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Posted by Randy | August 26, 2014

The Port of Virginia is one of our most unique and valuable assets in the Fourth District of Virginia. As the Panama Canal expands to allow the passage of the large cargo vessels known as Post-Panamax ships, it is important to note that the Port of Virginia is one of the few deep-water ports already able to accommodate such vessels. However, the maintenance and improvement of crane, rail, and trucking infrastructure remains critical for the Port to handle the increased volume of cargo the Post-Panamax ships carry. Ships will only come to the Port if the channel is deep enough and the Port can receive and process their cargo in a timely and efficient way.

Ensuring that these transportation links are not only working, but growing, will give us tremendous economic opportunities. That’s why I spearheaded the creation of the bipartisan Congressional Panama Canal Expansion Caucus to assess the impact the expansion will have on U.S. ports and inland infrastructure. The Caucus will highlight steps that Congress needs to take to make sure our nation's ports are prepared for a new era of commerce, and to ensure the United States remains a global leader in commerce and transportation.

Posted by Randy | August 21, 2014

Reinvigorating American manufacturing is crucial to the economic future of our country. We need to create a national manufacturing strategy that strengthens U.S. companies by reducing burdensome taxes and regulations, and preserves the rich manufacturing heritage of this country.                    

This week, I visited manufacturing plants in the Fourth District and met with employees and business leaders, who serve as the engine behind this key industry.  We discussed creating an economic environment that encourages growth and competitiveness for U.S. companies. To learn more, visit my website here.

I cosponsored the Bring Jobs Back to America Act, which seeks to bring outsourced overseas jobs back to the United States in order to encourage job creation, by taking a few common sense steps. Learn more, here.  
Posted by Randy | May 15, 2014

As we celebrate Small Business Week and recognize the value and importance of small businesses not just to our communities, but to the economic stability and prosperity of our nation, I wanted to share this article with you written by Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the House Small Business Committee.  

Small Business Week
By Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) - 05/14/14 09:00 AM EDT 

Every small business throughout the country is a story of someone’s hard work, a good idea, or a plan to make life better for their family. Many succeed, some don’t. We should respect the courage, risk and sacrifice required to build a business. One of the purposes of National Small Business Week is recognition of that effort, but there’s more to it. We should examine policies that are helping and hurting small business and make the appropriate changes to encourage their growth because our economy hinges on their success.

Small businesses are responsible for about half the nation’s economic output, and when it comes to jobs, small firms have an outsized impact. Small companies comprise about half of all private sector jobs in total, and lead the way in job creation with 60-to-80 percent of all new jobs, depending on the year. All told, small firms can take credit for 65 percent of jobs created over a recent 17-year span, according to the Small Business Administration.

It’s fair to say that if small businesses are thriving, then the economy is likely to be healthy. If small businesses are struggling, then the economy is not strong. 

Over the past month, the latest economic information has been a mix of good news and bad. The unemployment rate has fallen, but a closer look shows far too many Americans leaving the workforce. Moreover, the economy slowed to a mere 0.1 percent growth last quarter. Throughout the very slow recovery of the past several years, the economy has never really roared back or created jobs at the pace the country needs.

Small businesses are a major part of the solution for jobs and growth. When small firms grow, the benefits spread throughout the economy. The irony is that these businesses are often treated by Washington as though they are part of the problem. During the last five years, small businesses have faced numerous roadblocks to growth, including mounting federal regulations, higher taxes, economic uncertainty, and burdensome requirements from the health care law.

As one Connecticut small business owner, Dan De Clercq, commented to the Small Business Committee through our interactive website Small Biz Open Mic, “Since ObamaCare became a discussion in 2008, our yearly premium has doubled from 113k to 220k presently. Plus our deductibles and co-pays have increased to obscene levels. Eliminate or halve my corporate income taxes, help bring my company-sponsored health care back to normal levels and I'd hire four more people.”

Dan’s not alone in his experience. A recent NFIB study shows that ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Tax will cost the economy up to 286,000 jobs, and 57 percent of those jobs would be from small businesses. Over the past five years, the cost of new regulations on the American economy has spiked by $73 billion annually. The Administration has issued a burdensome 157 new major rules, each with economic costs of $100 million or more. This government power grab is predictably not leading to robust economic growth.

Despite the state of the economy, the U.S. Senate continues to ignore nearly 40 growth and jobs bills passed by the House. These bills range from reducing red tape to ensuring access to affordable energy.

Small businesses are widely supported by Americans, but they could use some more common-sense from Washington. The nation’s 28 million small businesses don’t need new bureaucracies or more government control; they need the administration to get out of the way so they can grow.

National Small Business Week is a great time to say “thank-you” to a small business in your neighborhood and “shop small.” I also believe this week is a great reminder that if Washington is going to talk-the-talk then Washington needs to get serious about a small business growth agenda that is going to back up that rhetoric. 

