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January 14, 2014
Blog Post - Americans Need Action on Jobs
In June, President Obama visited North Carolina as part of his “Middle-Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour.” Tomorrow, he will return to the state to talk about jobs…again!
Americans need more than talk. The jobs situation today remains dire. There are almost 2 million fewer jobs now than there were when the recession started.
Even more disturbing is the current labor force participation rate – the number of people who have a job or are actively looking for work – which has dropped to 63%, the lowest since April 1978.
According to the most recent Labor Department report, 74,000 Americans found jobs in December, but nearly 347,000 left the labor force in same month. There are 91.27 million Americans currently notin the labor force, with 5.6 million between age 18 and 34 who can’t find a job, even though they want one.Sadly, too many of our friends and neighbors have given up hope and have stopped looking for jobs.
Americans need jobs and they need them now, but President Obama’s policies have made it more difficult for them to find them. The president and the Senate have failed to act on dozens of House-passed jobs bills that would control spending, reduce health care costs, and make it easier for businesses to create jobs. Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline alone would create over 20,000 American jobs.
It is time for the president and the Senate to stop stalling and act immediately to pass these jobs bills and get Americans back to work. Learn more about these bills at gop.gov/jobs. Track their progress and show your support for the bills by becoming a citizen cosponsor at speaker.gov/jobs.
October 1, 2013
Ellmers Statement on Government Shutdown
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) released the following statement this morning after the US Senate refused to pass the House version of a continuing resolution to keep the government running last night:
"I hoped this day would never come, but unfortunately Senate Democrats and President Obama refused to come to the table to negotiate our differences and devise a solution as to how we can best perform our responsibilities as stewards of taxpayer dollars. I was elected to Congress to serve the people and stand up to the reckless spending that has strangled our economy and our potential - and in particular, the devastating impact that Obamacare will have on our nation. Here in the House, we passed numerous bills over the past weeks and months to avoid this shutdown. But absent any meaningful reforms or solutions, Democrats have remained intent on wasting money with no regard to our debt and obligations."
"As of midnight yesterday, my district offices will be closed until further notice in accordance with the Constitution and the Anti-Deficiency Act. My Washington office will remain open but have limited resources to provide public services. We will continue to keep constituents informed on the latest regarding this shutdown through my website at www.ellmers.house.gov"
Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on CNN's New Day yesterday morning.
Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on MSNBC yesterday morning.
Click here to view Congresswoman Ellmers' interview on Fox News last week.
June 5, 2013
The truth behind the president's jobs tour
This week, President Obama will be in North Carolina as part of his “Middle-Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour.” This visit comes at a time when 4.4 million Americans have been unemployed long term – out of work for 27 weeks or longer.
Unfortunately, North Carolinians are suffering with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country – around 9 percent are without jobs and actively looking for work. The numbers are even worse when we look at the full picture.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the participation rate – the number of people who currently have a job or are actively looking for work – has dropped dramatically over the past five years. Too many Americans have given up hope of finding work.
As discouraging as those statistics are, the situation is even more dire when considering the prospect of Obamacare provisions that will be implemented over the next few years. Not only are Obamacare provisions already forcing employers to cut employee health benefits, but they continue to affect the ability of employers to expand and hire. According to a recent Gallup poll, almost half of small businesses think Obamacare is going to be bad for their business and 41 percent of small businesses are not hiring as a result of Obamacare.
Instead of creating opportunities for middle-class Americans, President Obama’s policies have been devastating -- especially to North Carolinians looking for jobs. Instead of passing big government programs and regulations that make it harder for employers to hire, Republicans are in favor of innovative solutions to control spending, reduce health care costs, and make it easier for businesses to create jobs. Learn more about our plan for jobs at http://www.gop.gov/jobs/.
May 29, 2013
Already seeing some effects of the "Cadillac tax"
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that some employers are being forced to offer “bare-bones” health care plans in order to avoid Obamacare penalties. This week, a New York Times report focuses on another provision of Obamacare -- the so-called “Cadillac” tax.
The “Cadillac tax” punishes companies that offer high-end health care plans to their employees by hitting them with a 40 percent excise tax if the plan exceeds a government mandated level.
Even though the tax does not go into effect until 2018, many employers (17 percent according to a recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans) are already making changes to their health care plans in anticipation of the coming penalty. As a result of the “Cadillac tax,” many employees are already being warned they should expect to see plans with higher premiums and less benefits.
President Obama made a lot of promises when he campaigned for his overhaul of our health care system. One of the most significantpledges was that if you liked your current insurance you could keep it. Many of those who were happy with the plans are now learning that this promise has already been broken. Many more will discover the hard truth over the coming months and years as they see the cost of their plans rise and their benefits decrease.
Obamacare is already hurting employers, employees, and our economy as a whole and promises to cause even more pain and devastation in the future. That is why I will continue to fight against its implementation and will not rest until this terrible law is fully repealed.
