Economy Is Greatest Challenge Facing 111th Congress

As New Session Begins, Senator Says Bipartisan Legislation Needed to Spur Economic Growth

January 12, 2009

As the gavel fell last week to begin the 111th Congress, members of the House and Senate were immediately immersed in finding a solution to the biggest problem currently facing the country: our ailing economy. 

This is a challenge that will require prompt, bipartisan action.  In the coming weeks, Congress will debate a number of options for getting our economy back on track.  As this process moves forward, I am optimistic Republicans and Democrats will continue working together to form a solution that has strong bipartisan support.   
                                SPURRING ECONOMIC GROWTH
The economic downturn is a major challenge for America, but a look back through our history reminds us that tackling big problems is nothing new for this country.  In that vein, Congress and President-elect Obama are working on an economic stimulus package designed to spark our sluggish economy.  To be done effectively, Congress must ensure that this yet-to-be-written stimulus bill is targeted, temporary, and timely.  Doing so will allow for the intended economic boost without permanently increasing the size of government and saddling future generations with unnecessary debt. 

I believe the stimulus package should include tax cuts for the middle-class and for America’s job creators.  I was glad to see the president-elect include this type of tax relief in his outline of the bill.  In addition to tax relief, I would like to see the stimulus package make significant investments in infrastructure projects across the country.  Public works projects will create thousands of new jobs and, most importantly, make needed enhancements to our nation’s aging infrastructure.  Investing now in our infrastructure is vital to keeping our country economically viable and globally competitive in the future.     

                                MOVING MISSISSIPPI FORWARD
The new Congressional term also gives us the opportunity to continue working on issues important to our state, including taking the steps necessary to ensure Mississippi continues to be a serious competitor in the global marketplace.

As we have seen time and again – with Toyota, SeverStal (formerly SeverCorr) and Comcast being recent examples – companies look to Mississippi for our skilled workforce and high quality of life, bringing quality jobs to Mississippi in the process.  The global economic slowdown may have caused Toyota to delay their Blue Springs plant, but I am confident the facility will open once market conditions allow, giving Mississippi workers a leading role in the production of a hybrid car with a bright future in our country. 

As these companies locate to Mississippi, the economic impact is felt throughout our state through the direct and indirect jobs they create.  I remain committed to helping provide resources that will increase these types of economic development opportunities in Mississippi.  Working with Governor Barbour, Senator Cochran, and the rest of our congressional delegation, we will continue partnering with local economic development officials across the state to ensure Mississippi remains at the forefront of economic opportunity.     

                                     BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS
I see the economic challenges before us as opportunities for bipartisan solutions.  In my past years of congressional service, some of my proudest achievements have come after reaching across the aisle to work with members of the other party.  As this new Congress begins, I pledge to continue working with Democrats and Republicans to get our country’s economy back on track.