The Road Ahead
Next week I head to Washington to begin work in the second session of the 112th Congress. There are numerous challenges that must be addressed to get our country heading in the right direction. My first priority is to directly focus on job creation in Tennessee. To increase jobs, it is vital for the Senate to come to the table and start passing legislation that achieves fiscal responsibility, regulatory reform and increases energy output. By sticking to our principles, I know together we will get America back on its feet.
Fiscal Responsibility: National Debt
In the coming days, President Obama is expected to again ask for an increase in the debt limit from its current level of roughly $15.2 trillion to $16.4 trillion, as the United States has reached the current $15.2 trillion debt limit on January 4th. Since then, the government has tapped into its Emergency Reserve Fund for the second time in less than a year. To me this is not acceptable. Washington spends money as if there is an endless supply of taxpayer dollars. I ran for Congress because I want a better future for my children. I do not want my children and grandchildren to pay for the out- of- control spending of this generation. I hope that President Obama and the liberal Senate will put aside party lines this year and focus on creating real solutions for our national debt.
Regulatory Reform: PASS the REINS Act
For too long, unelected federal bureaucrats have imposed huge costs on the economy and American people through burdensome regulations. These bureaucrats are not elected; therefore, they are not held accountable by American voters. The REINS Act is part of the answer to getting federal regulations under control and off the backs of hard working Americans. Regulations are a hidden form of taxation, and just as our tax code is in need of reform, so is our regulatory system. According to the Small Business Administration, federal regulations cost our economy $1.75 trillion. These costs hurt small business owners the most. Employers fearing tougher, stronger regulations can’t afford to hire more employees as costly regulations pile up. The REINS Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives and is now one of the many bills sitting in the Senate. We need the Senate to act on this important piece of legislation to put folks back to work.
Increasing Energy Output: Keystone XL Pipeline
I continue to shake my head at the reasoning behind President Obama’s decision to hold up the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Keystone XL Pipeline will quickly provide jobs for thousands of Americans. TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline, says that Keystone XL is shovel-ready. TransCanada is ready to put 13,000 Americans to work to construct the pipeline - pipefitters, welders, mechanics, electricians, heavy equipment operators, among other jobs - in addition to 7,000 manufacturing jobs that would be created across the United States. Additionally, local businesses along the pipeline route will benefit from the 118,000 spin-off jobs Keystone XL will create through increased business for local goods and service providers. We need jobs, and we need them now.
In addition, the Keystone XL Pipeline is a security issue. Canadian Prime Minister Harper has indicated that if the President objects to the Keystone XL Pipeline, Canada may seek an alternative route to Vancouver, which would then send millions of barrels of oil to China. Let’s keep the oil here, not send it to China! The Keystone XL Pipeline would link Canada’s oil sands to U.S. refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The 2,673-kilometer (1,661-mile) pipeline would begin in Alberta, and cross Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and eventually end in Texas.
This year, I know together we all can make a difference in the future of our country. Please know I welcome you to contact me with your thoughts and ideas at any time.
Stephen L. Fincher
I enjoyed being with Governor Haslam in Jackson for the University of Memphis Lambuth Campus in Jackson, TN this week.