By Rep. John Kline (R-MN)
America’s Right, guest contributor
For those of us in Washington concerned about job creation, the first Friday of each month has always been a notable occasion. That’s when the U.S. Department of Labor issues its monthly employment report detailing how many jobs were gained or lost in the previous month, along with the current unemployment rate. When I first came to Congress, these reports generally brought good news. In fact, from 2003 through the end of 2007, we saw a record 52 consecutive months of job growth. Unfortunately, that all changed in early 2008, when we saw the first job losses in more than four years. Since that time, the U.S. economy has steadily shed more jobs as the recession has deepened. Just last week, we learned that an additional 467,000 jobs were lost in June of this year, and the unemployment rate has reached 9.5 percent, its highest level in more than a quarter-century.
From the moment we saw those first 17,000 jobs lost in January of 2008, it was clear to me that we needed to embrace pro-growth policies. Now, about a year and a half later, more than 6.5 million jobs have been lost and evidence is mounting that the tax-and-spend policies advanced by congressional Democrats are not only failing to stem the tide of unemployment, they are actually making our economic problems far worse. I serve as the Senior Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee. It’s ground zero for legislation that impacts American workers and employers, and under the control of Democrats, I believe it has failed to project jobs and promote economic growth. From legislation that will increase litigation in the workplace to the notoriously anti-worker card check scheme, Democrats in Washington have put special interests ahead of the people’s interests. Add to that a failed “stimulus” that cost close to $1 trillion yet still hasn’t produced the jobs it promised; a national energy tax in the form of cap-and-trade; and the impending government takeover of our health care system, and a future of permanent economic stagnation seems almost inevitable.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Republicans are committed to pro-growth policies that will get our economy back on track without saddling future generations with unmanageable debt. We offered a stimulus plan that would have created twice the jobs for half the price. We have developed a health care proposal that will make health care more affordable, reduce the number of uninsured Americans, and increase quality – all at a price our country can afford. And we plan to continue acting as the party of better solutions, rejecting Democrats’ plans to expand government at the expense of individuals and pushing for commonsense, bipartisan solutions to the many challenges we face. With the right policies, I’m confident we can return the first Friday of each month into an occasion worth celebrating once again.
Rep. John Kline (R-MN) represents Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district and has been serving in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003.