May 27, 2013
Remembering the Fallen
Each year we spend the first weekend of summer visiting with friends and family and enjoying the comfort of our surroundings. Memorial Day is so much more than this - it is a time to honor the memory of our bravest men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
From the fields of Saratoga and Gettysburg to the sands of Normandy and Fallujah, American men and women gave their lives for the preservation of our republic and the freedoms we hold dear. We must never forget their sacrifice and the loved ones who are forever changed by their loss.
This Memorial Day, let us all live to earn the liberty they entrusted to our safekeeping and honor their memory for future generations to come.
May 21, 2013
The Bare Bones of Obamacare
As additional provisions of Obamacare go into effect, employers are addressing the impact that the law will have on their businesses. At every turn we see another negative consequence of Obamacare for both employers and employees.
Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that in order to avoid penalties under Obamacare, some employers are now offering employee health care plans that lack the basic benefits which employees have previously enjoyed. Some of these benefits include such basics as hospital coverage, surgery, X-rays and prenatal care.
Employers seeking to avoid the $2,000 per worker penalty for failing to provide insurance are now being pitched these “bare-bones” policies by insurance brokers and benefit administrators. But employers who decide on these limited policies could still face a $3,000 fee for any employee who opts out and instead chooses a subsidized health exchange policy.
Last week, a report from the Energy and Commerce Committee cited 17 major insurance companies that said healthcare for young adults could increase by as much as 400 percent and employers should expect their costs to go up 50 to 100 percent.
These additional costs from premium increases and potential fines are not only making it harder for employers to make a profit and provide quality health coverage to their employees, but in many cases are also preventing them from hiring additional workers.
Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said of Obamacare, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” We are not only finding out what is in it, but of the devastating effect it is having on our businesses, employees, and our economy.
Last week, I voted for H.R. 45 to fully repeal Obamacare. It is clear from all the evidence we have seen -- we cannot afford the consequences of this misguided law.
November 5, 2012
Seeking Answers to the Attack in Benghazi
I joined Representative Mike Kelly and 52 members of the House in a letter to President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding answers to questions regarding the events leading up to and following the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. The letter asks the following:
Why did administration officials deny repeated requests for stronger security measures from U.S. personnel on the ground in Libya, especially in light of the escalating violence leading up to the September 11 attack?
Why did the administration withdraw elite Special Forces units from the Benghazi compound and seek to replace them with poorly paid local Libyan contractors, even after the compound had been bombed twice?
- Why did the administration pursue what U.S. personnel on the ground described as a “cookie cutter” approach to security in Libya and impose an “artificial time table” towards “normalization” that ignored the dangerous facts on the ground?
Click on the image below to read the full letter:
- Why did administration officials deny repeated requests for stronger security measures from U.S. personnel on the ground in Libya, especially in light of the escalating violence leading up to the September 11 attack?
November 5, 2012
Another Disappointing Jobs Report
The October jobs report released last week shows an increase in the unemployment rate to 7.9 percent. This is disappointing news for the over 12 million Americans looking for work and it is just not good enough. After spending trillions of dollars on a failed stimulus plan, government takeover of our healthcare system, and industry bailouts, we have a $16 trillion national debt, the highest poverty rate since 1993, a 45% increase in the number of Americans on food stamps, and more than 12 million unemployed Americans every month President Obama has been in office.
In addition to those looking for work and unable to find it, millions more Americans have given up and dropped out of the workforce. After suffering four years of unemployment rates at or around 8 percent, Americans need relief. In the House, we have passed over 30 bills to promote job creation, but the majority of these bills have been blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate. You can track those bills on this page of my website. Below are some keys facts on jobs and unemployment.
1. Almost 4 Million Fewer Jobs than Projected: In January 2009, the Obama Administration forecast there would be 137.6 million jobs in December 2010. Instead there were 130.3 million jobs in December 2010. Even 22 months later in October 2012, there were just 133.8 million jobs – 3.8 million fewer than the Administration’s forecast for late 2010.
2. Slowest Jobs Recovery Ever: This is the only “recovery” since World War II (when official jobs data began) when jobs lost in the recession had not been recovered by this point.
3. Less Full Time Work: Since January 2009, the number of full-time employees has fallen by 371,000 while part-time employment has grown by over 1.5 million. This means part-time workers account for all of the net employment growth in the Obama years – the opposite of what Democrats predicted when they said their stimulus plan was “likely to move many workers from part-time to full-time work.”
4. Manufacturing Jobs Down: Since January 2009, 586,000 manufacturing jobs have been eliminated, the opposite of the Administration’s projected increase of 408,000 manufacturing jobs due to their trillion-dollar stimulus.
5. Almost Seven Times More New Dropouts than New Employees: During the Obama Administration, the number of people not in the labor force has grown by 7.8 million while total employment has grown by 1.2 million. This means that during the Obama years new workforce dropouts have outnumbered new employees by almost 7 to 1.
