WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today introduced a package of amendments to the long-term unemployment insurance extension legislation currently being debated in the Senate. Inhofe’s Jobs Package includes a total of nine initiatives that would help to create job opportunities across the United States.
“Over the past five years, President Obama and Senate Democrats have sought to address a historically high unemployment rate by passing a $831 billion failed stimulus and extending long-term unemployment insurance 11 times,” said Inhofe. “It is far past time for the Senate to debate real solutions to get Americans back to work. Today I put forward a package of common-sense provisions that, at no cost to the taxpayer, will create job opportunities by cutting red tape and getting big government out of the way.”
S. Amdt. 2901: Originally introduced as the Employment Impact Analysis Act (S.2161), the amendment would halt any new EPA regulation until the EPA conducts a whole economy model analysis of the impact its existing rules have on job losses. This analysis is currently required under Section 321(a) of the Clean Air Act of 1977, but has never been completed by the EPA. The underlying bill currently has 30 cosponsors.
S. Amdt 2929: the Jobs Package Amendment includes the following provisions:
Infrastructure & Transportation
- Infrastructure Waiver Provision: This provision gives the Administration flexibility to fast-track job-producing infrastructure projects for transportation, water resources, and energy. By removing costly regulations that cause delays, infrastructure projects can move forward providing both construction jobs and jobs post-construction due to better roads, bridges, ports, and cheaper, more reliable energy.
- Expansion of Categorical Exclusion in Emergencies Provision: By removing paragraph (1) of subsection (a) in MAP -21, Sec. 1315, this provision would allow emergency reconstruction of any road, highway, or bridge that is in operation or under construction when damaged by disaster without requiring the same footprint as the original. This will allow state and local government flexibility in planning when a disaster happens.
- Expansion of Categorical Exclusion for Projects Within a Right-of-Way Provision: By striking the term “operational” in MAP-21, Sec. 1316, the provision allows all projects within an existing right-of-way to be categorically excluded from requirements relating to environmental assessments or environmental impact statements. This would allow for further streamlining to accelerate projects toward the construction phase.
- Employing Truck Drivers Provision: Due to a retiring workforce, the United States is facing a shortfall in excess of 239,000 drivers with Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Currently, each state determines who will conduct the CDL skills test within its borders. Due to the different types of skills testing, some states experience significant testing delays preventing individuals from securing employment because they cannot obtain the required license within a reasonable time after graduation. This amendment asks the Government Accountably Office (GAO) to study the different types of testing in each state, and the total economic impact of CDL skills testing delays.
Energy and Environment Provisions:
- Federal Land Freedom Provision: Originally introduced as S.1223, this provision would give states the authority to develop all forms of energy resources on federal lands located within their borders. Roughly 60 percent of federal land is off limits for energy exploration or development. Developing this land would generate $14.4 trillion in GDP and 2.5 million jobs.
- FRESH Act Provision: Originally introduced as S.1234, the Fracturing Regulations are Effective in State Hands (FRESH) Act, this provision would retain state governments as sole regulators of hydraulic fracturing.
- Alternative Fuel Vehicle Development Provision: Originally introduced as S.2065, the provision would provide regulatory incentives to encourage the production and use of natural gas vehicles at no cost to taxpayers.
- Expansion of Categorical Exclusion in Emergencies Provision: By removing paragraph (1) of subsection (a) in MAP -21, Sec. 1315, this provision would allow emergency reconstruction of any road, highway, or bridge that is in operation or under construction when damaged by an emergency without requiring the same footprint as the original. This will allow state and local government flexibility in planning when a disaster happens.
- Federal Regulation Accountability Provision: This provision would require the Department of Labor to report monthly on the impact of major federal regulations is having on job losses.
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