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Hi, I’m Roy Blunt; I represent Missouri in the United States Senate.
With Election Day less than seven months away, we've heard a lot from President Obama lately about so-called ‘economic fairness.’
If we're going to talk about economic fairness, or about fairness, one of the most pressing economic issues facing families, seniors, and job creators in Missouri and across America is the strain of skyrocketing gas prices.
Fuel costs are on track to hit an average of $4 a gallon by summertime—that’s more than double what they cost when President Obama took office, and it marks a record high for the last two months.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. As a candidate, the President said, that energy costs, his quote, he said, ‘would necessarily skyrocket’ under his plan. Well that’s probably one promise the American people wish he hadn’t kept.
Unfortunately, instead of working together to pass bipartisan solutions that would relieve pain at the pump and pressure on jobs, this administration is focused on the wrong things.
The latest example was the Senate's vote this week on the so-called Buffett Tax—a gimmick that would do nothing to jumpstart jobs or lower fuel prices for average Americans who are really struggling to make ends meet and has a lot of negative consequences.
My colleagues across the aisle readily admit that this bill would not help our struggling economy. In fact, the lead sponsor of the Buffett Tax admitted on the Senate floor this week, that according to him, ‘the aim of this bill is not to lower the unemployment rate or the price of gasoline.’
Now the real question that Americans should be asking is ‘why not?’ Why would the Senate be talking about things that wouldn’t have impact on energy prices or our economy? Why would we have wasted the week on something like that? There’s really no excuse for not doing things that would lower gas prices and encourage private sector job creation.
Four out of five people hit by the new tax are business owners. With nearly 13 million Americans unemployed, the last thing we need is to raise taxes and create greater uncertainty for our nation's job creators.
According to a recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, uncertainty and gas prices are the top concerns for small businesses.
More than half of all small businesses said they weren’t hiring because they said they ‘weren’t confident in the recovery,’ and a third said they weren’t hiring due to the ‘uncertainty driven by Washington.’ Well we didn’t do anything this week about either of those problems and some of them can only be solved by government doing its job.
Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of small businesses reported that gas prices were their top concern.
Unfortunately, for years this administration and Democrats in the Senate continue to dismiss bipartisan solutions that would help put people back to work and encourage more economic energy development.
Ten years ago, when gas prices averaged $1.45 a gallon, Senate Democrats blocked legislation that would have produced more domestic energy here in the United States and lowered the price today. They said their reason was well we wouldn’t have that energy for 10 years—10 years later that’s a pretty hallow excuse.
In addition, the Administration continues to block the Keystone XL Pipeline—that’s the nation's largest shovel-ready project, no taxpayer money involved, it would create thousands of American jobs and deliver more than 800,000 barrels of oil a day to our refineries from our best trading partner and our closest neighbor, Canada—all without costing taxpayers.
The Keystone Pipeline is one common-sense step in the right direction to help put more people back to work, reduce prices at the pump, and position our nation for greater energy security now and in the future.
Jobs, jobs, and jobs should be the number one, two and three domestic priorities of the federal government. The shortest path to more American jobs is more American energy.
We should do the right the thing for American jobs and American families and by the way, we should do it now!