Weekly Columns

It Is Time For The Senate To Act

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Washington, December 14, 2011 | comments

With only two days left to pass a year-end spending bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid continues to play politics with important issues concerning Tennesseans.  By his refusal to bring a bipartisan bill up for a vote, Leader Reid is holding jobs hostage for the American people.  We need to pass the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act because it will strengthen the economy, bring small businesses certainty and get Americans back to work.

Currently the government is running an outrageous trillion-dollar deficit and borrowing about 40 cents out of every dollar we spend. Hardworking taxpayers want relief, but do not want to see Congress put future generations further in debt to pay for current policies.  We can and we must pay for these policies by eliminating wasteful Washington spending.

Our number one focus remains on job creation, and that is why I supported a bipartisan energy project in the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act – Keystone XL – that could create tens of thousands of jobs and is supported by both employers and unions. Keystone XL is an instant job generator and will create energy security in America.

Unfortunately, the president is trying to block the pipeline project because of some objections from environmentalists. In doing this, the president is blocking the creation of thousands of jobs in this country. I believe it is important to find common ground because passing this provision is too important to ignore.

In addition to moving forward with the Keystone XL, we need to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including its Boiler MACT regulations.  The Boiler MACT regulations could cost the manufacturing sector over $14 billion in capital, plus billions more in annual operating costs. Most importantly, it could cost 267,000 jobs across America, over 8,400 of which are in Tennessee. 

By moving forward on bipartisan proposals that approve the Keystone pipeline project and repeal the harmful Boiler MACT regulation, we can create thousands of new jobs, prevent the elimination of thousands more and remove burdens hindering growth. 

The Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act also works to protect Medicare from cuts and preserve access to care for seniors. The legislation prevents a major cut of 27 percent to physicians serving Medicare patients and replaces it with one-percent increase in 2012 and 2013. Even though we still need to repeal the broken sustainable growth rate (SGR), the two-year update is the longest that Congress has provided since 2004, which will give us time to develop a permanent solution. 

Last evening the House passed the Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act.  I ask that the Senate pass this common sense legislation swiftly because it will prevent a tax increase on the middle class, reform unemployment insurance, create jobs, and help small businesses and job creators. 

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