Weekly Columns

Labor Day

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Washington, August 28, 2013 | Tiffany McGuffee (202-226-8072) | comments

On Monday we observe Labor Day. This federal holiday originated as a day to pay tribute to the contributions of the American worker and their achievements. Unfortunately, 7.4 percent of the population remains unemployed this Labor Day. In the state of Tennessee, things are even worse—in July, the unemployment rate was 8.5 percent, much higher than the national average.

Since President Obama took office, the average duration of unemployment has almost doubled from 19.8 weeks to 35.6 weeks. But the president still advocates for economic policies that hurt, not help, the middle class—pushing for a top-down energy plan, doubling down on a health care reform law that will result in higher premiums, and implementing new regulations on construction and manufacturing employers. Since 2009, we have lost 742,000 construction jobs and 592,000 manufacturing jobs. Just last month, the president visited the great state of Tennessee to discuss his plan for the middle class. He mentioned energy, calling for jobs in wind, solar and natural gas and touting the “success in doubling America’s use of wind, solar and geothermal energy.” Unfortunately, he consistently fails to mention how we can make better use of our most abundant and utilized resources, like oil, natural gas and coal.

I’ve spent the month of August traveling around the First District to meet with job creators and I’ve hosted a series of town hall meetings. For many East Tennesseans, the recession isn’t over. Hardworking families are still struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. For these families, they’re seeing their health care premiums increasing at unsustainable rates, the cost of food and gas continuing to rise and their taxes being increased.  House Republicans have made jobs and the economy our top priority and have set about to reverse these policies that are harming families.

When Congress returns to Washington in September, there is a lot of work to be done. We must decide how to fund government operations for the next year when the current continuing resolution expires on September 30th. And earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Lew notified Congress that the United States would hit the debt ceiling by mid-October, earlier than previously estimated. One thing is certain: we cannot continue to tax, borrow and spend our way to a better future. Out-of-control spending is one of the most significant threats to American prosperity. For too long, lawmakers from both parties have been irresponsible with your tax dollars, amassing a national debt of more than $16.7 trillion. This Congress, House Republicans have succeeded in cutting spending back to 2008 levels, but it’s time to do more.

Under President Obama alone, the debt has increased by more than 50 percent. Our economic problems may not be solved overnight, but the answer to them is simple: we must cut spending, balance our budget and get Americans back to work.

As the month of August comes to a close, I’d like to personally thank each and every constituent that took time out of their busy schedules to come to one of my many town hall meetings, to call or email my office to express your views or allowed me visit your workplace or business. Tennesseans are truly incredible, hardworking people and I am so proud to call East Tennessee home.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family.
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