Let's Get the Senate Back to Work
By Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
The scene plays out at kitchen tables all over the country. Men and women, burdened with too much month left at the end of their money, check job-posting sites, send emails, search LinkedIn, and meticulously go through their contacts to find someone who might know something about a job. Unfortunately, America’s growth remains stagnant—if not regressive. America’s job creators have their hands tied by overregulation, uncertainty, and a Senate that won't do their job.
In the House, we have taken this mission to heart in our on-going efforts to restore the promise of the American Dream for hard-working taxpayers. In total, there are 338 bills stuck in the Senate awaiting action—and 98 percent of these bills passed the House with bipartisan support. It was a priority for us to pass this ever-growing stack of bipartisan bills out of the House to get some relief to the millions of Americans left unemployed, under-employed, and those who have dropped out of the workforce all together. Our friends and neighbors deserve a federal government that is held accountable to fulfill its responsibilities.
To date, we have forty bills that are directly related to job creation, growth, and retention. All of them have been written, fought for, debated over, and passed by the people’s House and are currently sitting in the upper chamber waiting for consideration. The manner in which Majority Leader Reid’s Senate refuses to even consider these bills is more than arrogant—it’s detrimental to American families. Many of these bills, including bipartisan legislation that calls for the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, would likely be approved if it were allowed a vote. This legislation alone would create thousands of jobs for American workers.
While the Obama Administration has been quick to applaud our nation’s 6.1 percent unemployment rate, it should be noted that this number is deceivingly-low. After factoring in the number of Americans who have given up looking for work, the unemployment rate actually shoots up to 10.2 percent. To make matters worse, those who are dropping out of the work force are working-aged individuals, not seniors or those being forced into an early retirement. These are Americans who are young, eager and ready to hit the ground running. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), our labor force is missing more than 3.4 million workers between the ages of 20 and 59. And while we have legislation to help these people find work, Senator Reid continues to stall on all fronts.
The day’s not over, yet. Senator Reid can turn his do-nothing Senate into a working body with real results. He can call upon the Senate to pass bills that the House - the people’s House - has diligently debated and passed. Or he can continue to obstruct the process, belittle the American people, and leave desperate men and women with nothing to hope for in this struggling economy.
Senator Reid might think this is all a game of thrones - it is not. He might find his self-constructed throne of dusty bills more to his liking than his responsibility as Majority Leader of the Senate. But the American people have the ability - and the right - to have their voices heard. They are speaking and demanding action. This is the game in which Harry Reid should be active.
We are calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to get off his self-constructed throne, roll up his sleeves, and get back to work. Real lives, a real economy, and a true American recovery hang in the balance.
Congressman Marsha Blackburn has represented Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District since 2003. She serves as Vice-Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a Member of the Budget Committee. Congresswoman Renee Ellmers is serving her second term representing North Carolina's second district in the House of Representatives. She currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is Chairman of the Republican Women's Policy Committee.