By Congressman Luke Messer
---- — I was raised by a single mom who still works at the Delta Faucet factory in Greensburg. Like many Hoosier families, the end of the month wasn’t always easy for us. Sometimes, there were more days left in the month than money in the bank. But, my mom taught my brother and me the value of hard work, the importance of setting goals and never giving up. Because we lived in America, she knew we could accomplish anything we set our minds to.
Sadly, many Americans do not believe that’s the case anymore. A recent Bloomberg Poll found 64-percent of Americans say the U.S. no longer offers everyone an equal chance to get ahead. Some blame the income gap. But, that’s only part of the problem. Our most pressing challenges are shrinking paychecks, a lack of good paying jobs and government overreach.
Despite the President’s rhetoric, he’s not tackling these challenges. Instead, the Obama Administration’s policies are leaving the middle class behind. Last week’s jobs report showed 3.8 million Americans have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. The President’s solution is to extend unemployment benefits. This may help a few people temporarily. But, instead of focusing on economy growing, job creating solutions, the President wants us to accept a stagnant economy and higher unemployment as the “new normal.”
House Republicans reject this idea, and we are working to do something about it. The House has passed dozens of bills that would help the unemployed find work and spur economic growth. Most of these bills continue to languish in the U.S. Senate under the threat of a Presidential veto.
Spiking energy costs have hit many Hoosier families in the pocketbook and at the gas pump. That’s why the House passed the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, and the Northern Route Approval Act. Both bills promote America’s energy independence and create tens of thousands of jobs. March 12th marked 2,000 days since the first permit for the Keystone XL pipeline project was submitted for approval. Currently, 24 applications for U.S. exports of natural gas are sitting at the U.S Department of Energy waiting for a green light. These delays increase domestic energy costs and shrink paychecks.
Equally troubling, this Administration’s regulatory policies are drowning small businesses in red tape. Last week, the House passed 14 bills to eliminate or reform burdensome laws and regulations and increase government transparency. The estimated cost of federal regulations in the U.S. is $1.806 trillion annually. That’s 11.6 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These excessive regulations waste taxpayer dollars and create unnecessary hurdles to economic growth and job creation.
Worse yet, the President’s health care law is a job killing disaster. Some Hoosiers are seeing their work hours cut and many are facing skyrocketing health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. The Congressional Budget Office predicts the Affordable Care Act will shrink the workforce by the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs by 2024. It’s time for the President to stop circumventing Congress and making piecemeal changes to the law. This uncertainty is making it harder for employers to hire new workers and keep the ones they have. We need to go line by line through the President’s health care law and get rid of the failures that are hurting the economy and holding back real progress toward making health care more affordable.
It’s time to get Washington out of the way at the doctor’s office, in the job market and at the gas pump. We need real reforms that will truly help Americans, like my mom, who are working hard every day to make ends meet.