Today, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), Chairman of the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, listed four key issues that President Obama will not likely address during tonight’s State of the Union address.
“We are bound to hear a lot of rhetoric from President Obama on past accomplishments and future goals for the remaining years of his lame duck term. What we won’t hear, however, are the facts on how his policies – including Obamacare and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) far-left environmental agenda – are hurting small businesses and the future of our economy,” said Vitter.
Below are a few issues that Vitter does not expect the President to discuss during this evening’s State of the Union:
1. Obamacare Prevents Small Businesses from Growing
Under the Affordable Care Act, small businesses have limited access to health care choices and financial assistance to procure health insurance for their employees, and are facing major uncertainty in terms of determining whether or not they are subject to the employer mandate, are able to grow their businesses, and create jobs. Instead, small businesses are spending hours wading through complex accounting methods to figure out their business size and who is eligible for subsidies. One Obamacare provision says that small businesses with over 50 employees have to pay higher fees and deal with more red tape, which is why many businesses are avoiding hiring that 50th employee.
While small businesses suffer, Congress along with the Obama Administration created a loophole and designated itself a “small business” so they can keep their taxpayer funded subsidy for Obamacare by purchasing their plans through the District of Columbia Small Business Exchange.
Vitter has introduced legislation to ensure that all Members of Congress, all Congressional staff, the President, Vice-President, and all political appointees within the administration must purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange, like the law intended, without a special taxpayer-funded subsidy.
Just last week, Vitter held a Small Business Committee field hearing in Bossier City, La. to examine the real life consequences of how small businesses are navigating Obamacare implementation, and how Members of Congress have been exempted from Obamacare by allowing themselves to maintain a taxpayer subsidy unavailable to any other American. Click here to read more.
2. Domestic Energy Revolution has Helped Consumers
In recent years, domestic energy production on state and private lands has increased by 40%. This resource boom is partially responsible for lowering domestic fossil energy prices, which in turn benefits the manufacturing sector, and individual consumers. This natural resource production provides an abundance of the base materials needed to manufacture important products, including iPads, computers, televisions, automobiles, advanced medical equipment, and even solar panels and wind turbines.
In direct contrast is the lowered rate of production on federal lands, which has declined each year of Obama’s tenure. This is especially troubling as a greater percentage of private companies avoid having to do business with the federal government.
In the 113th Congress, as the top Republican on the Senate Environment & Public Works (EPW) Committee, Vitter published a Committee staff report that uncovered the truth behind the science and economic benefits of hydraulic fracturing and exposed the depths of the Obama Administration's war on oil and natural gas development. Click here to read the report, “Setting the Record Straight: Hydraulic Fracturing and America’s Energy Revolution.”
3. Environmental Policies Similar to Obama’s Programs Have Hurt European Economies
The Obama EPA has proposed energy policies similar to those enacted in Europe. Europe’s carbon regulations have contributed to energy insecurity and economic decline.
Vitter has been pushing the Administration to back down from continuing to pursue carbon policies that have been failing in Europe and around the world. Click here to read more. Vitter also has legislation to prohibit the regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., until China, India and Russia implement similar reductions. China's verbal commitment to hopefully stop increasing emissions does not qualify for implementing reductions. Click here to read more.
Last year on the EPW Committee, Vitter published a Committee staff report, which provided the opportunity for critical analysis of climate science and expert testimony provided to Congress, including the impacts of climate regulations on the European countries that have adopted restrictive policies. Click here to read the report, “Critical Thinking on Climate Change: Empirical Evidence to Consider Before Taking Regulatory Action and Implementing Economic Policies.”
Additionally, testimony given before the EPW Committee in 2014 supports the statements that carbon regulations would increase energy costs, likely harming the poor the most as seen in Germany and the United Kingdom. Click here and here to read more.
4. Future Generations Will Have to Manage Massive Debt
Just last month, the U.S. federal debt reached over $18 trillion. Currently, almost 50% of all federal spending is due to the major entitlement programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These programs are expected to grow in the coming years. Not only does the federal debt severely threaten our economy, but it will also be on future generations to pay it off – and the interest that goes along with it.
Vitter has introduced a number of government reform bills to help the federal government manage its debt problems now, instead of waiting for future generations to handle it. One of his bills would eliminate the Treasury Department’s ability to use extraordinary measures to extend U.S. borrowing authority and require the Treasury Department to provide Congress with its daily balance sheet information. He introduced legislation to protect and prioritize Social Security payments in the event that the debt limit is reached. Click here to read more. He also supports a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that requires Washington to live within its means and puts strict limits on the ability of Congress to run deficits and add to the national debt.