Job Creation Initiative
The future of Florida’s economy depends on the actions we take to boost job recovery and harness existing economic growth opportunities for businesses. Last week, I unveiled a multi-faceted effort to help Floridians find jobs, create jobs and increase their incomes. The plan focuses on four initiatives: job seeker assistance, information on business opportunities, statewide resource centers and tax cut proposals.
Click here to learn more about my plan http://lemieux.senate.gov and then click on the Job and Business Resource Center link.
These initiatives will build a stronger economy and workforce. Floridians want to work and grow their businesses, and our office looks forward to providing them with the information that may be helpful as we work together toward job recovery.
Nuclear Carrier Coming to Mayport
On Friday, I received word the Department of Defense has determined the U.S. Navy will homeport a nuclear aircraft carrier in Mayport, Florida. Besides helping to meet critical national security needs for dispering our carrier fleet, this is great news for Mayport and the region. Since the days when the honorable Charlie Bennett was in Congress, Florida’s congressional delegation has pushed for a nuclear homeport in North Florida. Finally, this vision is nearly a reality.
A nuclear carrier homeported here is the right decision for the right reasons. In addition to strengthening the fabric of our national security, this will mean thousands of jobs for this region. I commend the Defense Department for making the right decision for what is clearly in the best interest of our national security.
Aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)
Last week I had the opportunity to visit with sailors and aviators aboard the USS Harry Truman, one of our nation’s finest nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. The crew aboard the Truman serves the critical mission of projecting force wherever it serves our national security interests around the world. The carrier most recently played an instrumental role during Operation Iraqi Freedom, supporting U.S. infantry and special operations forces on the ground.
I am proud of the work of the sailors and aviators on the Truman, and all those who have volunteered to serve in our nation’s armed services. It is their dedication that keeps us safe and protects our country’s freedom.
Balancing the Budget
Monday, President Obama unveiled his plan for government spending for fiscal year 2011 which starts October 1, 2010. President Obama projects spending $3.8 trillion dollars next year. That will mean the federal government will have to borrow at least another $1.2 trillion to pay for those programs. The budget also projects tax increases. Taken over ten years, the President’s proposal increases taxes by $2 trillion by taking more from small business owners, capping charitable contribution deductions, raising fuel taxes, and introducing new health care taxes. The bottom line is that the President’s budget is too big. We need to cut more and spend less.
Now more than ever, it is important our country move to implement a balanced budget requirement in our Constitution. Our nation is already more than $12 trillion in debt. This year we are projected to add another $1.6 trillion in debt and the President’s budget for next year seeks to add another $1.2 trillion in debt. This mountain of debt is unsustainable and harms the future prosperity of our children.
To get us on the right path in the near term, I recently joined with senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), John McCain (R-AZ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) to reject increasing the debt limit, rescind $120 billion in spending, eliminate 640 duplicative government programs, rescind unobligated discretionary funds, and direct the Government Accounting Office to identify and report to Congress duplicative government programs. This would have sent a clear message that Washington is serious about cutting spending. Unfortunately, that effort failed. I will keep supporting good common sense solutions that curb the size of government and seek to pay down our national debt.
For Florida, this budget will cost us jobs. The President’s proposal federalizes the college student loan program – a move that will result in the loss of 700 jobs at the Sallie Mae facility in Panama City. The proposal cuts the human spaceflight program from NASA jeopardizing thousands of highly skilled, high paying jobs. The United States has a unique role pushing the limits for space development. Under this budget, that leading edge is lost. Rest assured, I will continue to fight proposals that unwisely take jobs from Florida in favor of putting them in Washington, DC or elsewhere.
Florida Receives Federal High Speed Rail Funding
At a time when Florida is looking for an engine to fuel economic growth, the need for a competitive advantage is critical. The development of a high speed rail corridor between Tampa and Orlando will be a transformative project for our state. When constructed, a high-speed rail network would not only help Florida maintain its leadership as a global destination for tourists, but it would create thousands of jobs and develop the infrastructure necessary for future economic prosperity.
I am optimistic this new mega-corridor of activity will benefit our state through job creation, however, I am concerned Florida received only half of the funds necessary to complete this project. We must ensure this doesn’t become a train to nowhere due to the lack of a federal commitment. Like the Interstate Highway System, this rail system will help with the flow of people, goods and commerce. I look forward to the federal government becoming a full partner in this effort because it truly is a national priority.
Drywall Answers for Florida Families
Last Saturday, my office hosted an informational meeting for people in Southwest Florida who believe their homes might contain contaminated drywall. My goal is to make certain Floridians know their options and who to contact about the problems they are experiencing. As a result, dozens of families filed new claims with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and started the process of seeking remediation.
Last week, I asked the Chairwoman of the CPSC, Inez Tenenbaum, to expedite an interagency task force’s investigation into contaminated drywall. The study is expected to definitively determine contaminated drywall has caused homeowners a number of problems including corrosion of soft metals, wiring and appliances, and severe detrimental health effects.
This study has taken far too long to complete. Far too many Floridians are suffering both health and financial burdens because of this defective product. These families deserve answers.
I will continue to push the agencies involved to focus all available federal resources to address the problem and move forward with remedial efforts for Florida’s families suffering from contaminated drywall.
One of my primary goals is to make sure Floridians are well served by Federal agencies. From time to time, I will share accounts of how our office has helped a Floridian.
Recently one of our regional offices in Florida received a call from a Vietnam Veteran who had experienced difficulties in procuring his service medals. The veteran had previously contacted the National Personnel Records Center to request copies of his medals but was informed there was no record of his military service. The veteran contacted our office with information on his military service and the units he served with in Vietnam, as well as personal correspondence he wrote during the Vietnam War.
One of our caseworkers immediately contacted the United States Air Force Research Department and requested that they review their archives for information on the veteran’s unit. Upon review, the Air Force research staff confirmed the veteran was assigned as a combat loadmaster on a C-130 cargo aircraft. As a result, the veteran will soon receive the medals he earned for his service on behalf of a grateful nation.
If you are experiencing a problem with a federal agency, please contact the Orlando Regional Office by calling (407) 254-2573 to speak with a member of the Casework Department. The toll-free number for Florida residents is (866) 630-7106. To find out more about how my office can help you, go to http://lemieux.senate.gov or stop by one of our scheduled Community Office Hours in your area.