Fifth District Report
Column by Tom Perriello
First, I have once again signed on as co-sponsor of a measure to block members of Congress from receiving automatic pay increases, this time for the 2011 fiscal year. On Jan. 7, 2009 — the day after being sworn into office — I co-sponsored H.R. 156, which blocked the automatic pay increase for FY2010. The measure was successfully adopted by congressional leaders over the summer.
I have also co-sponsored H.R. 1597, which would repeal the law that provides automatic pay adjustments for Members of Congress. Instead, congressional pay raises would be brought to a simple up-or-down vote. The American people aren’t getting a pay raise. Neither should Congress. While middle-class and working families are struggling to get by, it’s just not right to be spending taxpayers’ money on raises for members of Congress. I hope congressional leaders will once again block the pay raise for federal lawmakers.
Also last week, the Congress voted to raise the national debt ceiling for a temporary period. I broke with the Democrats and voted against this bill. We simply cannot take on more debt without a plan to pay for it. For years, neither party has provided a plan for bringing this vicious cycle to an end, and that must stop.
We had a successful vote last week to take bailout money back from the big banks and reinvest those dollars into Main Street job creation. The Jobs for Main Street Act—which was the product of a Congressional Task Force for Job Creation to which I was appointed—is a good first step in our aggressive job-creating agenda that will be our priority for 2010.
The legislation takes about $75 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program— also known as the bank bailout, which I opposed—and redirects that money into creating and saving jobs on Main Street. With these funds, we will create construction jobs by investing in highways and water infrastructure and renovating crumbling school buildings. With direct support to localities, we will be able to keep teachers, police officers and firefighters on the job to keep our communities safe and well educated. We will be able to employ hundreds of youth in summer job programs and support young adults in college work study programs. We will use funds to support small business, job training and affordable housing – key drivers of economic growth that have shown to have the most bang for the buck.
Lastly, I supported the Defense Appropriations Bill, which also included three of my requests for companies in the 5th District that will create jobs in the important areas of defense technology and intelligence. While working to enhance our national security, these companies in Martinsville, Buckingham County, and Danville will also have the opportunity to provide skilled, good-paying jobs to local residents.
For far too long, Washington has rewarded failure instead of innovation, and rewarded the big guys over small business leaders and working families. I’m glad to see we’re finally taking steps to put those taxpayer dollars back where they belong: making meaningful and smart investments back into Main Street and working to create the jobs we so desperately need.
Please feel free to contact me to share your concerns and ideas. You may call 1-888-4-TOM4US (1-888-486-6487); write to 1520 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515; or visit www.perriello.house.gov to sign up for my weekly e-newsletter.
Tom Perriello represents the Fifth District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives.