As folks across East Alabama and this country know, it is all about the jobs -- keeping the ones we have and creating new ones for folks who have been out of work during these tough economic times.
The last unemployment numbers show that Alabama's unemployment hovers at 9.9 percent and the national unemployment rate sits at 9.1 percent.
This is proof that Congress needs to take action to help the private sector create more jobs.
This past week, the House of Representatives debated two bills on the jobs front, both to help slow job-threatening regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If signed by the President, these bills could prevent the agency from layering additional burdens on our small businesses that could stifle job growth.
H.R. 2681, the Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act, and H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act, stop for over a year some overreaching EPA regulations.
As you are aware, many small businesses, the heartbeat of our local economies, believe they are being over-burdened by regulations. These two bills put specific job-threatening regulations in a holding pattern and require the EPA to go back to the drawing board.
Even EPA has admitted in a letter to Congress that to "calculate standards that fully reflected operational reality" was difficult.
Many folks know we have a big paper mill in Russell County. That plant employs hundreds of workers in good paying jobs. If passed by the EPA, the proposed regulations covering their boilers could hurt these types of mills.
This is just unacceptable. I hope Congress will continue to review regulations that overly burden our small businesses, making it more difficult for them to survive and thrive in this tough economy. This economy won't get back on track until more folks are employed.
People across East Alabama and the United States deserve better and I hope "jobs' will be at the top of the list for Congress and our President.