WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Gregg Harper (R-MS), Martha Roby (R-AL), and Fred Upton (R-MI) call on President Obama to support House-passed bills that address issues he discussed in the State of the Union. Among these areas of common ground are federal research, job training, workplace rules, and natural gas. The address echoes a letter House Republican leaders sent to the president on Thursday.
Weekly Republican Address
February 1, 2014
House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI): You may not have been thinking about it at the time. but on Tuesday, when the president was delivering the State of the Union, we were observing a tradition prescribed by our Constitution.
All branches of government and all walks of life gathering round in the people’s House.
It is democracy at its finest.
But these blessings do come with responsibilities. â€¨â€¨
The Constitution also requires the president and the Congress to heed the will of you, the people, and work together to carry out the business of the country.
So in that spirit, Republicans have identified four areas of bipartisan common ground that the president talked about in his speech.
Even better, these are all areas where the House has already acted and we can move the ball forward without delay.
We’d like to share these ideas with you now.
Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS): Well, for example, the president talked about supporting federally funded research to unleash more great discoveries. â€¨â€¨
We agree. More must be done to prioritize the resources we have for the research we need.
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act would eliminate public funding for political party conventions and instead fund pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health. â€¨
We’re talking about everything from cancer, autism, and Fragile X Syndrome to the rarest genetic disorders.
No, we can’t fix it all, but surely creating a lifetime of hope and opportunity for our most vulnerable kids is more important than subsidizing week-long political pep rallies.
Representative Martha Roby (R-AL): We also want to do all we can to help hardworking Americans balance the demands of family and work.
Whether it's for taking a child to the doctor or taking care of aging parents, many Americans need more flexibility in their jobs.
The president talked some about this, saying we need to fix workplace rules from the “Mad Men” era.
I’m glad he raised this issue.
The Working Families Flexibility Act allows workers in the private sector the option of using their overtime toward paid time off – or comp time – if that's what they'd rather have.
Government employees already have this option, so why not give private sector workers the same choices?
Our bill would finally replace restrictions that, believe it or not, have been in place since 1938, long before Don Draper’s time.
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN): Of course more must be done for the millions of Americans who are having such a hard time finding a job.
One thing the president talked about is ensuring workers can get the right skills for the right jobs.
We agree this is critical. As someone who worked at a community college in job training, I know our economy has changed, but the way we train our workers has not.
The SKILLS Act would consolidate the dozens of job training programs on the books and put the focus on programs that work. Programs that actually lead to jobs.
All while strengthening the vital relationship between our community colleges and job training programs.
I strongly believe this legislation would create an opportunity for every American to find a good paying job.
Chairman Upton: We not only want Americans working again – we want them building.
The president talked about how natural gas production is good for our economy and for our jobs.
We couldn’t agree more.
And in a bitterly cold winter, in my home state of Michigan and across much of the nation, where the demand for electricity is high, and heating bills even higher, the time is ripe for action.
But our infrastructure has not kept pace, which is why we must build an Architecture of Abundance to help create jobs today and keep energy affordable tomorrow.
The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act cuts red tape to ensure that pipelines can be built. It connects natural gas supplies with new manufacturing plants. And it is another step towards a real all-of-the-above energy policy.
These four bills cover a lot of ground, I know, but they are all about making life work for more Americans. And again, they need only a vote in the Senate - because we’ve already passed them in the House - to make it to the president’s desk.
To help push things along, Republican leaders have sent a letter to President Obama laying out all this common ground, and we are eagerly awaiting his reply.
We believe that this can be a year of bipartisan action, a moment when speeches give way to solutions.
The American people never let us down, and we cannot let them down either.