Hello, I’m Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, and I have the great privilege of serving Washington State’s Third Congressional District.
I’d just like to begin by saying, on behalf of the people I represent, that we are thinking of the people of Japan and praying for them as they continue to deal with the devastation following last week’s earthquake and tsunami.
I’ve only been in Congress about two months now, and I like to think about my job as a tale of two Washingtons. In the hard-working communities of southwest Washington state, families are scraping to save more than they spend as they cope with double-digit unemployment, rising costs of gas and health care, and other challenges. Small business owners are working hard to stay afloat while struggling with fear and uncertainty over what new regulation or tax hike the government’s going to hand down to them next.
Meanwhile, here in Washington, D.C., the powers-that-be have enlisted an ‘army of lobbyists’ to try and block even the modest efforts to address our $14 trillion debt. They’re also throwing a wrench into the gears of job creation with regulation after regulation that, just by entering the pipeline, breed more fear and uncertainty. As a result, our economy isn’t producing enough jobs. It’s struggling.
I was sent here to get this Washington, with all its overspending and overregulation, out of the way, so the country we know and love can thrive and prosper.
Right now, the new House majority is hard at work on eliminating regulatory barriers to job creation. Earlier this month, the House voted to repeal the 1099 mandate in Obamacare that will hamstring small businesses. Soon, we will vote to stop the EPA’s backdoor national energy tax that would drive up gas prices. And we’re holding hearings on the REINS Act, common-sense reforms that give the people’s Congress a say before the government tries to implement any costly, job-crushing regulations.
We’re also working to cut wasteful spending, so we can send a strong signal: that Washington is going to stop using our small businesses as piggy banks and focus on helping them get back to creating jobs. Already, we have cut Washington spending by $10 billion over five weeks. This is real money, especially when you consider that the president and Democrats in Congress originally suggested that not a single dime in spending cuts would be had.
Of course, if we’re serious about ending the uncertainty for job creators in our economy, we need to cut more. As economists have explained and many Americans already know, it’s the private sector that creates jobs and government overspending just crowds out private investment. That’s why last month the House passed a measure, reflecting the will of the people, that includes significant cuts and reforms in the way Washington D.C. spends taxpayers’ time and money. This legislation is necessary because last year, when Democrats ran both houses of Congress, they failed to offer a budget. For the first time in modern history, Congress failed to do this.
The Senate needs to step up and follow us in passing a bill so we can prevent a government shutdown and support job growth by reducing spending. But to date, the Democrats in the Senate haven’t passed anything – and instead of offering a credible, long-term plan, the president has stayed on the sidelines.
If we want to get our economy back to creating jobs, we can’t duck our responsibility to rein in spending. It’s important we get beyond last year’s mess so we can focus on the full scope of the spending problems in Washington D.C. Republicans are determined to begin a dialogue about entitlement reform, even though the president's budget is silent. Failing to address the explosive growth of autopilot spending means failing to address our debt crisis. That means more uncertainty for our small businesses who create jobs, and more uncertainty for every American who counts on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Without reforms, they simply won’t be there for future generations. And that’s unacceptable.
My Republican colleagues and I have headed back to our districts this week to start a dialogue with the American people about all of these issues. We invite the President and our Democratic colleagues to join us in this dialogue. Together, we can end the uncertainty in our economy, help small businesses begin hiring again, and replace the crushing burden of debt in America with economic growth, freedom, and prosperity.
Thank you so much for listening.