This was a big week for rural Arizona. We had two legislative victories that will create jobs and boost economic activity for rural Arizonans.
First, President Obama signed the Farm Bill into law on Friday. Although I voted against that bill for several reasons , I was pleased that it included most of my Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act, which is now law.
When it comes to wildfires, 2013 wasn’t a good year, which is why I’m especially proud that the majority of my bill was signed into law. Arizona and the nation has suffered loss of life, loss of habitat and loss of resources as a result of recurring catastrophic wildfires. It took years but now good forest-management practices recognize that healthy forests must be thinned and managed in order to avoid tragedies.
Although we are never going to prevent all fires, this legislation will help make wildfires less frequent, and less intense when they do occur. Moreover, these provisions allow tax dollars to be spent more effectively by focusing on prevention as opposed to suppression, which is significantly more costly.
While this legislation is a great start, we still must pass other important provisions of my bill that weren’t included in the Farm Bill. These include provisions in a House-passed forest health package that will provide critical revenues for education in rural communities and allow for active forest management on a larger scale. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to help prevent another catastrophic wildfire season by acting swiftly to pass this legislation. Click HEREto read more.
More Grand Canyon Flights
Second, I was thrilled by the FAA’s decision to allow additional quiet flights over the Grand Canyon by aircraft using quiet technology. This commonsense decision will create good-paying jobs and boost economic activity in an extremely rural area.
By recognizing quiet flight technology improvements, the FAA has given us an example of a federal agency using evidence-based decision making. Now, more of Arizona’s visitors get to experience the beauty of this natural treasure through unique aerial tours. As a result of the FAA’s decision, we are accomplishing two important goals: keeping noise in the Canyon to a minimum while growing this critical sector of our economy.
One of my bills that was enacted into law during the previous Congress, theGrand Canyon Tourism Jobs Protection Act of 2012, paved the way for this FAA decision. I’m honored that my bill can contribute to Arizona’s economy. Click HERE to read more.
These aren’t Just Statistics, These are People
The Obama Administration is responsible for a workforce reduction of 2.5 million people. On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Budget and Economic Outlook for 2014-2024, which projects that ObamaCare will reduce the number of full-time workers by approximately 2.5 million people.
Apparently the President believes these people are just collateral damage to his larger agenda. But these aren’t just statistics, these are real people, with real families and real lives. These are middle-class families who are struggling to make ends meet.
This massive job contraction is absolutely tragic, especially because it was as predictable as it was preventable. From day one, many of my Republican colleagues and I spoke out against the disaster that is ObamaCare. Now it’s more urgent than ever that we repeal and, most importantly, replace ObamaCare with a patient-centered, free-market alternative, such as the American Health Care Reform Act. Click HERE to read more.
More Bad News
January’s jobs numbers were released on Friday and, unfortunately, brought us more bad news. Only 113,000 jobs were added to the economy in January after an abysmal 75,000 jobs were added in December, making the last two months the worst for job creation since 2012. Additionally, the labor-force participation rate, which represents the employment rate of adults who are able to work, continues to hover around only 63%, the lowest rate in 35 years.
One way that President Obama can help boost our economy right now is to approve the Keystone-XL Pipeline, which would create 2,000 jobs and support 40,000 more. This is a no-brainer but the President has so far only delayed this decision in order to appease the environmental lobbyists.
Increasing Your Access to Our Public Lands
On Thursday, I voted in favor of the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act, a package of 10 bills aimed at increasing and preserving public access to federal lands, facilitating responsible economic development and encouraging transparent land management.
This legislation cuts red tape that prevents tourism and economic development on public lands as well as increases public access to important recreation and conservation areas. This important bill provides greater certainty to ranchers and farmers by increasing the length of new grazing permits on public lands and streamlines the actual grazing permitting process.
The package is also good for our environment and good for small businesses, as the expedited removal of salvageable timber will greatly benefit the forest products industry and also reduce the threats of dangerous wildfires. This legislation is a great start to long overdue public lands reform. Click HERE to read more.
Keeping the Pressure On
On Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of which I am a member, held a hearing investigating the IRS targeting of conservative groups. I will keep putting pressure on the Obama Administration so that we can finally uncover the whole truth about this violation of our basic Constitutional rights. Click HERE or below to watch a video of my questions to the witnesses.
Government Waste of the Week
$3.5 million: the cost to install solar panels at Manchester-Boston Airport that had to be covered up because their glare was blinding pilots and air traffic controllers.
Congressional District 4: Did you Know?
La Paz, Arizona is a ghost town in present-day La Paz County. It was settled in 1862 along the Colorado River and was a gold mining town. It was the location of the westernmost incident of the Civil War, called the La Paz incident, in which a local Confederate militiaman attacked and killed 2 Union soldiers.
As always, you can follow everything I am working on in Arizona and Washington, D.C. through my website (http://gosar.house.gov ) on Twitter@repgosar , or through Facebook at Representative Paul Gosar.