|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 1.19.15
Monday, January 19, 2015 ‚Äď
The State of the Union
It is again the time of year during which the President delivers the State of the Union address. Accordingly, let‚Äôs review the condition of our nation and how it can be strengthened.
In the short term, the state of our nation could look much better. We have big issues to sort out. In the long term, I believe things will improve. I believe in the ingenuity of the American people.
Knowing American workers are the most efficient and the hardest working in the world, if we work together to make long-term policy changes, America can remain the greatest nation on Earth well into the next century. It will take work and a dedication to finding the right answers instead of sound bites that resonate for the next election.
I‚Äôm hopeful we can make some changes in Congress that will set our nation on the path to a brighter future. I‚Äôm hopeful we can make government more efficient. It is my experience that state and local governments do a better job responding to the needs of communities than does the federal government. We can work together to not only get Washington out of the way, but to make it more effective.
For a brighter future, we all want clean air, clean water, and regulations that keep us safe. But regulations should not just solve short term problems. They should work to help the nation‚Äôs economy, not destroy it.
One area in point are the attacks on American energy. Since the inception of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the air quality has greatly improved. But many of their new regulations are focused only on immediate gains, and not the long-term picture. Just as technology has found new ways to get more fuel out of the ground, technology is also poised to bring us ways to burn our abundant carbon-based energy cleaner.
It is that source of affordable energy combined with the American worker that make our future look bright.
American Petroleum Institute (API) president and CEO Jack N. Gerard recently wrote in The Hill, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a new era for American energy production.‚ÄĚ And he‚Äôs right. Production levels are high and import levels are low, as are gas prices. Mr. Gerard also noted, ‚ÄúA recent memo from US Trust‚Äôs chief market strategist Joseph Quinlan lists ‚Äėpro-market policies at the state and local levels,‚Äô ‚Äėrevolutionary technologies like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing‚Äô and ‚Äėgood old American entrepreneurship and risk taking‚Äô as the three ‚Äėingredients of the U.S. energy revolution.‚Äô‚ÄĚ
In other words, drilling and innovation ‚Äď which are taking place largely on private lands as opposed to federally controlled areas ‚Äď have worked. The private sector is taking new technologies and figuring out new ways to make use of our energy resources. The President didn‚Äôt understand the value of the private sector working, but it should now be clear to him that ‚Äėdrill, baby, drill!‚Äô is working.
Another bright spot is that my colleagues and I on the Energy and Commerce Committee are working together to encourage innovation in health care. As you may recall, our bipartisan 21st Century Cures health care initiative is focusing on accelerating the development of cures and treatments for patients. Medical experts and patient advocates have participated in related hearings in Washington and roundtable discussions throughout the nation ‚Äď including one I hosted in Blacksburg ‚Äď to share their perspective on how to best accelerate the pace of cures.
The Committee will soon be releasing draft 21st Century Cures legislation, which will include a provision I am working on involving how to better use data we collect to improve clinical trials to develop new drugs. I am looking forward to reviewing feedback on this provision and the overall legislation, and to continuing our work on accelerating health care innovation.
Another area that can be bright for America‚Äôs future is if the new Congress continues our efforts on cutting spending and reducing the deficit. This could include a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and other reforms to achieve meaningful debt and deficit reduction. I can‚Äôt speak for every member of Congress, but I will continue working to keep our budget in line.
I will be keeping these items and others in mind while listening to the President‚Äôs State of the Union. Mere platitudes that our economy can ‚Äėtransition‚Äô won‚Äôt get the job done. We must find solutions and ways to improve our communities. It will take a lot of work and creative thinking, but it can be done.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.