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Let's Stay Focused on the Economy


Location: Washington, DC

In recent weeks it seems too many in Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike, would rather focus on issues other than what's most important -- our economy.

Across East Alabama folks are still hurting and are more interested in seeing our unemployment rate fall from 7.3 percent. At least Alabama is doing a little better than the national average of 8.1 percent.

When the national unemployment number was recently released, President Obama called it "good news,' but why?

Our economy has been at or above an 8 percent unemployment rate for the last 39 months. That is a total of over three years. I believe we must not allow our expectations to fall with regard to what is good economic news. 115,000 new jobs in April? Good news for those who got a job, but not the 250,000 jobs needed to grow.

How about an unemployment rate falling to 8.1%? Also not good enough, especially because more Americans simply gave up looking for work.

The past two weeks have been very focused on social issues, such as same sex marriage, instead of the main target of creating and keeping good-paying jobs for folks across the United States and reining in government spending that does not do enough to help boost our economy.

Unfortunately one area of government that does help our economy, but is facing unsustainable reductions, is the Department of Defense.
As of writing, this week the House will consider H.R. 4310, The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I was proud to contribute to this important piece of legislation that helps rebalance the Defense budget to be more consistent with the threats our country faces. It also helps keep faith with our men and women uniform and those that have served.

Some of the defense cuts proposed by the Obama Administration would have not only cost many folks good-paying jobs, but more importantly would have weakened our national defense to the point it could threaten our ability to respond to threats.

The Defense Department is not above budget scrutiny. But defense spending is very different from other Federal spending and it has a direct effect on our economy.

Here in East Alabama, we are proud of our military and contribute mightily to it. We must stay focused on improving our economy and creating and keeping our jobs without risking our national security.

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