Skip to main content

Why go around?

02/05/2014 08:27AM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print



By Congressman Joe Pitts

When you go home from work after a long day, do you take a bumpy road that takes additional miles and time? Of course not, you take the most direct, fastest route even if there are some lights and traffic. Why go out of your way when all you want to do is get home?

In Washington, the direct route to getting something done is through Congress. There’s good reason why the President travels down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol to lay out his priorities. Because without changes to the law, the proposals would be written in the sand of executive order and regulation.

Every President wants a lasting legacy, solutions that stand the test of time. When President Obama signs an executive order, that is a promise that may not last even the duration of his own presidency. These orders don’t have the force of law. They are much more likely to be struck down by a court and they can be undone by another executive order.

I understand that the President is frustrated that his big-ticket items aren’t going to go through a Republican-led House, but that shouldn’t prevent us from working together on things we agree on. In his State of the Union address, the President announced at least three proposals that could get bipartisan support. Why go around when we can work together?

The first proposal that could easily get through Congress is reform of federal job training proposals. There are roughly 20 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed right now. In our fast moving economy, workers have to continue developing their skills over a lifetime. Federal job training programs are supposed to ensure that no one gets left behind.

Unfortunately, federal job training programs have become duplicative and bureaucratic. There are over 50 separate programs now and duplication of effort may be wasting as much as $18 billion annually. Workers find themselves having to jump through a number of hoops before they become eligible.

In the State of the Union address, the President asked Vice President Biden to conduct a review of job training programs and called on Congress to help. The President however, is late to the game. The Republican budget called for consolidation of job training programs three years ago. Last year, the House passed the SKILLS Act that streamlines 30 separate programs into a new, single fund. This bill has been sitting in the Senate for nearly a year.

There’s no need for further review when the Government Accountability Office already studied this issue in depth. We don’t need a duplicative study to get rid of duplicative programs.

In his address, the President also called for cutting red tape to bring more natural gas plants online. Republicans agree that we should take more advantage of a clean-burning natural resource. In fact, we passed the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act last fall with bipartisan support.

New plants can’t be built without safe, efficient pipelines. Again, the Senate has not acted on this bill, even though it had support from 26 Democrats. If the President acts without authority from Congress, it is far more likely that radical environmental groups will stop any progress with lawsuits. We should work together to bring more clean energy online sooner.

The President also called for additional research into vaccines and cures for disease. The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act would eliminate public funding for the Democratic and Republican national conventions and instead fund pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health.

The bill passed with a veto-proof majority in the House. Just like the other two proposals I’ve discussed, this bill is sitting in the Senate. We can immediately move $13 million a year into research just by agreeing that the American taxpayer shouldn’t pay for political events.

The President also proposed a new investment product for low-income Americans, the MyRA. For years, I’ve been working to pass legislation to create individual development accounts to help low-income workers save for the future. I’m sure there are others in Congress who would work with the President to establish this new investment vehicle in law.

So much of what the President called for in the State of the Union Address has broad support. There’s no reason to go around Congress when there are so few barriers to passing lasting legislation.


Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Chester County's free newsletter to catch every headline



congress congressman joe pitts


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/05/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Debtors Anonymous

    12/05/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    In D.A., our purpose is threefold: to stop incurring unsecured debt, to share our experience wit...


  • The Galer Estate family invites you to join our Wine Club, a community of members who enjoy fine ...


  • Drop in on Nature

    12/08/2016
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, September 15th thru Thursday...


  • Holidays at Hagley: A Child's Delight

    12/08/2016
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    The 1803 du Pont family ancestral home, Eleutherian Mills, will feature holiday decorations and i...


  • Christmas by Candlelight

    12/08/2016
    01:00PM

    Christmas by Candlelight, a heartwarming celebration of the yuletide season, is back by popular d...


  • Nature Studio

    12/08/2016
    04:00PM — 05:30AM

    Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts J...


  • Clutterers Anonymous

    12/08/2016
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Clutterers Anonymous℠ (CLA℠) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strengt...


  • Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto

    12/08/2016
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto By Pete Pryor & Samantha Reading Music & Lyrics by Alex Bech...


  • The Road: My Life with John Denver

    12/08/2016
    07:30PM — 09:30PM

    The Road: My Life with John Denver By Randal Myler & Dan Wheetman Directed by Randal Myler Dec...


Chester County High School Sports