U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, wants the federal government to continue focusing on jobs and the economy.
"Our No. 1 priority remains, and needs to remain, improving our economy," Reed said. "Recent economic data showing continued high unemployment across the country and even higher unemployment here in the Southern Tier reinforces to me that we have much more work to do."
Recently, the state Department of Labor released its January 2013 unemployment report, showing the unemployment rate increased to 7.9 percent. That number is even higher in the Southern Tier, with a 9.8 percent unemployment rate in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties in December 2012.
The Department of Commerce reported recently that the GDP shrank in the final quarter of 2012, further illustrating the country's lack of economic growth.
Reed also voiced his concern over the White House's decision to shut down the President's Jobs Council.
"Eliminating the Jobs Council sends the wrong message to the more than 12 million Americans still looking for work in our country," Reed said. "Jobs remain a top priority for Americans and yet the President's Jobs Council hadn't met in 12 months when he announced it would be shut down. We need the White House to keep working - we can't give up on those still looking for work. Private sector job growth is the area we should be focusing on. Tackling our debt, reducing burdensome regulations, reforming the tax code to make it competitive and developing an "all-of-the-above" comprehensive energy policy are key components to growing our private sector."
Reed said putting pressure on the Senate and White House to produce a budget is a good first step in securing some economic certainty in the coming year. The House of Representatives voted in January to require the House and Senate to pass a budget by the April 15 deadline to have their pay withheld and will vote this week to put pressure on the President to submit a balanced budget of his own.
"With so much uncertainty surrounding our nation's debt and complexity in the tax code, families and businesses alike are having trouble planning their own budgets," Reed said. "Congress and the President need to pass a budget so that families and small businesses can plan for their own."