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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.
August 23, 2012
The Burden of Regulation
In yesterday’s edition of the Washington Post, a recent manufacturing industry report was cited which showed “the economic burden of federal regulation in the United States has risen dramatically over the past 20 years, particularly affecting the nation’s manufacturers.”
According to the report, “the average number of major federal regulations — those expected to have an economic impact in excess of $100 million — that have been finalized each year has risen with each recent administration…the regulatory burden on manufacturers has more than doubled over 10 years, growing from about $80 billion in 2001 to more than $164 billion in 2011.”
In addition to the burden on business owners, the effects of regulation are felt by consumers, as well, as some costs of compliance are passed on to them.
While they might not know the specifics of various reports and statistics, the people in my district are well aware of the burden unnecessary and excessive regulations have on our business owners, the job market and consumers.
Recently, a retired small business owner in my district expressed his frustration with excessive government regulation:
May 10, 2012
House GOP Competition Promotes Use of New Media
Over the past three weeks, my office has been competing in the 2012 House GOP New Media Challenge. After a qualifying round to place contestants into NCAA style brackets, I've faced off against a different member of Congress each week in Facebook, Twitter, and now, YouTube rounds.
The competition, now it its third year, promotes the use of new media among members and their constituents. The House Republican Conference sponsors the competition and Vice Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' office oversees it. She says that in the past three years they have hosted the challenge, overall new media use by members of the GOP conference has increased from 30 percent of House Republicans on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to 85 percent.
In addition to the competition promoting the use of social media (specifically Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), the competition encourages and highlights innovative and creative approaches using other forms of new media, such as websites, e-newsletters and blogs.
I've made the use of new media a priority since the day I took office. It not only allows me the opportunity to connect with constituents where they are, whether on laptop, tablet or mobile phone, but it allows constituents to share their thoughts and concerns with me.
Thanks to constituents who engage regularly on my social media networks, and to some very generous and helpful friends in the right blogosphere, I have advanced to the "Sweet Sixteen" round of the competition. The goal of this week's YouTube round is to add as many subscribers as possible to our official YouTube accounts.
Join the fun and support your favorite member of Congress online - whether they are still in the competition or not. But first, please subscribe to my YouTube channel today and be sure to visit me on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well.
April 10, 2012
Hope and Change replaced by Hopelessness
When President Obama ran for office in 2008, he promised to bring the country “hope” and “change.”
He certainly delivered change, but not for the better. The unemployment rate has gone from 7.8 percent in January of 2009 to a high of 10.1 percent in October of 2009. Jim Pethokoukis recently noted we have experienced “the longest streak of 8%-plus unemployment since the Great Depression” and “the U.S. economy hasn’t been below 8% unemployment since Obama took office in January 2009.”
In the U.S. Department of Labor’s March 2012 Employment Situation report released Friday, unemployment figures show the rate dropping to 8.2%, but the number of people not in the labor force is at an all time high – 87,897,000. When Obama took office in 2009, there were approximately 81 million not in the labor force.
The Wall Street Journal reported this weekend that “the jobless rate, which is obtained from a separate survey of households, edged down to 8.2% from 8.3%, its lowest point in three years. However, that decline was due less to new hiring than people abandoning their job searches.”
According to the report, 120,000 jobs were created, but an additional 164,000 people dropped out of the labor force. The current unemployment rate, if calculated to account for the number of people who would like to work, but have given up looking, would be even higher. The “hope” so many had in 2008 has been replaced with hopelessness.
House Republicans have passed legislation that promotes economic growth and removes barriers that hinder America’s job creators. The bipartisan JOBS Act was recently passed by both chambers of Congress and signed into law. Learn more about how the Republican jobs plan and budget cuts spending, fixes our tax code, removes excessive regulation and expands American energy production at jobs.GOP.gov. Track the full list of House-passed jobs bills on this page at ellmers.house.gov.
March 20, 2012
The Path to Prosperity Budget
It has been over 1000 days since Senate Democrats have produced a budget. In that time, President Obama has added over 5 trillion dollars to the national debt. The president’s budget calls for even more spending and more debt.
