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Easing the Burden on Small Businesses & Halting Soaring Energy Costs




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February 28, 2012 | 2135 views | 2 comments

By: U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

At a recent event to highlight the payroll tax cut extension bill passed by Congress, President Obama said, “My message to Congress is: don’t stop here, keep going.”

I agree. We have eight months before the 2012 elections, and there is much that can be accomplished by focusing on areas where Democrats and Republicans can reach agreement. But in order to do that, the President must also make sure Senate Democrat leadership get his message to keep going.

Three of my Senate colleagues and I recently held a press conference to call for the Senate to consider four bipartisan jobs bills. Each measure has already passed the House of Representatives with more than 400 votes -- large majorities of Republicans and Democrats. All four bills would remove outdated barriers to borrowing and capital formation for small businesses -- our economy’s job creators.

Removing obstacles to small business expansion and hiring is the key to moving from a monthly trickle of new jobs to the tidal wave of growth that we need. And yet all four bills have been bottled up for months in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

President Obama also recently noted that Americans are concerned by the rising cost of gasoline. They certainly are. Gasoline prices have almost doubled in just three years -- and it’s getting worse.

Last February, the average cost of a gallon of unleaded was $3.17 per gallon -- the highest February price ever. But this February’s average is $3.57 per gallon -- and all forecasts are for prices to rocket above $4.00 per gallon during the summer driving season. Families and businesses will be devastated.

President Obama’s own Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, has said in the past, “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Talk about out of touch!

What the President should be doing is taping America’s natural resources to assure that we have the energy we need and to halt skyrocketing costs.

But President Obama’s policies have resulted in an unprecedented slowdown in new exploration and production of oil and gas. Offshore drilling permits are being issued at less than half the rate of the previous administration. And the average number of leases issued on public lands is less than half than during President Clinton’s time in office.

Not only will the slowdown in domestic production drive up fuel prices, it also takes away jobs from tens of thousands of oil and gas industry workers.

The same is true for the Keystone pipeline. It would produce thousands of good-paying construction jobs and tens of thousands more at U.S. refineries and suppliers. And the pipeline would assure the U.S. of 830,000 barrels of needed oil daily -- not from halfway around the world, but from our friend to the north, Canada.

After four years of environmental reviews and regulatory approvals, the Obama Administration is still stalling. If we wait, the Canadians have indicated they can ship their oil to China, and a huge opportunity will have been lost.

Our message to the President is: We can keep going. Thirteen million unemployed Americans can’t wait until after this year’s election. It is imperative for President Obama to help get bipartisan jobs bills through the Democrat-controlled Senate, and support energy policies that put American workers and their families first.

Hutchison, a Republican, is the senior U.S. senator from Texas and Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
 
« Previous Blog Entry (February 28, 2012)
 


Your Opinions and Comments
 
Rock'n chair Rambler  
Over Taxed, TX  
February 29, 2012 7:30am
 
 
"Offshore drilling permits are being issued at less than half the rate of the previous administration. And the average number of leases issued on public lands is less ... Read More Read More
 
 
Elaine K.  
Floresville  
February 28, 2012 4:22pm
 
 
New post.
 

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