Another grim Labor Day

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By Congressman Robert Hurt

As we come upon another Labor Day, many across the 5th District are still wondering when we will see the economic recovery and the job creation that was promised to us nearly four years ago.


Instead of a robust recovery, small business expansion, and declining unemployment rates across this country, unfortunately we have seen just the opposite. We have seen national unemployment levels in excess of 10%, thinner margins for small businesses, and historic wage declines. Millions of Americans have stopped looking for work because they are so discouraged by these troubling trends.

Our nation’s unemployment level has remained above 8% for 42 consecutive months and our local unemployment numbers continue to rise at a time when we can least afford it.

When the President took office, he proposed the $831 billion dollar stimulus as his plan to help our economic recovery. This one-time expenditure, he said, was supposed to jump-start our economy and create the millions of jobs that we so desperately needed. The President’s advisors said that if this bill was signed into law, unemployment would never rise above 8%. But nearly four years later, we are still left wondering where our taxpayer dollars have gone as unemployment levels remain devastatingly high both in the 5th District and across this country.

House Republicans have offered a different strategy for ending the nation’s jobs crisis. Since January 2011, the House of Representatives has adopted dozens and dozens of bills that would unleash the power of the private sector. Offering an alternative to the President’s view that the government creates jobs, the House has submitted that it is our local business owners and our small businesses that are the lifeblood of this economy.

The legislation that we have adopted would rein in the size and scope of the federal government and remove Washington as a part of the problem, instead making it a part of the solution.  House-passed legislation, such as the repeal of the President’s health care law, would remove unnecessary and costly regulatory burdens from our job-creators and make it easier for them to hire and expand.  We have also passed legislation that would reduce uncertainty – a top reason why small businesses are unable to hire and expand. House-passed legislation would bring certainty back to our economy by stabilizing the current tax rates that are set to expire, reducing our dependence on foreign oil at a time when fuel prices are crushing job creation, and enacting a sensible regulatory structure that leads to economic growth.

But even as our economy struggles through one of the longest recessions in history, and millions of Americans remain out of work the Senate and the President refuse to work with us.  Dozens of bills passed by the House of Representatives remain stuck, awaiting action in the Senate. The President and the Senate have shown us their solutions, and with all due respect, they have not worked. It is due time that they heed the calls of the American people and follow the House of Representatives’ lead as we continue to adopt commonsense policies that will get our small business owners back on their feet and get people across the 5th District and this country back to work.

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.