Wicker Encouraged by Senate Efforts to Spur Job Creation
JOBS Act, Highway Bill Are Positive Steps
Monday, April 9, 2012
Recent bipartisan accomplishments are an encouraging sign that the Senate can work to help job creators. Of course, news headlines are quick to focus on partisan gridlock, and the President has made railing against the legislative branch a central theme in his reelection campaign. But real solutions are attainable – in spite of the disagreements that inevitably play a part in any functioning democracy.
When he visited America in 1832, French political philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville remarked that members of the Senate represent “the lofty thoughts [of the nation] and the generous instincts animating it, not the petty passions.” He saw the Senate as our Founders had envisioned: America’s great deliberative body. Understandably, Mississippians still expect us to live up to this description.
Empowering Small Businesses
To be sure, there is plenty of work to do, and Americans are right to want action now. A weak economy has complicated efforts to put Americans back to work and help businesses recover and thrive.
The Senate took an important step forward last month when it passed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. The legislation sends a positive message to America’s small businesses, which have been hit especially hard by the economic downturn.
By easing federal regulatory hurdles, the JOBS Act can help foster the critical investment these job creators need to grow, hire, and get the economy back on track. Passing with broad bipartisan support, the legislation demonstrates that empowering Americans’ entrepreneurial spirit is a workable idea recognized by both political parties. The JOBS Act is a much-needed departure from the big-government approaches that have characterized the Obama Administration.
Maintaining America’s Highways
Cooperation was essential to the success of the JOBS Act, and we should build on its momentum as we look ahead to other avenues for economic development and job creation. The Senate showed the same commitment to growth when it recently passed legislation to maintain our nation’s vital transportation system. If passed by the House and signed into law, this bill could spur road and other infrastructure projects that will create jobs and increase economic opportunities in Mississippi. Some estimate it would preserve 1.8 million jobs and create as many as 1 million across the country.
Keeping the Gulf Coast Resilient
I helped lead the effort to include an important amendment in the highway bill. Under the RESTORE Act, most of the fines collected from the parties responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill would be directed to Mississippi and other Gulf Coast states. Current law calls for these Clean Water Act penalties to go to the U.S. Treasury, where their allocation would face significant red tape.
Keeping our Gulf Coast resilient for years to come means making sure our communities have the resources they need now to fully recover from the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The RESTORE Act is a bipartisan acknowledgement that the revitalization of the Gulf Coast is a priority and that its recovery efforts should be directed locally.
As de Tocqueville described, the Senate was not for “petty passions” but for debating and enacting legislative answers to our nation’s challenges. Staying focused on practical solutions to spur the economy and create jobs is how the Senate should fulfill this role today.