Rep. Judy Biggert
@JudyBiggert #JudyBiggert #digitaldebate
My top priority is getting the economy back on track and putting Americans back to work. People are hurting, and even those who have jobs are seeing their budgets pinched by flat salaries, higher taxes, and the ever-growing costs of energy, health care, college tuition, and other bills.
Adding to families’ budget pressures is the looming possibility of automatic, across-the-board federal tax increases at the end of this year. If Congress doesn’t act to extend the temporary tax cuts that have been in place, virtually every American will see an increase in his or her income tax bill. The marriage penalty and death tax will be back in full force, dividend and capital gains taxes will increase, and everyone will pay higher tax rates.
Besides extending the tax cuts, we must remove the obstacles to job creation. From my work with job creators, especially small business owners in our area, it’s clear that economic uncertainty, driven by the policies coming out of Washington, has impeded recovery. From the Administration’s health overhaul to the Dodd-Frank Act, new taxes, new spending, thousands of new rules and regulations, new studies, reports and unanswered questions are adding up to create an environment that limits the availability of credit and makes it harder for small businesses to create more jobs.
To reinvigorate private-sector job creation, we need commonsense tax reform. Simplifying the tax code holds the best potential to create jobs, boost revenue, and increase U.S. competitiveness. By closing loopholes, lowering tax rates, and giving taxpayers some certainty, we can create a pro-growth environment that rewards innovation and job creation.
We also need to end the regulatory nightmare. In 2011 alone, the Administration proposed over 400 new regulations that have the potential to burden job creators with more than $70 billion in new compliance costs. Businesses cannot grow and invest when they face that kind of uncertainty and red tape. That’s why we need to review and defund economically significant regulations that will stifle the ability of businesses to produce more goods and put people back to work.
Over the past year, the House has passed dozens of pro-growth initiatives to reduce job-killing regulations, fix the tax code, and increase competitiveness for American manufacturers. But Senate leaders have refused to even vote on the bills. Leaders in Washington need to quit playing games and make jobs – not politics – the top priority.
Thankfully, there have been some small victories. Earlier this year, for example, Congress passed the JOBS Act with broad bipartisan support. This legislation helps small businesses access the capital they need to expand operations and hire employees, and shows what Congress is capable of when we work together. I hope that the President will join us in similar bipartisan initiatives, such as my legislation reforming flood insurance programs.
@foster4congress #digitaldebate #BillFoster
Spurring job creation and economic growth should be the number one priority of all leaders in Washington. While in college, I helped start a manufacturing business that now provides hundreds of people in the Midwest with good jobs, with good pay and good benefits. I know how important these jobs are to families and to our local economy, and I will fight tirelessly to make America a place that once again builds things – and does not just sell heavily leveraged financial services to the world. While we have made some progress in stopping the huge job losses we saw as a result of the financial meltdown and housing bubble, we are not creating enough jobs to help middle class families. We must do more.
First, we must continue the gains we've seen in the revival of American manufacturing. After manufacturing jobs fell off a cliff from 2000-2008, we've reversed the decline and seen steady growth in the past few years. Tough decisions were made, including rescuing the U.S. automobile industry and providing tax breaks for small manufacturing businesses. But we can and must do more, starting with repealing incentives for companies to outsource manufacturing jobs to other countries. This will require standing up to the very powerful lobbyists in Washington who represent companies that offshore jobs.
Second, we must crack down on unfair trade practices that are hurting American workers and American businesses. Chinese currency manipulation, subsidized industrial capital, mandatory technology transfer, patent infringement and software piracy are placing U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage – and uncertainty about whether these will be allowed to continue is discouraging manufacturing investment in America. Furthermore, any future trade agreements must ensure that there are enforceable labor and environmental standards so that American workers compete on a level playing field.
Thirdly, we must refocus government investments on areas with the highest return on that investment. Economic growth is equal to Investment times Return-on-Investment, and it is obvious that economic growth is highest when government spends wisely. Unfortunately, in the last decade we have squandered trillions of dollars on Bridges to Nowhere, poorly planned wars, weapons systems that even the Pentagon does not want, and other “investments” that had zero return-on-investment. At the same time, we have allowed our transportation and sanitary infrastructure to decay to the point where it is inhibiting economic growth. To optimize government investment, there is no substitute for having members of Congress – from both parties – that have real business experience.
Fourthly, we must continue to deal with three major structural drags on our economy -- our inefficient health insurance system, inefficient and overcomplicated tax code, and unnecessary and inefficient military spending – that together absorb more than 8% of GDP. If those inefficiencies could be eliminated and re-channeled into growth, our country would have a rate of growth outpacing all other major economies, including China.
Finally, we must invest in education, and technology. Education - making sure our children have the world's best education - is the best way to ensure that tomorrow's workforce is ready for the challenges that it will face. It is also the highest Return-on-Investment of any investment that government can make, and is the best way to ensure that our country will have more than our share of the next century’s inventors and innovators. And as a nation, we must invest in new technologies - not only in near-term technologies like clean energy but in other, more distant technologies and scientific investigations so that America remains a strong technological and economic leader far into the future.
I believe President Obama has taken many of the steps necessary - despite much obstructionism by Congress - to put our country back on the path to jobs and economic growth -- although he would be the first to admit that the job is not done. He's made the investments in education and technology that will pay off long term, and helped revived American manufacturing. But in addition to the policies I mentioned above, we also need to put our country back on firmer fiscal footing by dealing with our long-term national debt. This cannot be done by electing members of Congress who have taken ideological pledges never to compromise – pledges like the Grover Norquist pledge that has been taken by every Republican member of the Illinois delegation. This must be done by reaching agreements with both parties to tackle the real fiscal challenges we face – but cannot be done simply by placing all of the burden onto the middle class and seniors.