Jobs and Economy
I am supportive of an economic growth and job creation package that includes reinvesting in America's economy, encouraging innovation, investing in education, and protecting consumers.
Over the past few years, we have seen the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. That is why my top priority has been fighting to put Rhode Islanders back to work — standing up for small businesses and taxpayers, and building a strong new foundation for the American economy.
In addition to the work I am doing in Washington, a critical component of my job is to ensure that our state takes full advantage of available resources and to connect Rhode Island stakeholders, like businesses and universities, to collaborate on shared priorities. The skills gap has been a particularly significant drag on Rhode Island’s economy, contributing to the state’s persistently high unemployment. In visits to businesses, I repeatedly hear they are struggling to fill openings because applicants lack necessary skills. Addressing this problem requires better cooperation between the businesses doing the hiring and the educators preparing the students.
Rhode Island’s unemployment rate remains stubbornly and unacceptably high at 9.1%. Making matters worse, on December 28, 2013, long-term unemployment benefits expired for all Americans. Despite bipartisan support, House Republicans have been unwilling to bring an extension to the House floor. I have cosponsored numerous bills to extend these benefits, and I have co-signed letters urging House leadership to bring these bills to the floor. I hope that the House will act swiftly to extend these benefits.
That is why I launched the Rhode Island Skilled Economy (RISE) Tour to advocate for initiatives and create partnerships that will help employers to find skilled workers that fit the needs of expanding industries. Rhode Island has the unique ability to take on small-scale, cutting-edge initiatives that serve as national models for putting innovative ideas into action, and that is why I have hosted forums and symposiums on topics that include Small Business Innovation Research, women-owned small businesses and cybersecurity workforce development.
In the summer of 2013, as a continuation the RISE tour, I started the Classroom to Career Tour, focused on job training programs across the district that help youth develop the skills they need to succeed in in-demand careers. Be sure to check my Classroom to Career blog for more details.
I am committed to ensuring that Congress focuses on common-sense legislation to address job creation and tax cuts that help all Americans, not just the wealthiest. I will continue my efforts to craft policies that promote American prosperity by growing the economy with long-term fiscal discipline in mind. I am supportive of an economic growth and job creation package that includes:
- Reinvesting in America’s Economy: We must provide funding to undertake infrastructure projects while investing in high growth and high demand industries such as information technology, health care and clean energy. I am a cosponsor of H.R. 375, the Make it in America Manufacturing Act, to facilitate the creation of unique public-private partnerships – bringing together federal, state, local, and regional stakeholders to develop comprehensive Manufacturing Enhancement Strategies and deliver targeted resources to strengthen this vital sector of our economy.
- Encouraging Innovation: To improve our economy, we need to encourage innovation that will create 21st century jobs. The Research and Development Tax credit, which was reauthorized in early 2013, is a wonderful tool for encouraging investment in the products and technologies that will lead to a stronger 21st Century economy. Accelerated tax depreciation will allow businesses to write off certain capital expenses, encouraging them to purchase necessary goods now that will spur economic activity in other sectors.
- Investing in Education and Job Training Programs: The best way to ensure America’s continued economic strength is to provide our children with a top notch education and support training programs for jobs in growing fields. Investing in our workforce will have long-term benefits for our economy. As a co-chair of the Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, I am working in Rhode Island and at the national level to highlight the importance of career and technical education in creating jobs, retraining workers, and ensuring that students of all ages are career- and college-ready.
- Protecting Consumers: When the economic downturn hit, it became clear that making a profit had become more important than protecting the consumer for many businesses. That is why I supported the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which contains the most comprehensive financial regulatory reform since the Great Depression and protects consumers, eliminates risks that contributed to the financial collapse, and puts our country on a path to prosperity.