Congressman Robert Hurt
Weekly Column 7/14/14
My top priority in Congress 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 substantially exceeding the national rate, government-created obstacles to economic growth are unacceptable. My colleagues in the House and I have passed dozens of bills as a part of our agenda to improve the environment for job creation; yet, many of our bills remain stuck in the U.S. Senate, awaiting action. Two bills recently passed by the House illustrate what a great opportunity we have to jumpstart the economy if the Senate will join us in that effort.
A key component of our pro-growth jobs plan is an all-of-the-above energy strategy that increases oil and gas production, including off of Virginia’s coast, the expansion of viable alternative energies, as well as conservation. Just last month, the House passed H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act, which expands onshore energy production, encouraging the creation of new jobs, including thousands of jobs in Virginia, and lightening the burden on our hardworking families and small businesses.
Another means of growing our economy and creating jobs includes supporting our Main Street businesses and recognizing that they are truly the engines of economic growth. Government-created uncertainty, such as temporary tax policy that changes from year to year, can hinder their progress and growth. To address this issue, the House recently passed H.R. 4457, America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act, which would make permanent a tax provision that allows small businesses to expense investments in new equipment and property each year. By permanently allowing small businesses to deduct up front these costs, we will strengthen our economy by making it easier for them to invest back into their businesses and relieving these vital job creators from some of their tax compliance costs, which are 65% higher than those of big businesses.
Both of these bills enjoyed bipartisan support in the House, but have been ignored by the Senate, frustrating those whose see the potential of policies like these to generate the jobs we so desperately need. In recent days however, we may have seen a breakthrough signaling an end to the Senate's inaction on House jobs bills. Last year, the House passed long overdue reform of federal workforce programs. The federal government currently operates 47 different workforce programs, many of which are duplicative or do not produce results. This bill aimed to eliminate ineffective or duplicative workforce training programs and focus our precious resources on the programs that actually help people obtain skills employers are seeking, which will help them get jobs. The Senate finally passed a similar measure a few days ago, and the House concurred with that bill last week, allowing the legislation to advance to the president's desk.
As our country continues to grapple with a national debt of over $17 trillion and with too many Americans out of work, it is crucial that we improve our workforce development programs and put taxpayers’ dollars to better use. I am glad the Senate recognized the need to tackle these issues, and it is my hope they will now consider the scores of other bills we have passed to enhance the environment for job creation - our country's greatest priority.
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.