. Passage of the JOBS Act will jump start that process.