The approach the president and Democrats in Congress have taken is grossly irresponsible. Their refusal to seriously address the problems we face is inexcusable and has real consequences for American families, seniors and future generations.
House Republicans believe it is morally wrong to ignore the most predictable crisis in U.S. history. We have a choice between two paths and two futures. One path leads to additional debt and continued decline. The other path is to a stronger, more prosperous future with less debt, lower taxes and greater opportunity for generations to come.
In this video, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan talks about the need for a plan of action to cut spending and put our country back on a path to prosperity:
Click here to read the House Republican Budget, "The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal."
The report on the House Republican Budget, "The Path to Prosperity," includes summary tables making comparisons to the president’s budget as re-estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Click here for links to that information.
To learn more about the House Republican Budget, visit http://budget.house.gov/.
March 19, 2012
Listening - Housing Advisory Council Meeting
Last week, I attended the inaugural meeting of my Housing Advisory Council. Home builders, realtors, and lenders from across the Second District shared their experiences and observations with me in a round table discussion in Clayton.
I heard story after story about individuals and businesses with good credit ratings and established relationships with their local banks being unable to get loans or lines of credit due to the stringent requirements of Dodd-Frank. Without accessible financing, builders are unable to build houses. Some builders told me how the economy had ravaged their businesses – requiring them to lay off employees, drain their cash reserves and exhaust credit lines to stay in business.
Many of those in attendance told me they did not want the government to become more involved in their industry. Instead, they wanted the government to reduce the regulation and red tape that is hampering growth. As one gentleman noted, he just wanted the government to “get out of the way.”
If we want to get serious about the housing crisis, we must quickly reverse the credit problem. I’m proud to say I’m a cosponsor of legislation to fix this. H.R. 1755 - the “Home Construction Lending Regulatory Improvement Act of 2011” will remove these burdensome regulations and get banks lending again.
I’ve also opposed Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) – a provision of Dodd-Frank that would require homebuyers to put 20% down – which would put homeownership out of reach for most Americans. This mandate places undue burdens on consumers and harms our fragile economic recovery. I will continue to work with businesses around our community on solutions that will help our job creators start hiring again.
November 9, 2011
Honoring Our Veterans
The sacrifices our military veterans and their families have made to provide our security is something we honor officially on Veterans Day, but we enjoy the protection they provide every day. Each generation faces its own struggle for freedom throughout the world. On this Veterans Day, we offer our thanks and deep appreciation for those who have served to guarantee the freedoms we enjoy.
Every veteran is a hero for their willingness to devote their life to service and it is important that we acknowledge and thank them. Some of our heroes have waited many years to receive the recognition they deserve. My office has helped veterans receive military service awards they earned many years ago and it was an honor for me to present W. Heath Hinson of Nashville with decorations he waited 64 years to receive.
In Fayetteville, Heroes Homecoming is a way of “showing all Vietnam Veterans we remember and appreciate their courage, their sacrifice and everything they’ve done to defend our freedom – now and forever.” Details of the events, which started November 4 and continue through November 13, can be found at www.heroeshomecoming.com.
Earlier this week, I was honored to speak to a group of World War II veterans as they departed the Second District on a trip to Washington, DC to visit the National World War II Memorial and Arlington Cemetary. There will be many events across the Second District commemorating Veterans Day, including ceremonies I will be attending this week at Fort Bragg and at Veteran’s Park in Lillington.
There are many ways you can thank veterans this week, as well as throughout the year. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers many services and state and local resources for veterans, but there are also many private organizations doing good work on behalf of our troops and veterans. Parade magazine put together a list of “11 Ways To Help Veterans on 11-11-11” which provides information and links to organizations like MilServ, Operation Gratitude and Homes for Our Troops. Groups like Veterans Legacy Foundation do good work helping veterans receive service awards.
We must continue to honor the selfless bravery and noble sacrifice of our American heroes. As part of your Veterans Day observance, please be sure to thank those who have risked their lives in service to our country.