Jobs & Economy
Jobs & Economy
No issue is more important to East Tennessee families than jobs and the economy, and it’s easy to understand why. National unemployment has been elevated since the beginning of the financial crisis, and the economy continues to limp along. In this environment, it has become increasingly difficult for families to make ends meet.
It is absolutely essential for Congress to take steps to improve the business climate and make it easier for businesses to create jobs and grow the economy. I have been proud to join my colleagues in the House of Representatives to advance a pro-jobs agenda.
My principles for growing the economy are simple—we should keep taxes low, eliminate burdensome regulations, keep energy prices low so that businesses can compete, and shrink government so that we can grow the private sector. Some of the pro-growth bills I have voted for in this Congress include:
I have led efforts to hold the Obama Administration accountable for its anti-jobs policies. We have held hearings on issues including overreach at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the impact that the health care law will have on businesses, and on strengthening employee pensions.
As a member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, I have joined with my colleagues to advance legislation that will strengthen our education system, improve workforce training opportunities, and protect workers’ rights. We must move forward in all of these areas to keep the American economy competitive in the 21st Century.
My highest priority in Congress is advancing policies that encourage economic growth and job creation. One way we can do this is by opening new markets for American goods and services abroad through the expansion of free and fair trade. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, more than 126,000 Tennessee jobs— and 12,925 jobs in the First District—are directly supported by exports. By advancing free and fair trade, we can reduce or eliminate barriers created by our trade partners, leveling the playing field for American businesses, farmers, and workers. With 95 percent of the world's consumers living beyond our borders, there are tremendous growth opportunities to sell American products abroad.
There have been concerns about the process and transparency by which potential our potential trade deals are negotiated. For these reasons, I voted in favor of H.R. 2146, the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, which passed the House on June 18, 2015 by a vote of 218 to 208. This legislation, which was signed into law on June 24, allows Congress to have an up-or-down vote on any potential trade agreement, while providing greater accountability, public transparency, and Congressional oversight in the negotiation of future trade deals.
One of my biggest concerns about TPA was giving too much authority to President Obama. That is why this law built more accountability measures into TPA than ever before. Under this agreement, to achieve fast-track status, an administration will have to meet detailed negotiating objectives established by Congress. Members of Congress can review the negotiation texts and sit in on negotiating sessions at will and, for the first time ever, any trade agreement must be made available online for public review at least 60 days before the president signs it. Most importantly, Congress has the final say and any agreement submitted by the president must pass both the House and the Senate to go into effect.
Since the passage of TPA, negotiations have concluded on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a potential free trade agreement between the United States and 11 other countries. Negotiations on TPP concluded on October 4, 2015, and it currently awaits ratification by the U.S. House and U.S. Senate before it can go into effect. While I am still in the process of reviewing TPP, I am pleased that as a result of legislation I supported last year the agreement is fully transparent and any Tennessean can review the text of the agreement online at:
Free and fair trade is important to the American economy, but an agreement like this is too important to get wrong. The devil is in the details, and I will continue to review the agreement, talk with stakeholders and look specifically at how the TPP could affect Northeast Tennessee.
I will continue to promote polices which allow Americans to thrive and compete in a global marketplace.