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Words from Washington

Fifteen lost opportunities to create jobs

Washingtonians are keenly aware that there is a fundamental divide in Washington, D.C. over how to revive our lagging economy.

Almost three years ago, President Obama signed into law a $1 trillion dollar economic stimulus package. Republicans opposed the bill because it increased the deficit and was a short-term patch, assembled in secret, and favored certain groups.

Today, there are 1.7 million fewer jobs than when the bill was signed and unemployment remains above 9 percent despite promises by the President that employment would not go over 8 percent.

Nevertheless, the President has spent over a month campaigning on a second stimulus bill, which was hastily developed, would raise taxes permanently, would increase spending, and, again, only targets a few select groups.

Since addressing Congress to promote this second stimulus, the President has criss-crossed the country several times touting his 'jobs proposal', demanding that it is passed - however it completely overlooks long-term solutions to help America's job creators.

The President's plan has now been defeated in the Democratic controlled Senate twice, which has caused him to return to the same rhetoric of blaming Republicans. Clearly, President Obama is more comfortable in his role as campaigner-in-chief pointing fingers.

But it is the House Republicans who have made significant strides toward getting the American people back to work by taking a new approach to help the economy by removing barriers and burdens on job creators.

In May of this year, the House Republicans released a Plan for America's Job Creators. This plan includes bills that span from increasing domestic energy production to incentives for hiring veterans to the House passed budget to address our nation's unsustainable debt. Since this plan was put forward, 17 jobs bills, many with bipartisan support, have passed the House of Representatives. These 17 bills will create jobs by encouraging private-sector growth, reining in growth of government and ending the uncertainty facing small businesses.

Unfortunately, those looking for work are not helped by the accomplishments of the GOP plan for job creators-15 of the 17 bills are stuck in the United States Senate. Reducing the regulatory burden on small business, advocating policies so American agriculture and manufacturers can be more competitive in a global market place and expanding domestic energy production are all part of our plan to get Central Washington back to work, however Harry Reid and Senate Democrats are not interested in taking up this common-sense legislation. If Senate Democrats continue to reject the President's plan, isn't it time to look at the pro-growth alternatives the House Republicans have sent them?

The American people are tired of partisan bickering and political posturing because it does not create jobs, put food on the table or grow retirement accounts. It is time that President Obama and Senate Democrats abandon the short-term, band-aid spending policies that we know do not work and address the 15 bills already passed by the House of Representatives.

As the President has said over and over, that the American people can't wait any longer to get back to work-I agree and encourage him and the Senate to take up job creating legislation that will support sustained growth for the nation as a whole.

- U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents the Fourth Congressional District.

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