If America is to grow and compete again, Americans must have jobs. Yet, President Obama, his federal agencies, and the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate are not doing the things necessary to create jobs. American financial institutions and American businesses are collectively sitting on over $3 trillion in cash unwilling to invest or reinvest in our economy because of the uncertainty coming from our federal government. Excessive regulation, unchecked spending, government mandates on health care, and a punitive tax code have shut-down America's economic engine.
As I traveled throughout the First Congressional District this month, I heard repeatedly from fellow Kentuckians: "What is Washington doing about jobs?" Unemployment continues to hover around nine percent, and forecasts are that those numbers will hold and diminish only slightly in the next couple of years, unless we take aggressive steps to change the trend. In the House of Representatives, we have already taken several steps to protect and grow jobs in the economy.
Many of the jobs related bills the House has passed are tied toward meeting our growing energy demands. I advanced these bills through the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which I chair, and they would collectively create or protect over 1.5 million jobs. They include: H.R. 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act, which could produce up to 1 million barrels of oil per day and create more than 50,000 American jobs; H.R. 1938, The American-Made Energy Security Act, which speeds up completion of the Keystone XL pipeline that could create more than 100,000 jobs; and H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which stops EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, protecting 1.4 million jobs.
While we must protect existing jobs, we must create new ones. The House will shortly take up legislation to protect existing jobs by delaying or barring implementation of what has been called the coming "train wreck" of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations affecting the electricity and industrial sectors. Cumulatively, some 7.5 million jobs are threatened by these regulations.
Many analysts agree that a quick way to improve job growth is for Congress to pass pending Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Columbia, Panama and South Korea. Government estimates are that some 380,000 domestic jobs are at stake if we fail to pass these agreements, and that another 75,000 new jobs could be created if we do pass them. As an example, one business in our area has told me of their challenges in exporting their products to Columbia, where the buyer would face a 10% tariff, as opposed to no tariff if the buyer purchased from a company within the European Union. But President Obama still has not submitted these Agreements to Congress for our action.
Another means to encourage job growth is to incentivize businesses, through the tax code, to expand and hire workers. This has been tried in the past, and it has been effective, but businesses need some assurance that the incentives will be there for more than a year, and to date this Administration has favored only short term support. We need to consider longer term policy, looking at five year windows rather than one year at a time.
Closer to home, a bill I have sponsored and which has passed out of my subcommittee would help protect some 1200 jobs at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, by re-enriching waste uranium tails while generating money for the government and reducing environmental disposal requirements.
While Labor Day is often a time to celebrate the end of summer, too many families this year are counting it as another day without a job. These are a few examples of what we must do to protect jobs, and to create new ones. The House of Representatives has led in passing legislation to advance these goals, and what we need is for this President and the Senate to do the same.