Transcript of this week's Weekly GOP Address, as delivered by US Senator Pat Toomey:
Hi, I’m Senator Pat Toomey from the great state of Pennsylvania, and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to share a few thoughts with you today.
Like a lot of Americans all around the country, I’m deeply concerned about the lack of job growth and our stagnant economy.
Now President Obama inherited a weak economy, but by nearly every measure, he has made the economy worse. Over two years ago, his administration told us that passing his $787 billion stimulus bill would keep unemployment below 8 percent.
Instead, since the stimulus was enacted, our economy has lost more than 1.3 million jobs and the unemployment rate has averaged over 9 percent.
Today, fewer people are working; gas prices are higher; home values are lower; wages are weaker; healthcare is more expensive; taxes are heading higher and our federal deficits are much larger than when President Obama took office.
Clearly, the policies of this administration are not working.
So, what went wrong? Well, a big part of the problem has been job-killing regulations. Everyday, small business owners, job creators and entrepreneurs are bombarded with new regulations and higher costs, discouraging these employers from expanding their businesses and hiring additional workers.
This is what I hear when I travel across my home state of Pennsylvania. Whether I am touring a manufacturing plant, talking to dairy farmers or energy producers, visiting a trucking company, or meeting with medical device makers, the message I hear is the same: The crushing burden of federal regulations is making it increasingly difficult for them to grow their new businesses, hire new workers, and in some cases, just keep their doors open.
For example, it can sometimes take years for a new life-saving medical device to be approved by the FDA. A hot dog factory can wait months for federal regulators to approve food product labels, throwing their entire production schedule off.
Future investment in broadband networks has been jeopardized by burdensome new Internet regulations adopted by the FCC. New financial services mandates are raising the cost of credit. And the National Labor Relations Board is now dictating to companies where they can locate new plants.
These are just a few examples out of hundreds, maybe thousands. And, the number of regulations has only increased since President Obama came into office. The Federal Register, containing all federal regulations, now totals a whopping 49,000 pages, covering everything from paint, to dust, cement, to cars, medicine and livestock.
With so many burdens and the threat of new obstacles in the future, it’s not hard to understand why job creators are leery of assuming the risk and costs that come with starting a new business or expanding an existing company. As a former small business owner who ran several restaurants with my brothers, I can attest to the burden these regulations impose on our job creators.
Despite all these obstacles, I remain very optimistic about our future. Americans are still the hardest working, most industrious, and innovative, most entrepreneurial people in the world. And if we just let them, they’ll build more factories, start more businesses, hire more workers, produce more goods, and create more inventions.
But first, government has to get out of the way.
Course, we need some regulations to keep us safe, but these regulations must be enacted in a thoughtful manner and with a careful consideration to the impact they have on jobs. First, we should start by eliminating some of the most harmful regulations already on the books, including the president’s health care bill with its maze of new costly rules.
Next, several of my colleagues and I have introduced legislation that will make sure future regulations are not overly burdensome. For example, the Employer Impact Act, introduced by Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, is a simple bill: It would require all federal agencies to consider the number of jobs that will be lost as a result of a proposed rule or regulation. Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin has introduced legislation that would place a moratorium on new federal regulations with an economic impact exceeding $100 million until the unemployment rate falls below 7.7 percent.
And, as a newly appointed member of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, I’m ready to work hard with my fellow committee members to produce a proposal that will reduce government spending, and help to create an environment where entrepreneurs can thrive.
You know, I have every confidence that the 21st century can be another great American century. And I know we can have a booming economy. But to get there, we have to remember the source of our national strength. Our strength doesn’t come from a bigger government controlling our economy.
It comes from a free enterprise system and the hard-working, honest citizens who make it run - the kind of industrious folks I see every day in Pennsylvania.
When government lets these folks grow their businesses and work hard without putting obstacles in their way, that’s when we’ll achieve the flourishing recovery and the job creation that our country needs and deserves. I’m Pat Toomey, and I thank you for listening.