Received via email from Robert Hurt:
Rep. Robert Hurt, R-5th District, makes no one guess how he feels about federal regulations and domestic energy production — two polarizing issues in Congress. Hurt has voted several times on legislation to reduce regulations and increase U.S. energy production since he has been in office. And he is becoming a champion on both causes.
Many of these types of legislation have passed the House of Representative, some of it with bipartisan efforts, but all have failed to go through the Democratically-controlled Senate.
Hurt is frustrated.
“We pass these bills and send them to the Senate and we get crickets,” said Hurt.
As he has traveled across the 5th District he said he has continually heard about the red tape federal regulations pose on businesses. One example he gave was a business owner who had 48 employees and wanted hire more and expand but did not want to expand because of the healthcare law which require businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide healthcare coverage or pay penalties.
Hurt uses this as an example of how anti-regulation legislation can encourage job growth. He referred to these regulations as “job killers.” Philosophically, he believes that the federal government should have less power and he has voted that way.
Are the regulations necessary? Hurt said people must take environmental cautions but the legislation being promoted is detrimental in its excessiveness.
“Every regulation has a cost,” said Hurt. “And we should ensure that the cost does not exceed the benefit.”
Hurt also argues that domestic energy production would have an enormous effect on job growth. But like the anti-regulation resolutions, Hurt’s supported bills on the matter have been passed in the House, but not the Senate.
If you open up new sources of domestic supply, there could be the potential for hundreds of thousands of jobs in the long term, Hurt argues.
“Energy bills are the most important,” said Hurt who believed President Barack Obama had a game-changing chance to do something about energy production by getting some of the bills for domestic energy production passed.
One of the most common complaints Hurt heard when visiting the district was about the high energy costs. He pointed out that many people could not even afford to get a full tank of gas and that the prices are a major hindrance to farmer’s and business owners.
It is hard to prove if the energy production would immediately affect job growth or not. But many local business owners see the direct effects of federal regulations.
Bruce Whitehurst, president of the Virginia Bankers Association, said that he often sees the effects of government regulations. The main reasons businesses are not growing are because of uncertainty over the debt crises and the regulatory environment.
“What I keep hearing is that there are a lot of EPA rules that affect businesses,” said Whitehurst. A lot of people were also concerned with the new regulations for health care, workplace safety and increased tax liabilities.
Whitehurst said that there is a great deal of reluctance for businesses to hire more people and a lot of them are choosing temporary employees instead, waiting out any changes.
Hurt understands this problem after his tours through the district, but tries to remain optimistic.
“I believe we can get through this mess,” Hurt said.
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