Exclusive–Rep. Westmoreland: President Obama's State of the Union Should Be Aimed at Harry Reid

For the last five years we have watched President Obama try time and again to use government to create jobs.

More government spending.

More government programs. 

Just more and more federal government. And time and again, he has failed to actually create jobs—to the tune of unemployment still sitting above seven percent. I know some people believe if you say something enough, it will come true. After "If you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance," I would hope the president would finally realize that’s not how things work. And no matter how many times he says government spending will help the economy, it simply won’t.

We have seen the negative impact of the President’s economic agenda right here in Georgia. For example, Southern Company (the parent company of Georgia Power) recently announced it will have to close its Plant Mitchell Unit 3 near Albany, Georgia, as a result of the costly EPA regulations the Obama Administration has forced on energy companies. So rather than creating jobs in Georgia, President Obama and his EPA are destroying high-paying jobs in Dougherty County, Georgia.

Anyone can see that the President’s economic agenda is simply not working—anyone, it seems, except the President himself. Rather than focusing on how he can create jobs, we’ve spent the last week hearing about his stance on marijuana. I think the millions of Americans who are unemployed or underemployed would prefer he focus on job creation.

So while there are many, many issues I would like to see the President address in his State of the Union address, more than anything I hope he uses this speech as a platform to dump his NO JOBS job plan and agree to work with House Republicans to pass some of the dozens of pro-growth jobs bills that have gotten stuck in the Senate. These bills would remove some of the burdensome and excessive red tape that hurts small businesses. They would provide training and education so that our workforce can keep up with our changing economy. They would provide for a simpler tax code that would allow the private sector to create new jobs and raise wages for working families. And they would put America on the path to becoming energy independent by increasing American energy production through projects like the Keystone Pipeline.

Many of these bills have passed the House with bipartisan support but have never even been brought up for a vote in the Senate. And why, you may ask? Unfortunately, the only person who can answer that question is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has taken the term obstructionist to a whole new level. In the first year of the 113th Congress, the House has passed 168 bills that have immediately died upon arrival in the Senate. One hundred and sixty eight bills.

So I am hoping President Obama will address this in his State of the Union on Tuesday.

It should be easy—after all, Senator Reid will be in the same room. And if he doesn’t want to call him out publicly, as he told the American people earlier this month, he’s got a pen and a phone. The President can give him a call after the speech or write him a letter and let him know that it’s time to stop playing political games with the American people.

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland represents the third district of Georgia and is the Deputy Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and a member of the House Financial Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.


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