Weekly Columns

In a matter of days, all 535 members of Congress will be returning to Washington after a five-week state and district work period. There is a great deal of work that remains to be done and very little time to accomplish it all. The wildcard in the equation is what Senate Majority Harry Reid will do.  Will he focus on the real issues at hand or will he squander the few precious weeks we have remaining in this session of Congress? 

Visiting with Arkansas, it’s clear that jobs and the economy remain at the top of their priorities. And while no elected official can create jobs on his or her own, Washington has the ability to create an environment to help. And every elected official in America should wake-up each morning and ask the same question: What will I do today to help create jobs? 

However, because of Majority Leader Reid’s fear of losing his party’s control of the chamber, little has been done on this front in the Senate.  Instead, our schedule has been focused on debating bills that have no chance of passing and are merely offered for political messaging purposes. With the Senate returning to Washington, the Majority Leader has a chance to change course and bring up for a vote legislation I support to create jobs and put our economy on the path to success. 

Over 40 job creating bills have been passed by the House and are currently sitting on the Majority Leader’s desk. The full list is available at www.Speaker.gov/JOBS but among the highlights are: 

  • The Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3): Approves the Keystone Pipeline, opening the door for massive job creation needed to complete the project, along with the long-term jobs and economic growth it will create.
  • The Energy Consumers Relief Act (H.R. 1582): Subjects the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to common-sense oversight before it imposes new regulations that hurt job growth and increase costs on Americans, such as the President’s Cap and Trade proposal.
  • The Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act (H.R. 2009): Stops the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from implementing Obamacare, which is making it harder for small businesses to stay afloat and is restricting hiring in many companies.
  • Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (H.R. 367): Requires Congressional approval of any new regulation with an economic cost of at least $100 million. 

While there may be disagreement on the merits of the bills, at least the Speaker and the House have been focused on putting Americans back to work. Meanwhile, the Senate Majority Leader has spent the better part of this year catering to his party’s base and pushing policies that would do more harm to the economy than help.   

There still is time to change course. My fear is given that we are a few months away from election day, Senate Majority Leader Reid will continue to place politics over solutions.