While traveling the Fourth Congressional District during August, it was clear to me that the top priorities of Kentuckians are jobs and economic growth. The need for these issues to be our top priority is reinforced by the latest jobs report that zero net jobs were created in America last month, and the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high at more than 9 percent.
As lawmakers returned to Washington last week, President Obama addressed a special joint session of Congress to outline his plan to get the economy moving again and create jobs.
I appreciated that the President mentioned the Brent Spence Bridge project. It is a critical infrastructure need for our local economy and safety that also has national economic significance. I have advocated for years for adequate funding and prioritization of this project and look forward to learning more about how the President’s proposal would help get this bridge replaced.
The President again called for passage of the three pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, which would create an estimated 250,000 new American jobs. These agreements were signed more than three years ago. Congress is waiting for him to send them to us to be ratified.
While completion of the Brent Spence Bridge replacement and passage of the free trade agreements would be positive steps for our economy, I was disappointed that the President’s plan focused on the same government spending and borrowing that has failed to deliver the economic recovery and jobs we so desperately need. In fact, half of the spending proposed in the President’s plan is only a continuation of current policy. Continuing to spend borrowed money on the same policies will not work any better and will not create jobs.
We need a better solution that empowers individuals, entrepreneurs and small business owners who can create the jobs needed to put Americans back to work.
Part of the solution, which the President failed to adequately address, is significant regulatory reform to ease the burden of unnecessary regulation and restore certainty for employers. The current regulatory code is out of control and growing. The Obama Administration’s current has 4,257 new regulatory actions in the works.
This week, the House of Representatives will begin voting to repeal unnecessary and costly regulations. This will help remove the cloud of uncertainty hanging over small business owners and entrepreneurs, giving them the confidence to grow their businesses and hire more employees.
We will also focus on reforming the regulatory process going forward. This fall, we will consider the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, legislation I introduced to increase accountability and commonsense in the regulatory process by requiring Congressional approval of the most costly new rules.
Regulatory reform is just one of the ideas that make up the Plan for America’s Job Creators, the House Republican jobs agenda. Now that the President has outlined his ideas, we look forward to seeing the legislative text and evaluating the costs and impact of his plan.