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Doyle: Investments in Energy Can Spur Job Creation

Today we face high unemployment and an economy knocked back on its heels. Many economists agree that, left to itself, the economy would take a number of years to work through the fallout from the housing bubble and the financial crisis. Unfortunately, millions of Americans can’t afford to wait that long.

At the same time, our nation faces a number of other pressing needs. We must repair the country’s crumbling roads and bridges, for example, and help our businesses be more competitive in the global economy.

I believe there’s a real opportunity to address all of these needs at once. Congress can and should act now to spur job creation and get the economy back on track, and it should do so by making investments that will promote greater economic growth over the long run, reduce our dependence on foreign energy supplies, increase our country’s competitiveness in the global economy and help the environment.

That’s why I’m introducing the American Energy, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Jobs Act. This legislation makes major new investments in our nation’s infrastructure, energy efficiency, clean energy technology, electric grid, advanced manufacturing and workforce. I believe that the policies laid out in this bill would create millions of new jobs, make U.S. industries more competitive with their international competitors, improve Americans’ quality of life, help Americans acquire the skills they need for new high-tech jobs and reduce emissions of air pollution.

The act would employ a wide variety of policy tools to achieve these goals — including competitive grants, direct loans, loan guarantees, tax credits, energy-efficiency standards, model building codes, energy-efficiency rebates and requirements that the manufacturing carried out under this bill be done in the United States.

A number of these provisions have been proposed before by other Members, and many of them have attracted bipartisan support in the past. But the American Energy, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Jobs Act would achieve a more comprehensive — and, I believe, a more effective — approach by incorporating a number of these complementary and mutually reinforcing policies in one bill.

The American Energy, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Jobs Act isn’t an alternative to the American Jobs Act recently proposed by the president. That legislation is focused on macroeconomic policies such as lower payroll taxes, tax breaks for business investment and reforms in the unemployment insurance system. This act complements the American Jobs Act by focusing specifically on manufacturing, construction and energy technology.

The United States didn’t get into the current economic mess overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight either. Enactment of the American Energy, Infrastructure and Manufacturing Jobs Act would, however, speed up the recovery, help create new jobs and make our economy more productive and internationally competitive in the decades to come. I encourage my colleagues to co-sponsor this much-needed legislation.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

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