Many high school and college students in Virginia’s Fifth District and across the country are approaching graduation or have recently graduated. They have reached an exciting milestone in their lives and are well-prepared to apply the knowledge and skill they have developed in the workforce. While the economy has improved, we still have yet to see the type of dynamic job creation needed to provide robust opportunities for our young people to start their careers.
While last week’s jobs report found that our economy added jobs last month, we also saw a number of discouraging economic indicators. The unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 5.5 percent, and in many Central and Southside Virginia localities the unemployment rate far exceeds the national average. The number of people who are not working nor looking for work remains near the highest level since the 1970s, and too many who would rather work full-time are settling for part time work. Last month, we learned that the first quarter gross domestic product – the value of everything we as a nation produce – shrank by 0.7 percent. These statistics reflect what we see in our communities – that more must be done to bring about a healthy economy.
We did get some good news last week as Monogram Food Solutions announced it will create over 100 new jobs in Henry County, where the unemployment rate far exceeds the national average. Private investment like this is essential to the economic recovery in the Fifth District and the nation, but Washington still has more work to do in removing the federal government as a barrier to economic growth.
In Congress, we are laser-focused on promoting policies that will foster growth for small businesses and allow them to create good jobs for those still looking for work. We have taken significant steps toward implementing a simpler, fairer tax code to make it easier for our small businesses to create the jobs Virginia’s Fifth District needs. While I remain committed to repealing the President’s healthcare law and replacing it with real healthcare reform, based upon market-oriented principles, we have worked to minimize the harmful effects of the President’s healthcare law on small businesses in the interim.
I have also introduced two bills to ensure that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) does not unnecessarily hinder job creation. The Small Company Disclosure Simplification Act is a commonsense solution that will ease the regulatory burden for smaller public companies and require the SEC to perform a cost-benefit analysis on the regulations’ impact on these companies. The Streamlining Excessive and Costly Regulations Review Act is a good-government measure requiring the SEC to comprehensively review its regulations every ten years to streamline their rules and ensure they are all up-to-date. I am pleased that they have both passed the Financial Services Committee approved these bills with bipartisan support, and I look forward to the bills’ consideration by the full House of Representatives.
With graduation comes an infusion of new talented, driven, and enthusiastic young people into our workforce. We must adopt policies that give them opportunities to innovate and flourish for the betterment of our communities. The House will continue to work to pave the way for economic growth, and it is my fervent hope that the Senate and the President join us. I will continue to fight for solutions that will help get our economy back on track so that our graduates and other job seekers have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert Hurt represents Virginia’s Fifth District in Congress.