One of the best ways to create jobs is to get the government out of the way. The hard work and determination of our people made this country into the great nation it is today. Many parts of Southside and Southwest Virginia have experienced higher than average unemployment rates for years. Lower taxes, sensible regulation, and a playing field not tilted so heavily towards foreign countries will allow private enterprises in the Alleghany Highlands, Southside, and Southwest Virginia to regain their competitive advantage due to innovation and a strong work ethic.
Along with my team, we support and encourage Workforce Development coordinators in their plans to strengthen readiness for Advanced Manufacturing Skills for our existing workforce; encourage Planning District Commissions, cities, counties and towns to work together on regional planning concepts for attracting new manufacturers and businesses to the area.
Along with my team, we coordinate with and assist the Regional Economic Development organizations as well as individual city and county Economic Development Directors to identify and attract manufacturers and businesses to locate in the Southwest, Southside Virginia and the Alleghany Highlands.
Along with my team, we work with cities, counties, and towns to strengthen the relationships with our existing businesses and find opportunities to help them grow. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and I will continue to support them anyway we can.
I was an original co-sponsor of the bipartisan Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More (RECLAIM) Act (H.R. 1731). This bill aims to accelerate $1 billion in existing available funding in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation (AML) Fund to revitalize coal communities hardest hit by the downturn of the coal industry. The AML program, established as part of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), promotes the reclamation of certain sites that were mined and then abandoned. The RECLAIM Act is an important bill to help reinvigorate coal communities throughout Appalachia struggling with reclaiming and restoring abandoned mine sites in a way that would help put people back to work.
Further, I offered an amendment, which was adopted and passed, to the Fiscal Year 2017 Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (Interior Appropriations bill, H.R. 5538), to expand on the Administration’s POWER Plus program, a program which acknowledges the damaging effects of the Administration’s regulatory onslaught in coal-producing communities. My amendment provides an increase in grant funding to Appalachian states for the reclamation of abandoned mine lands in conjunction with economic and community development and reuse goals. The House Interior Appropriations Committee initially recommended that Virginia receive $5 million when expanding these grants. Believing additional funding is needed to assist with economic development work in Appalachia, my staff and I worked closely with the Committee on the amendment to double that amount to $10 million. While I continue fighting to defend the reasonable, rational use of coal and working to counter the ongoing regulatory onslaught on our coal regions, I continue my efforts to advance economic development strategies as well.
Cosponsor of the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act (H.R. 26). This legislation would requires an up-or-down vote on “major rules” (those rules that have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more) by Congress before they can be enforced on the American public. The REINS Act would restore congressional accountability by requiring Congress and the President to approve major rules before they can be enforced against the American people. It would improve the regulatory process by making Members of Congress accountable to their constituents for the regulations that go into effect, and would prevent unnecessary regulations that the American people do not want.
Introduced H.R. 2250, the EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011, to make sure the EPA got regulations right on boilers for businesses, manufacturers, hospitals, universities, and municipalities without imposing unnecessary costs. My bill passed the House of Representatives on October 13, 2011 with bipartisan support with a vote of 275-142. Similar legislation in the Senate garnered the support of 42 members from both sides of the aisle. The final “Boiler MACT” rules finalized by the EPA in December of 2012 clearly reflected some of the concerns that I expressed that earlier Boiler MACT regulations were unworkable, and the EPA showed a willingness to work with businesses using wood products and byproducts as fuel.
Introduced the Commonsense Permitting for Job Creation Act (H.R. 3434), with former Rep. Robert Hurt and Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers from blocking permits for industrial parks and other economic development sites that do not yet have an identified end user. The Corps was blocking a permit for the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County, which is a proposed development to attract in new industry and create jobs. By working together, we were able to convince the Army Corps to finally grant this permit so Henry County can begin the work of developing the sites and attracting new businesses into Southside and Southwest Virginia.
Supported legislation to repeal Obamacare and voted to defund Obamacare. Obamacare is contributing negatively to the already sluggish economy, as implementation costs are rising and people are losing their health insurance plans, only to find them replaced with plans that cost more and have higher deductibles.
Original co-sponsor of the Virginia Jobs and Energy Act (H.R. 1756), which would fast track oil, natural gas, and other energy development off Virginia’s coasts.
Received the “Guardian of Small Business Award” from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) for the 112th,113th,114th, and 115th Congresses - 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Recognized as a Hero of Main Street in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018 by the National Retail Federation. (Award was established in 2013).
Received the National Association of Manufacturers’ Legislative Excellence Award for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 (112th,113th,and114th Congresses), which recognizes Members of Congress whose legislative records support policies that enable American manufacturers to compete in the global marketplace.
Received the U.S Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise Award for 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Named “Legislator of the Year” in 2015 by the American Composites Manufacturers Association in recognition of work that I have done in Congress in support of the composites industry.
Member of several Congressional caucuses, including the Coal Caucus, Dairy Farmers Caucus, Steel Caucus, Textile Caucus, and E-Tech Caucus, all of which serve to promote American job growth in their respective workforce.