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 for years the economy has limped along. In this environment, it has become increasingly difficult for families to make ends meet. Throughout his presidency, President Obama relied on executive orders and department regulation to advance his agenda. I have seen estimates that by the final months of 2015 President Obama had signed 895 bills into law, while federal regulators had issued 24,478 rules. This bureaucratic style of governing stifled innovation, and led to a slower economic recovery from the 2008 financial market crisis. In addition, studies estimate that the total cost of compliance for all federal government regulations was almost $1.9 trillion dollars, the equivalent of $15,000 per household. 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.
A big step forward on this agenda came with the passage of H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed the House by a vote of 227 to 203 on December 19, 2017 and was signed into law by President Trump. This legislation – which lowered individual tax rates as well as corporate and small business tax rates, will help grow the economy, create jobs, and create greater prosperity for workers. We’ve already seen great benefits from the law in terms of employee bonuses, wage increases, and shareholder returns, and I expect even more benefits because employers have long-term certainty from the law.
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.
With government over-regulation stifling economic growth, it is essential that Congress has a tool to slow the growth of the regulatory state and make government more accountable to the people. To encourage an environment of economic opportunity, I was proud to vote for H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This legislation passed the House by a vote of 237 to 187 on January 5, 2017 and would require congressional approval of major executive branch regulations that will have an economic impact of more than $100 million. Through legislation like this, Republicans are promoting bottom up solutions that empower Americans to pursue economic opportunity.
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 promote job creation. I applaud President Trump for his willingness to advocate for American interests abroad and will continue working with him to grow our economy. One way we can do this is by opening new markets for American goods and services across the world 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 thereby 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 in current and new markets.
There is no question that some countries, like China, have engaged in trade practices that are inherently unfair to American businesses and they must be held accountable. I believe the president is right to fight against unfair trade practices from these countries – particularly China – but it should be done in a way that does not harm American companies that rely on the free flow of goods from foreign markets. Americans can compete – and thrive – in the global marketplace when trade is free and fair.
I believe tariffs implemented in response to unfair trade practices should be targeted as much as possible because the retaliation other countries are considering in response will harm other sectors of the American economy and potentially cause widespread harm to our regional economy. Our manufacturing sector in East Tennessee is robust, and we continue to see jobs returning across the state. We must ensure our trade policies continue to support this economic revitalization.