U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, today introduced his American Energy Renaissance Act (see S. 2170) as an amendment to replace job-killing minimum wage legislation. Sen. Cruz's American Energy Renaissance Act will spark economic growth and create jobs for American families.
"Those who are being hurt the most in the Obama economy are the most vulnerable among us -- young people, Hispanics, African-Americans and single moms," Sen. Cruz said. "They are the ones paying the price for the great stagnation in which we find ourselves. The undeniable truth is if the president succeeded in raising the minimum wage, it would cost jobs from the most vulnerable."
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that raising the minimum wage could cause the loss of up to one million jobs. Additionally, in March, more than 500 economists, including 3 Nobel laureates, sent a letter to Congress that said: "The minimum wage is a poorly targeted anti-poverty measure" and asked federal policymakers to "examine creative, comprehensive policy solutions that truly help address poverty, boost incomes from work, and increase upward mobility by fostering growth in our nation's economy."
"The discussion before this chamber is whether to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour," Sen. Cruz continued. "But, even if it passed, the real Obama minimum wage is zero dollars and zero cents. Far better than the promise of $10.10 an hour, is $46.98 -- the wage Americans can earn in the oil and gas industry. We ought to come together with bipartisan unanimity to say we will stand with the American people to bring millions of jobs, raise median income and make it easier for people who are struggling to achieve the American Dream. We should all come together and vote on the American Energy Renaissance Act, to remove government barriers and open up new federal lands and resources to develop high-paying, promising jobs that expand opportunity."
Sen. Cruz also noted that minimum wage jobs allow people to get their foot on the first rung of the economic ladder, but if the wage increase is passed, many Americans will lose the chance to work altogether.
In his remarks, the Senator noted how Texans are already reaping the benefits of the American Energy Renaissance, and showing the rest of the nation how our energy resources are creating countless job opportunities, helping once-struggling communities thrive, and sparking personal income growth. For example:
In the 23 counties atop the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas, average wages for all citizens have grown by 14.6 percent annually since 2005.
The top five counties in the Eagle Ford shale have experienced an average 63 percent annual rate of wage growth.
According to the Texas Oil and Gas Association, the industry directly employed 416,000 employees in 2013 who averaged $120,000 a year in wages, and producers paid $11.5 billion in royalties to 570,000 families (about $20,000 per household).
In Texas, the average pay for an entry-level truck driver ranges from $36,000 to $45,000, but rises to $50,000 to $70,000 in the oil field.
The opportunity to flourish can extend all over America, creating up to 1 million jobs, if Washington will simply get out of the way.
In March, Sen. Cruz introduced the American Energy Renaissance Act to take hold of this potential. This legislation would approve the development of the Keystone pipeline and streamline the approval of other energy infrastructure projects, open up more federal lands for development both onshore and offshore, stop federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing, facilitate the expansion of domestic refining capacity, rein in energy regulations, and expand U.S. energy exports.