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Democrats Block American Energy Jobs

April 1, 2014

Senate Democrats claim they want to help the unemployed, but they support energy policies that destroy existing jobs and prevent new ones from being created. They want to mandate an increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, yet fight against coal mining jobs that pay an average of $29.96 per hour, or oil and gas extraction jobs that pay an average of $36.84 per hour.

Energy Jobs Are Waiting to Be Tapped

Since the recession began in 2007, America’s energy sector has proven to be one of the few engines of job creation in an otherwise anemic economy. Oil and gas employment has surged by 40 percent, far outstripping the rest of the economy’s feeble employment growth. Even better, America’s energy companies have generated these jobs at virtually no cost to the taxpayer. They have done so on state and private lands. Senate Democrats continue to support policies that block vital energy infrastructure projects and increased energy production on federal lands that President Obama controls.

Democrats are standing in the way of American jobs

More than 2 million blocked jobs

According to NERA Economic Consulting in a March 2014 report, increased export capacity for liquefied natural gas could reduce unemployment rolls by as many as 45,000 workers on average from 2013 to 2018. Senate Democrats should join Republicans in pursuing policies focused on these kinds of jobs. They should abandon their fixation on controlling the climate and finally focus on using America’s energy resources to lower bills and get people back to work.    

Democrats Have Taken the Wrong Approach

If Democrats’ signature job creation bill, the $831 billion stimulus, had generated the millions of “shovel-ready” jobs it promised, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage would not be issues today.

“Shovel-ready was not as shovel ready as we expected.”  – President Obama, 6/13/2011

Twenty million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, and millions more have dropped out of the labor force altogether. Yet Democrats continue to put up one roadblock after another:

  • They exploit their control of the Senate to protect President Obama’s policies that impose moratoriums and “permitoriums,” slow-walk leasing and environmental reviews, and delay energy projects.
  • They defend the president’s war on fossil fuels, through publicity stunts like a recent all-night talk-a-thon about eliminating coal, oil, and natural gas from America’s energy mix in hopes of controlling the climate.
  • They stand idly by as the Obama Environmental Protection Agency unilaterally issues rules that have already cost thousands of jobs -- and will cost millions more if left unchecked.
  • They willfully ignore the promise of fully deploying America’s energy resources as a strategic economic asset to finally put Americans back to work.

Senate Democrats should join Republicans in promoting policies that will help create jobs and careers, not just provide an unemployment check or a minimum wage.