Since being elected to Congress, my top priority has always been adopting policies that will lead to the creation of private sector jobs for the hardworking individuals and families of Virginia's Fifth District. With the unemployment rate in many Central and Southside Virginia localities still exceeding the national rate, government-created obstacles to economic growth are unacceptable. My colleagues in the House and I have passed numerous pieces of legislation as a part of our agenda to improve the environment for job creation; however, our bills remain stuck in the U.S. Senate, awaiting action.
While I am encouraged that Friday's monthly jobs report found that our economy added jobs last month, we also saw a number of discouraging economic indicators last week. The jobs report shows that over 800,000 people dropped out of our labor force in April, reducing the labor force participation rate to a 35-year low of 62.8%. We learned that our GDP grew by a sluggish 0.1% in the first quarter of 2014, and a new study came out finding that China is poised to overtake the United States as the world's largest economy, a position the U.S. has held since 1872.
The bottom line is that our rate of recovery from the economic downturn is well below where it should be, and Fifth District families are suffering as a consequence of our lackluster economy. As I travel across the Fifth District, I hear from family farmers, community bankers, and business leaders that the excessive government red tape and overregulation coming out of Washington are hurting them and stifling their ability to grow. We need to free our Main Street businesses from the burdens of unnecessary government regulations so they can succeed and generate the jobs we need to uplift our struggling economy. We need pro-growth policies that entrust our private sector businesses to be the drivers of our economy, and not the federal government. This continues to be our priority in the House, but in order to see the action we so desperately need, the Senate and the Administration must also work with us. We in the House have sent 238 pro-growth bills, including two bills that I authored, to the Senate that would help kick-start our economy, but the Senate must act in order to turn our economic fate around.
I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in this effort so that we may pave the way for our small businesses and family farms to create much-needed jobs and stimulate economic growth.
If you need any additional information, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.