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E-News 1/20/12

The Week Just Past: A Self-Inflicted Shot in America’s Foot

Debt Dampens Jobs

By The Numbers: More Debt & Record-Breaking Deficits

Noted With Interest: Where’s the Budget?

Stop SOPA!

New Website For a More Transparent House

A President’s Approach to Foreign Policy

China Builds a News Hub in DC

The Week Just Past: A Self-Inflicted Shot in the America’s Foot

“It’s not every day that the President of the United States can create tens of thousands of private sector jobs AND bolster U.S. energy security with the single swipe of his pen. 

“But that was the opportunity that was presented to President Obama this week. 

“He had the chance to approve the Keystone Pipeline – a proposed $7 billion, 1,661-mile project which would carry 700,000 barrels of crude a day from Canada’s oil sands to U.S. Gulf of Mexico refineries. The Administration last year announced it would delay a decision until after November to study an alternate route.  

“But Congress forced the President’s hand, demanding a decision by the end of February.  After all, the application was filed. The review was complete. The facts were known.

“Even House Democrats wrote in a letter to President Obama three months ago that this project will ‘create 20,000 direct jobs’ and ‘spur the creation of 118,000 spin-off jobs.’

“But that won’t happen.  At the very same time the U.S. economy is struggling to create private sector jobs and the radical regime in Iran continues to threaten to choke off the vital Straits of Hormuz to oil tankers, the President said ‘no” to American jobs and American energy security. 

“And where will the jobs go?  Who will gain access to Alberta’s oil sands?

“Well, we don’t know for sure. Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stepping up efforts to explore an alternative pipeline that would allow Canada to ship their tar sands oil to China.

“You can only describe this as a self-inflicted shot in America’s foot.

                                                                   Rodney Frelinghuysen 

Recommended Reading:  Richard Wolf, writing in the Wednesday edition of USA Today that the White House Jobs Council’s position on tax rates, regulations and energy is nearly identical to what House Republicans have proposed.    Read “Obama jobs council pushes ideas backed by Republicans” here.

Debt Dampens Jobs

During the first month of his Presidency, President Obama promised to cut the federal budget deficit in half by the end of his first term out of concern that “over time, federal borrowing will make it harder for the U.S. economy to grow and create jobs,” according to an administration official.’

Three years later, it seems clear that the White House has forgotten the linkage between reckless spending and the level of economic growth that promotes private sector job creation. 

The Obama Administration has run the three largest deficits in U.S. history. And those deficits have added $4.5 trillion to our national debt!

“Yes, business uncertainty, looming tax increases and excessive regulation have all provided a real drag on any economic recovery. But the budget deficit and the heavy burden of debt do matter, too,” Rodney said. “As a nation, we are spending way beyond our means and we have to find a way – on a bipartisan basis - to address the spending issues. 

“In two weeks, when he unveils his next budget, the President has a real opportunity to send a clear signal to job creators that Washington is serious about addressing the deficit and debt now.  And if he does, he will reduce the risk that American families and small businesses will be faced with crushing tax hikes down the road,” Rodney said. “If the President puts forth a serious, credible plan to cut spending and address the debt, Congress will certainly work with him on that effort.”

By The Numbers: More Debt & Record-Breaking Deficits:

Noted With Interest: Where’s the Budget?

Next Tuesday will mark 1,000 days since the United States Senate passed a budget. As we all know, American businesses and families have to set and operate within budgets.  For almost three years now the Senate has virtually ignored the looming deficit our country faces. 

Stop SOPA!

In the face of mounting opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), House sponsors of the legislation have postponed committee consideration of the bill.  That’s ok with Rodney.  He opposes SOPA.

“There is no doubt that online piracy is real and it harms our economy and American workers,” Rodney said.  “However, I am aware that the proposed legislation could result in all sorts of unintended consequences that threaten a dynamic global internet.  We must take care to ensure that the proposed ‘cure’ – SOPA - is not worse than the actual ‘problem.’”

Sponsors say the bill was drafted to target foreign web sites that illegally post copyrighted material from the United States. But many web firms argue that the bill places the onus of blocking out pirated material on U.S. companies — search engines, aggregators and forums — who now worry they’ll have to police every link on their web sites 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The bills would also allow private citizens and companies to sue to stop what they believed to be theft of protected content. Those and other provisions triggered strong opposition among Internet companies, technology investors and free speech advocates, who said the bills would stifle online innovation, violate the First Amendment and even compromise national security by undermining the integrity of the Internet’s naming system.

“It’s pretty clear that there’s a lack of consensus on these important issues,” Rodney said.  “Sponsors should be working hard to develop agreement with all concerned parties before any version of SOPA moves forward. I oppose it today. ”

Recommended Reading: Nicole Perlroth, writing in the Monday New York Times, “Even Large Companies Cannot Protect Their Data.”

Recommended Reading: Isabel Kershner writing in the Tuesday New York Times, "2 Israeli Web Sites Cripples as Cyberwar Escalates."

New Website for a More Transparent House of Representatives

The House Administration Committee and the Clerk of the House have developed a new website to allow the American people to know more about the legislation being debated on the House floor.  Docs.House.Gov will increase public access to House bills by making them available in the open, machine-readable XML format.

Visit the website here.

Recommended Reading: Walter Pincus, writing in the Monday Washington Post,Daily Intelligence Briefings Yield Clues to a President’s Approach on Foreign Policy.

Recommended Reading: Paul Farhi in the Tuesday Washington Post,  “China Bids to Shape its Story.” ‘Open source’ stories like this provide a window on Chinese intentions in the economic, political and, perhaps, the military realm.  Read the story here.