6. Far Higher Unemployment Rate than Projected: October’s 7.9% unemployment rate remains far above the 5.4% rate the Administration predicted for this month in their January 2009 report on the projected effects of stimulus. Democrats actually predicted unemployment would peak at the current 7.9% rate in July 2009 – over three years ago.
7. Real Unemployment Is Almost 11%: If the unemployment rate included the “invisible unemployed” (discouraged workers who have dropped out or never joined the workforce), the October 2012 unemployment rate would be 10.9%.
8. More Unemployed Now than When Economy Was in “Free-Fall”: In October 2012, there were 12.3 million officially unemployed workers. That’s 209,000 more than when President Obama took office in January 2009 – when the Administration said “we were in economic free-fall.”
9. Over Two Million More Long-Term Unemployed: In October 2012, there were 5.0 million long-term unemployed (that is, for over six months) – 2.3 million more than when President Obama took office in January 2009.
10. Economic Misery up 80%: The “Obama Misery Index” shows that unemployment and debt have risen by a combined 80% since the start of the Obama Administration.
October 17, 2012
Blog Post -- Uncertainty
A common concern I hear from business owners in our district is that the uncertainty they have regarding taxes and regulations makes it difficult, if not impossible, for them to expand their businesses and hire new employees. Uncertainty exists not only about the economy in general, but also specifically regarding tax rates, the impending “fiscal cliff,” and the economic impact of coming regulations --including those stemming from Obamacare mandates just now going into effect.
This uncertainty among small business owners is not limited to the Second District. The latest U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Outlook Index found that 87% of small business owners want more certainty from Washington.
In the House, we have acted to address this uncertainty by not only voting to stop the coming tax hike, but also working on long-term solutions to the problems we currently face. We have passed legislation to spur job creation, reduce spending, repeal Obamacare and begin reform of our tax code. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats have chosen inaction resulting in even more uncertainty.
Bloomberg recently reported on the latest optimism index from the National Federation of Independent Business, citing the group’s chief economist, William Dunkelberg. “Small-business owners are in maintenance mode; spending only where necessary and not hiring,” Dunkelberg said. “Owners are unwilling to put their own capital on the line until the future path of the economy and economic policy becomes clear.”
William Smith of TPR CPAs in Dunn, NC, recently expressed similar comments regarding the reluctance of business owners to expand and hire until they have more certainty about the future.
September 7, 2012
$16 Trillion Debt, 43rd Straight Month Unemployment over 8%
Americans are well aware of the state of our economy and jobs market, but several benchmarks reached this week have provided concrete evidence of it.
For the first time in American history, our national debt passed the $16 trillion mark. Yesterday marked one year since Solyndra, the failed energy company that received millions in "stimulus" dollars, declared bankruptcy. Third, the jobs report released today showed unemployment above 8 percent for the 43rd straight month in a row.
Of even greater concern than the rate of unemployment is the "participation" rate that represents how many people are currently participating in the workforce. At 63.5 percent, the current participation rate is the lowest in over 31 years. This indicates how much higher actual unemployment is than the 8.1 percent figure which does not include those who have stopped looking for a job. In August, 96,000 jobs were added but nearly four times as many Americans left the workforce.
This week, for the first time in American history, our national debt passed the $16 trillion mark. We are borrowing nearly 40 cents on each dollar and are passing the bill to future generations.
House Republicans have passed a budget that includes responsible reforms to pay down the national debt and promote job creation, while the President and Democrats in the Senate continue to push the same failed policies that have resulted in record high debt. Click here or on the image below to see how the President's rhetoric stands up to reality.
43rd Straight Month of Unemployment Above 8%, Participation Rate at 31-Year Low
When the latest jobs figures were released today, we learned that the unemployment rate remained over 8 percent for the 43rd month in a row. Of even greater concern, the partipation rate fell to 63.5 percent, the lowest since September 1981. In August, 96,000 jobs were added but nearly four times as many Americans left the workforce. You can find these figures and additional information in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The president’s policies continue to fail with more than 20 million Americans struggling for work while our country's small businesses face an environment where regulation and uncertainty make it impossible for many to consider hiring.
House Republicans have passed dozens of jobs bills that continue to be ignored by the Democrat-controlled Senate. The President and Senate Democrats' policies of more taxes and bureaucratic red tape will not promote job creation. It is time the Senate does something to address the jobs crisis and takes up the jobs bills that have passed the House. You can track the progress of those bills on this page of my website.
1 Year Anniversary of Solyndra Bankruptcy
Yesterday, marked one year since Solyndra—the Obama administration’s stimulus "success story”—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While investors with close ties to the White House cut deals and receive tax breaks, American taxpayers are left footing the bill. Solyndra serves as a stark reminder of the Obama administration’s misguided priorities and failed stimulus economy. Click here to read the statement from the House Energy & Commerce Committee on the anniversary.
You will find more information on these numbers below, as well as links to additional sources of information. Please share this newsletter with your friends by forwarding via email or using the "Tell a Friend" form in the right sidebar. Also, please visit my website at ellmers.house.gov and follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for your continued interest in our community and government.