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Robert Hurt: The future health of our economy depends on affordable energy solutions

While the recent February jobs report issued by the Department of Labor suggests some welcome signs of improvement, our national unemployment rate still remains unacceptably high and our economic recovery still has a long way to go.

The House has taken several steps to remove the barriers to job growth by remaining committed to cutting spending and reducing unnecessary government regulations. Just this past week, the House voted to ease the burden on small businesses by repealing the onerous, job-destroying 1099 provision that was included in the Democrats’ health care law last year.

But at a time when we are trying to move our economy forward, the last thing we can afford is soaring energy costs that directly and negatively affect businesses and families in the 5th District and across the country.

From phone calls, letters, and e-mails to conversations I have had with people in the District, I have heard from many Central and Southside Virginians concerned about the recent rise in gas prices.

This serves as another important reminder that the future health of our economy depends on affordable energy solutions, and it is critical that we look for common sense ways to increase our domestic supply to achieve true energy independence.

I believe that we must support an all-of-the-above energy approach to lower prices, create new American jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, strengthen our national security, and raise revenue to help tackle our $14 trillion national debt.

This approach includes increasing domestic energy production, developing alternative energy sources, and encouraging energy conservation efforts. And as good stewards of our environment, I believe we must ensure that any solutions we employ are done safely.

As Congress begins to craft comprehensive energy legislation to bring down costs for all Americans, it is my hope that the Obama Administration will reverse its decision to block offshore energy development efforts off the coast of Virginia and elsewhere so that we can truly begin to address this issue.

As your representative in Congress, I am committed to finding real solutions to our energy needs that will lessen the economic burden on our businesses and families in the 5th District during these challenging times.

If you need any additional information on these or any other issues, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, or Danville office: (434) 791-2596.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.