Friday, January 31, 2014

Billy Long: We are working to unleash economic growth

In his latest newsletter, Seventh District Congressman Billy Long writes about some of the economic measures being worked on in the House.
My House colleagues and I are focused on providing solutions to unleash economic growth, rein in Washington, and let the American people get back to work.  I will continue to work to advance measures which allow the private sector to grow and create the jobs for hard working Americans. Sadly, too many of these bills languish on Harry Reid's desk.

Pure and simple, one of the most important ways for us to create jobs is by developing domestic energy production.  It is crucial to eliminate excessive regulations which are preventing the enormous possibility for growth in energy production.   Developing these new sources of energy will produce real wealth, jobs, and energy security for the American people.  The House has passed multiple bills to promote job creation in the energy industry, including:

  • National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R. 761), which removes burdensome regulation from the mining industry, prevents abuse of litigation against mining corporations, and expedites the extraction of critically important rare-earth and other strategic minerals; and
  • Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which approves the Keystone pipeline, which would create thousands of jobs, and removes regulatory obstacles which could delay its construction for years.
The House's pro-growth agenda not only focuses on reducing regulatory barriers to job growth, but on making sure those seeking jobs have the opportunities and skills they need to secure quality jobs.  Among these measures are:
  • SKILLS Act (H.R. 803), which contains several reforms to our nation's workforce development programs, including streamlining duplicative job training programs, eliminating federal mandates on local governments, and permitting more flexibility for states to determine who is eligible to provide job training services.  The legislation also closes job training centers which are ineffective and increases the job training focus on basic literacy and math skills; and
  • Student Success Act (H.R. 5) which, among many reforms, consolidates more than 70 existing education programs to lessen Washington's role in education, collapses funding into a streamlined Local Academic Flexible Grant program to states and school districts to support local priorities to improve student achievement, and repeals the federal Highly Qualified Teacher requirements, and instead would allow states and school districts to develop and implement teacher evaluation systems locally in order to measure an educator's affect on student learning.
If President Obama and the Senate are serious about growing the nation's private sector and eliminating barriers to economic growth they would support the numerous jobs measures passed by the House which are languishing in the Senate.

Protecting the Fourth Amendment

As our nation engages in a much needed debate on personal privacy I would like to take this opportunity to share with you all my thoughts on H.R. 3361, the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring (USA FREEDOM) Act.

This bill would end the bulk collection of American citizens' communication records.  It would also reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to increase transparency in the collection of data.  The leaks by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden have caused great controversy over the violations of Americans' Fourth Amendment rights and I believe we need to fight to protect them.  That is why I am a cosponsor of the USA FREEDOM Act.

While the NSA and other security agencies have a duty to use the tools necessary to prevent attacks on American soil, actions taken to protect our nation's security must not infringe on the constitutional rights of the American people.  I want to stress that I am very sensitive to concerns about personal privacy, especially when the entity invading a person's privacy is the government.  We have a strong tradition of protecting an individual's "right to be left alone" under the Constitution.

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