"Our number one priority remains, and needs to remain, improving our economy," Congressman Tom Reed said today. "Recent economic data showing continued high unemployment across the country and even higher unemployment here in the Southern Tier reinforces to me that we have much more work to do."
Last Friday, the Department of Labor released its January 2013 unemployment report, showing the unemployment rate increased to 7.9 percent. That number is even higher in the Southern Tier, with a 9.8 percent unemployment rate in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties in December 2012.
The Department of Commerce reported last week GDP shrank in the final quarter of 2012, further illustrating the country's lack of economic growth.
Reed also voiced his concern over the White House's decision to shut down the President's Jobs Council. "Eliminating the Jobs Council sends the wrong message to the more than 12 million Americans still looking for work in our country. Jobs remain a top priority for Americans and yet the President's Jobs Council hadn't met in 12 months when he announced it would be shut down. We need the White House to keep working -- we can't give up on those still looking for work."
"Private-sector job growth is the area we should be focusing on," continued Reed. "Tackling our debt, reducing burdensome regulations, reforming the tax code to make it competitive and developing an "all-of-the-above," comprehensive energy policy are key components to growing our private sector."
Congressman Reed says putting pressure on the Senate and White House to produce a budget is a good first step in securing some economic certainty in the coming year. The House voted late last month to require the House and Senate to pass a budget by the April 15th deadline to have their pay withheld and will vote this week to put pressure on the President to submit a balanced budget of his own. "With so much uncertainty surrounding our nation's debt and complexity in the tax code, families and businesses alike are having trouble planning their own budgets. Congress and the President need to pass a budget so that families and small businesses can plan for their own."