Economy & Jobs
My top priority is protecting and creating jobs here in southwest Michigan. As Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I am working to ensure that our region has a seat at the national table on issues of importance to Michigan families and businesses.
Streamlining the FDA Approval Process for Prescription Drugs and Medical Devices
As a major life sciences corridor, southwest Michigan is a national leader in healthcare research and manufacturing. In 2011 and 2012, I led the way in the House for the successful reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) user fee programs for prescription drugs and medical devices. By improving the federal evaluation and approval processes, we significantly help manufactures here in Michigan and throughout the country better compete with companies overseas, allowing them to bring their life-saving products to patients faster. My FDA reform bill also supports advancements in generic drugs and biosimilars, helps prevent future drug shortages, and promotes treatment options for children with rare diseases.
Protecting Businesses from Overreaching Regulations
I have led the fight to protect jobs and keep energy costs down by preventing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies from imposing new and overreaching regulations on job creators and energy producers. Among other efforts, my Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910) seeks to preserve the Clean Air Act as it stands today by preventing the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. I believe that we can simultaneously create jobs and protect our environment, but allowing unelected bureaucrats to enforce rules Congress clearly never intended for them to is unacceptable.
Keeping our Great Lakes Harbors Open
Ensuring our harbors remain open and ready for business is essential to job creation and economic activity in southwest Michigan. I have continued to help lead the bipartisan effort to ensure that federal revenues derived for harbor maintenance dredging are fully used for their intended purpose – maintaining our ports, harbors, and waterways. In these tough economic times, it is unacceptable that the administration has kept many of these unused revenues on the books to offset spending elsewhere. I have also long been a leading supporter of seasonal dredging projects in southwest Michigan to ensure area harbors remain open to commercial and recreational traffic, which thousands of local jobs and countless businesses are dependent upon.
Promoting Michigan Exports
To bolster Michigan business, I supported the successful passage of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea. By removing barriers to U.S. exports, we can grow our economy here in southwest Michigan. The three agreements are expected to increase Michigan agriculture exports by nearly $45 million per year. The medical device industry also stands to benefit from these agreements, which would be a huge boon to employers in our region.
Making Essential Investments in Transportation Infrastructure
I was a senior House negotiator on the 2012 Highway Bill, which reflects our commitment to jobs, safety, and smaller government. By eliminating bureaucratic red tape and focusing taxpayer dollars on high-priority projects, this agreement will support American jobs and infrastructure projects to improve the safety of our nation’s roads and bridges. What’s more, it includes commonsense reforms to ensure that taxpayer dollars are wisely spent and that critical infrastructure projects are not needlessly delayed by the regulatory process.
Supporting the Harbor Shores Development Project
Working with local government and community leaders, I helped lead the way for the Harbor Shores development project, including the cleanup of the former industrial site. This project is already beginning to yield tremendous dividends in Benton Harbor through new public green space, a growing local tax base, and revived economic development.
Shielding Business Owners from Hidden Tax Reporting Mandates
Michigan small businesses should be focused on local job creation, not complying with costly, burdensome mandates coming out of Washington. I proudly helped lead the successful and bipartisan charge (H.R. 4) to eliminate an onerous tax reporting provision hidden within the President’s healthcare law. Specifically, the law required that every business file separate paperwork with the IRS for every single business-to-business transaction that exceeds $600 over a given year, such as fuel, utilities, and office supplies.