Calling for tax reform, fewer regulations and expanded domestic energy production, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney on Tuesday unveiled his "Restore America Act" to kick-start the stalled U.S. economy and get government out of the way.
Hosting a business panel in Martin County, the Tequesta Republican said, My jobs plan is based on the fundamental idea that Washington doesnt create jobs -- businesses and innovators do.
We cant ask you to lead us into economic recovery while were repeatedly weighing you down with unnecessary mandates, a broken tax code, high energy costs, and uncertainty about whats coming next."
Rooney's initiative is part of the GOP counterattack against President Barack Obama's $445 billion jobs bill, which has stalled in both the GOP-controlled House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Last week, Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., released their jobs proposal.
Rooney outlined his three-point plan to revitalize the economy and reduce unemployment that remains stuck above 9 percent.
ON TAXES: We need to reform the tax code to make it fair, simple and competitive. My plan gets rid of corporate loopholes and deductions, and replaces them with across-the-board, permanent tax relief. A fairer tax code will help business grow and compete on a level playing field, and permanent tax relief will give them the certainty they need to invest in their companies and create new jobs."
ON REGULATIONS: By ending unnecessary, costly regulations that are destroying jobs, we can remove a critical obstacle facing small-business owners. Businesses spend $1.75 trillion and nearly 9 billion hours each year trying to comply with new regulations coming out of the federal government -- those are resources that they should be using to grow and hire new workers. My plan stops the administration from piling new, job-destroying mandates on our job creators."
ON ENERGY: Expanding American energy production would create jobs right away while reducing prices for families and businesses. We have tremendous energy resources in our country, and if we utilize them, well see new jobs immediately in the energy sector. Producing American energy would drive down energy costs, helping both families and small businesses make ends meet.
Specifically, Rooney seeks to reduce the corporate income tax rate by 10 percent. Currently at 35 percent, the federal rate is the second highest in the developed world.
Rooney would eliminate the deduction for interest payments -- which he calls "a bias toward debt" -- and permanently extend immediate expensing of purchases for small businesses.
Making the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, the congressman's proposal directs Congress to find savings in the tax code.
"For too long families and businesses have labored under a burdensome and complicated tax code. There are costly loopholes and deductions that should be identified and eliminated," Rooney said.
On regulatory reform, the Restore America Act would require Congress to take up-or-down, stand-alone votes, and for the president to sign off on all new major rules before they can be enforced. Major rules are defined as those having an annual economic impact of $100 million or more.
The plan contains provisions that automatically end debate in the Senate and negate the need for a cloture vote. Therefore, the Senate would only need a simple majority not 60 votes to approve.
On energy, Rooney's plan opens up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Outer Continental Shelf and oil shale for production. It also repeals a ban on allowing federal agencies from purchasing coal to liquid fuels and expedites the permitting of new and expanded nuclear power facilities.
Although expanded drilling, water-intensive oil shale mining and nuclear power are widely opposed by environmentalists, the ready availability of U.S. fossil fuel resources could counter the rising price of petroleum products.
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the coastal plain of the ANWR could contain up to 17 billion barrels of oil and 34 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The Outer Continental Shelf is estimated to hold nearly 420 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas resources and 85 billion barrels of oil.
An estimated 2 trillion barrels of oil are locked in oil shale beneath Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. The Rooney plan restores leasing activities that were under way prior to being halted by the Obama administration in February 2009. The plan mandates that a lease sale be held within 180 days of enactment.
Rooney cited research showing that coal-to-liquid technology could yield 800 billion barrels of oil
"U.S. coal can be converted through proven, existing technology into clean, zero-sulfur synthetic oil and products," Rooney said in a statement. "The plan repeals a 2007 law that banned federal agencies from purchasing fuels derived from sources such as oil shale, tar sands and coal-to-liquid technology."
Determined to break the logjam over waste disposal and regulatory barriers that have blocked construction of new nuclear power plants, Rooney wants to mandate the permitting of 200 new reactors over the next 30 years.
The proposal would expedite and combine the construction and operating license procedures, and initiate a process to pre-certify reactor designs that are already operating internationally.
The plan requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to finish its review of Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository "without political interference." If science and technology disqualify Yucca Mountain, the NRC is directed to find an alternative site.
Contact Kenric Ward at email@example.com or at (772) 801-5341.