Though our economy has added 5.3 million private sector jobs since the Great Recession peaked in 2009, I am gravely concerned that without a real focus on job creation and the middle class in Congress, unemployment and stagnant wages will continue to hold our economy back. I share the frustrations of so many of my constituents who see nothing but obstructionism from the Republican majority in the House of Representatives at a time when Americans need bipartisan action to move this economy forward. It is time to put partisanship aside and advance policies that nonpartisan economic analysts agree would help communities succeed, create more jobs, and boost consumer spending, including:
Canceling the irrational, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, suspending these devastating cuts could add up to as many as 1.6 million new jobs to our economy and increase GDP growth by .7 to 1.2 percent.
Establishing a refinancing program that enables nearly every responsible homeowner in America to save up to $3,000 a year by taking advantage of today's historically low-interest rates.
Giving over 14 percent of all American workers a raise through a minimum wage increase. According to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, the inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage is lower today than it was in 1968. If the value of the minimum wage had simply kept pace with inflation in recent decades, it would be $10.50 today.
Unfortunately, since the start of the 113th Congress, the Republican majority has failed to bring forward a single measure aimed at boosting economic growth and creating new jobs. It is time for Congress to renew its commitment to America's economic recovery by passing legislation that will both encourage job creation and reduce our deficit.
Our ability to get our fiscal house in order rests very much on our commitment to putting people back to work. Fostering an educated workforce, encouraging scientific innovation, and creating new jobs are critical goals that should never end up on the chopping block. That's why I opposed a 2013 budget put forward by Republicans that authorizes a new, trillion-dollar tax cut for millionaires and billionaires while cutting financial aid for 10 million college students, slashing Medicaid funding for nursing home patients, and eliminating billions of dollars in job-creating scientific research at the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy. Nonpartisan economic analysts with Moody's Analytics predict that if passed, this GOP budget would result in 900,000 job losses within a year and 1.7 million job losses by 2014. I support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that eliminates wasteful spending, ends unfair tax giveaways, and prepares America to compete in our ever-changing global economy. You can read more about the budget plan I voted for by clicking here.
Encouraging Domestic Manufacturing
Construction, housing, and infrastructure are key drivers of economic growth in Florida, and unfortunately, these sectors still struggle to recover from the financial crisis of 2008. My meetings with local small businesses and manufacturers have made clear to me that a full economic recovery will require partnerships between the public and private sectors. That is why I so vocally opposed Governor Rick Scott's decision to reject $2.4 billion in startup capital for a high speed rail project in Florida predicted to create tens of thousands of new jobs. In Florida, where so many workers earn a living in our construction industry, it is critical for Congress to continue investing in transportation, infrastructure, and energy. Click here to read about Democrats' "Make it in America" agenda.