At a time when uncertainty from Washington has led us to nearly three-and-a-half years of more than 8 percent unemployment nationally, folks in Washington, D.C., are still calling for higher taxes and a bigger federal government that will only lead to more uncertainty.
Just this past week, I traveled along Route 40, stopping in Kenbridge, Victoria, Keysville, Charlotte Court House, Phenix, Brookneal, Gretna, Penhook and Rocky Mount. Having met with local business owners, local officials and families along the way, I can tell you that the private sector is not doing fine in Virginia's 5th District. The resounding message they delivered was that over-regulation and big government policies that have been put forth in Washington, D.C., are strangling their businesses and harming their communities.
We just learned recently that the national unemployment rate is on the rise, and that can certainly be felt in a very real way in Virginia's 5th District. All along Route 40, local business owners relayed to me their concerns with the size of the federal government and their fear that it is on a path to only continue growing larger and larger. They are already tied down with federal regulations, and now they have watched as the president and the Senate, in the past month, have called for higher taxes.
On top of the president's health care taxes, high fuel prices and mountains of new regulations in the past three years, the threat of higher taxes on Dec. 31, 2012, has renewed fears for our small business owners in the 5th District and across the country. One local business owner in Danville recently told me, "This business climate creates the question whether it is worthwhile to take business risks, if the rewards of profit must be handed to the federal government instead of reinvested in my business and staff." And this sums up the sentiment of most that I talk to -- instead of creating jobs, our small business owners are left with thinner and thinner margins as the government continues to take more and more.
But the House has acted to address the tax hike and to improve the economic environment. Just last month, we voted to prevent tax increases for all Americans. And since January 2011, we have been hard at work rolling back unnecessary regulations.
Part of that effort includes a bill that I introduced, the Preserving Rural Resources Act, which passed through committee and can now be considered by the full House of Representatives. This legislation will curb burdensome regulations on our local farmers, saving them thousands of dollars and allowing them to create the jobs our communities need. You can read more about this legislation at hurt.house.gov.
As the House continues its work on reducing uncertainty and making it easier for our small businesses and family farmers to succeed, it is my hope that the Senate and the president will listen to the will of the American people like those that I spoke with along Route 40 this past week. They should heed their calls and join with us in advancing pro-growth policies, like the Preserving Rural Resources Act and like extending tax cuts for all Americans, so we can reignite our private sector, renew this downtrodden economy and get Central and Southside Virginians back to work.