Graves has represented Missouri's 6th Congressional District since 2001. He is chairman of the Small Business Committee and also sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Posted by Randy | May 02, 2014

On September 19, 2008, backers of the Keystone XL pipeline first submitted an application to the U.S. State Department to build this energy infrastructure project, designed to bring both jobs and greater energy security to the United States of America.

It’s been over five years since that day.
This past January, the State Department issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the permit application, confirming the project is safe and will have limited environmental impacts. Despite this, the Obama Administration recently announced that it is indefinitely extending its long-awaited review of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

It is unacceptable for politics to continue to delay a project that will spur economic growth and move us towards greater energy independence.  It’s been 5 long years. Americans are waiting. It is time to build. Click here to share on facebook.                                       

 I have supported the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which removes any need for presidential approval of the pipeline, and the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act (H.R. 334), which would allow Congress to directly and immediately approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Posted by Randy | February 06, 2014

I am pleased to let you know that on Friday, January 31, 2014, the State Department released its final environmental impact study regarding construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

It is my hope that the administration acts without delay on this project to spur economic growth and energy independence.

I have supported the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which removes any need for presidential approval of the pipeline, and the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act (H.R. 334), which would allow Congress to directly and immediately approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Posted by Randy | January 31, 2014
On January 28, 2014, President Obama delivered his fifth official State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress.  As part of the speech, the President announced that he will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees $10.10 an hour, and urged Congress to increase the overall federal minimum wage to the same rate.

Supporters believe that raising the minimum wage is necessary to reduce income inequality in our nation and grow the economy because workers will have more money to put back into their local communities.   Those who oppose the increase believe that more regulation from Washington will further burden small businesses - forcing employers to slow hiring and reduce hours - thereby stifling economic growth.

Question of the week:   Do you support an increase in the federal minimum wage

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know. 
( ) Other.

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | November 15, 2013

Putting aside political posturing and partisan talking points, what is the healthcare law's real life impact on small businesses across America? A survey of companies representing 42 million jobs, released this month by the International Franchise Association and Chamber of Commerce, reveals that the law is forcing our nation’s job creators to cut employee hours and halt job creation. Here are some highlights:

  • 64% of franchise and 53% of non-franchise businesses believe the health care law will have a negative impact on their businesses.
  • 29% of franchise and 41% of non-franchise businesses are already seeing health care costs increase due to the law.  
  • Over 50% of franchise and non-franchise businesses are planning to make decisions, such as reducing employee hours, to comply with the law’s employer mandate and definition of full-time employment as those working 30-hours a week, rather than the traditional 40 hours.

To place this burden on the backs of our nation’s number one job creators is both unacceptable and short sighted. That is why I championed solutions to:

  • Fully defund the law (H.R. 2682).
  • Protect businesses from the penalties of the healthcare law (H.R. 2667).
  • Relieve small businesses from burdensome tax reporting requirements (H.R. 4).
  • Amend the definition of full-time employment to restore the traditional 40-hour week (H.R.2575).
 I want to hear from small business owners in the 4th District: how is the Affordable Care Act impacting you? Weigh in below.
Posted by Randy | August 06, 2013
I want to share an article with you, following the President’s latest speech about the need to grow the economy and create new jobs. His proposal would increase taxes and invest that additional revenue in infrastructure and manufacturing. 

I agree that we should lower the corporate tax rate to make it more competitive and strive to make our tax code simpler; however, a proposal that also increases taxes is not the way to spur economic growth and job creation. Read about my work on alternative solutions to revitalize our economy and create jobs here.
Posted by Randy | July 26, 2013
This week, the President delivered a speech about the need to refocus the attention of Washington on the economy, as bailouts, stimulus, sequestration, and an overhaul of the healthcare system have not worked to achieve economic prosperity. 

While the unemployment rate remains over 7 percent, federal employees have been furloughed, and each American’s share of the national debt is over $53,000, I have worked on and supported alternative solutions to revitalize our economy and create jobs.

Question of the week:  What do you believe the federal government should do to spur economic growth? (multiple answer)

( ) Reduce burdensome regulations
( ) Lower health care costs
( ) Reduce individual taxes
( ) Make the corporate tax rate more competitive
( ) Provide greater access to capital
( ) Raise the minimum wage
( ) Bring outsourced jobs back to the United States
( ) Support free trade
( ) I don’t know
( ) Other (leave your comments below).

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | May 20, 2013
I thought you might be interested in a recent article I read in The Washington Post, which detailed a disturbing trend: The GSA has failed to fully pay 1,334 federal contractors, shorting small businesses by over $3 million. Today’s economic environment is uncertain enough, but when you add in federal agencies that cannot be trusted to fulfill their half of the bargain, small businesses become discouraged from competing and hesitant to invest, stunting our entire country’s economic growth.

As the backbone of the American economy, entrepreneurs and small businesses are crucial contributors to our nation’s economic success. I will continue to work to promote policies that create a healthy economic environment which encourages small businesses to do what they do best: grow, innovate, creat jobs, and lead our country forward.