OCBC hosted a roundtable discussion Thursday between Orange County business leaders and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, 7th District of Tennessee, and Vice Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. She has served on the majority and minority whip teams since her election in 2002, including Deputy Whip for the 110th Congress from 2007 to 2009. Blackburn addressed some of the top issues in government affecting business, such as job creation, the Affordable Care Act, the Medical Device Tax, national energy policy, necessary infrastructure projects, tax reform, and immigration policy reform. Blackburn stressed that while the economy is slowly recovering, the federal government is not doing enough to support job creation. She said that lawmakers should employ a simple formula to lower the unemployment rate and boost the economy.
“Less regulation + less taxation + less litigation = more innovation and job creation,” Blackburn said. She spoke of legislation to repeal the Medical Device Tax that was tacked onto the Affordable Care Act. While the legislation is receiving bipartisan support from lawmakers, she highlighted the importance of keeping mobile devices used by in-home healthcare workers, such as iPads and smartphones, free of the description of a “medical device” so that they are not potentially taxed should the legislation be unsuccessful.
The congresswoman spoke of much-needed reforms to increase efficiency in national energy policy, such as proposed legislation called the Chop Act, which would combine the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy into one organization. Blackburn referenced that during the latest government shut-down, 93 percent of the Department of Energy’s employees were deemed unessential. “I think that should tell us something,” she said.
Blackburn also asserted that the majority of work toward innovative energy solutions is not being done in government, but rather by private agencies. Therefore, private agencies should receive the bulk of funding to encourage alternative energy development. CLICK HERE for photos of the congresswoman’s visit. For more information, contact Bryan Starr, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs.