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Jobs & Economy

Southern Wisconsin’s families continue to work hard to make ends meet.  In Wisconsin, the unemployment rate is 2.9 percent, while the national unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent.  But, another telling factor to consider when evaluating the health of the economy is the labor force participation rate, which refers to the number of people who are either employed or are actively looking for work, is 62.8 percent.  In a struggling economy, many workers often get discouraged and stop looking for employment, and as a result, the participation rate decreases.  Another way of looking at this is the U-6 unemployment rate, which is a comprehensive measure of labor underutilization that takes into account persons marginally attached to the labor force, as well as persons who would like to be employed full time but can only find part-time work – in other words, the unemployed, the underemployed and the discouraged who have given up on finding work.  The U-6 unemployment rate stands at 7.4 percent.

Moving forward, I believe the economic growth that our country needs will not come from Washington.  It originates from the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people.  This spirit can only thrive if the government creates an economic-friendly environment that allows businesses to grow and create jobs.  To achieve these ends, Republicans in the House have passed dozens of bills aimed at empowering small business owners, reducing regulatory burdens, encouraging entrepreneurship, increasing competitiveness for American manufacturers, and paying down America's unsustainable debt burden.  As the 115th Congress continues, I will work to advance policies that address our economic challenges, foster innovation and investment, and help job creators without raising taxes on working families and small business owners.

A Responsible, Balanced Budget to Grow the Economy and Create Jobs

Much like any family or business, the federal government must have a budget each year, effectively setting a limit on what it can spend.  Producing this annual budget is one of the most vital and important tasks for which Congress is responsible.  The process begins with the House and the Senate each passing their own budget resolutions.  If the House and Senate pass budgets that are not identical, they enter into what is called a conference.  A conference committee consists of members of both the House and Senate that are appointed by their respective bodies to negotiate a consensus budget agreement.  Once a conference resolves any differences between the two separate budget resolutions, a report is issued and a concurrent resolution can be passed.

Subsequently, the process of passing individual appropriations bills, as outlined by the conference budget, funds the government for the upcoming year.  If differences cannot be reconciled in a conference, or appropriations bills are not passed and signed into law before October 1 – the first day of a new fiscal year (FY) – Congress has the option of passing a short-term spending bill, called a continuing resolution (CR).  The CR maintains current funding levels while the House and Senate resolve outstanding differences between different versions of appropriations bills within each chamber, between the two chambers, and between both chambers and the President.  This means that a CR typically maintains spending levels from the previous fiscal year until a new spending bill for the next year can be agreed to and enacted into law.  

Unlike an appropriations bill, a budget resolution is not submitted to the President to be signed in law.  A budget resolution is, however, the only legislation that views the federal government as a whole, and therefore has an indelibly important impact on the policy agenda in Congress.  As such, it serves to resolve any conflicting judgments about our national priorities, and it helps reconcile divergent views of our country's future.  Ultimately, a budget resolution is more than a list of numbers – it’s an expression of our governing philosophy.  

On October 5, 2017, this measure came before the House in the form of H. Con. Res. 71, a concurrent budget resolution that establishes the Congressional budget for FY 2018 and sets forth appropriate budgetary levels for the FY 2019 – 2027 period, and was passed by a vote of 219 to 206.  H. Con. Res. 71 reflects our founding principles: freedom, free enterprise, and a government accountable to the people it serves.  This resolution establishes a path to a balanced budget through restrained spending, reduction in taxes, and economic growth.  It also unlocks reconciliation, an expedited legislative procedure that can only be triggered by the adoption of a concurrent budget resolution.  After further action in the Senate, H. Con. Res. 71 returned to the House and on October 26, 2017, it was passed by a vote of 216 to 212.  I voted in favor of final passage.  

Tax Reform: For Job Creators of All Sizes

While Congress can provide reforms that allow taxpayers to keep more of their paychecks, it is also important to make sure that we unleash the private sector’s ability to create jobs and make the investments that increase productivity and wages.  That is why the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act ensures much needed tax relief goes to job creators as well.  In order to reduce the burdens on businesses of all sizes, this bill allows businesses to immediately write off the cost of new equipment and investments for at least five years, and levels the playing field for American companies and workers by reducing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent – down from 35 percent, which is the highest in the industrialized world.  This significant reduction will give a much-needed lift to the economy, create jobs, promote competitiveness, and put an end to the perverse incentive that companies had to offshore jobs and keep profits overseas.  

In Wisconsin, approximately 9 out of 10 businesses file their taxes as individuals.  These small businesses, known as "sub-chapter S corporations," limited liability corporations (LLCs) and partnerships employ more than half of all private sector workers.  Today, two-thirds of net new jobs in America are created by these small businesses.  To support these small and family-owned businesses – the backbone of America’s economy – this bill offers a 20% tax deduction that applies to the first $315,000 of joint income earned.  For business owners with income above this level, a 20 percent deduction on business profits will be instituted, reducing the marginal tax rate to no more than 29.6 percent. 

To read more about the benefits of tax reform for individuals and families, you may view more at www.fairandsimple.gop.  

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