Every Kentuckian watching President Obama's address last week has to be wondering how this year is going to be any different than the past three.
President Obama's policies of more spending, higher taxes and more regulations have hampered economic growth and ultimately left our economy weaker.
Since President Obama took office, 1.7 million fewer people have jobs, gas prices have remained at historic highs and more than $4 trillion has been added to the national debt.
The debate right now isn't about what Congress has done. The House has passed both a budget that pays down our national debt in 30 years and more than 30 bills focused on job creation and getting our economy moving again.
One area I agree with the president on is the need to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. I come from a small business, manufacturing background and know that those jobs are the pathway to the middle class.
The U.S. is still the top manufacturing nation in the world, but there are numerous challenges to maintaining our competitive edge. During my first term in Congress I worked on the Workforce Investment Act. And now on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee, we are working to address the challenges faced by manufacturers.
In February I will chair a forum with top manufacturers from across the United States to see what needs to be done to get companies growing. This forum will focus on my goal for the second session of this Congress: advancing policies that will make America the best place in the world to manufacture.
House Republicans have taken leadership positions and made tough choices, something the president has not done. Not on the economy and not on our energy policy.
It is hard to believe that the president is serious about energy independence and domestic energy production.
The President had a chance to make a real impact on our national security and economic future. Instead, he rejected TransCanada's application to build the Keystone XL pipeline and with it, tens of thousands of jobs and a historic opportunity to break our addiction to the oil we import from unstable, unfriendly regimes.
As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we have looked for ways to be more energy independent in an environmentally responsible way and the pipeline would have been a win-win.
Another issue my committee has worked tirelessly to address is the implementation of the health care law. This bill added mountains of regulations and new programs, cut Medicare, and did nothing to address the number one issue concerning Americans - the rising cost of health care. The president barely mentioned health care and the incredible burden this new law is placing on health care consumers and practitioners.
Included in the law are sweeping expansions of Medicaid, which will place huge burdens on already-strapped state budgets. By forcing states to spend more on Medicaid, fewer resources will be available for critical state projects such as infrastructure and education.
I regularly hear about the issue of college affordability from many Kentucky families and I was pleased that the president mentioned this in his address. As a father of a college student and two more who are not far off, this is a very real issue for me. However, saddling our state budgets even more will only hurt students and parents trying to pay for college.
We are uniquely American because we believe in the common ideal that if you can work hard you can be successful. The president has done nothing to promote this, and in fact has created more burdens for small businesses and job creators.
If the president wants an economy built to last, he must stop the overregulation, stop the burdensome health care and energy costs, and empower American businesses to create jobs and get our economy moving again.