Doc Hastings

Doc Hastings

WASHINGTON's 4th DISTRICT

What I Saw During My Visit to the Carlton Complex Fire

2014/08/18

Wildfires in our national forests damage or destroy an average of nearly 4 million acres across the United States each year. Over the last month, eight fires spanning nine counties in Central Washington have and are continuing to ravage more than 355,000 acres of land, including private property. The Carlton Complex fire alone consumed over 260,000 acres in Okanogan County and is recorded as the largest wildfire in our state’s history. This means more than half a million acres in Central Washington have been burned in just the past two years.

I recently toured the devastating damage caused by the Carlton Complex fire, which has left over 300 families without homes and cost local, state, and federal agencies an estimated $74 million. I had the opportunity to meet with local residents, the U.S. Forest Service, firefighters, and other first responders on the ground in Okanogan County and hear firsthand the firefighting and rebuilding challenges these rural communities are facing.


Click on the photos to download in high resolution.

Sadly, poor management of federal forestland was a major contributor to the expansion of the Carlton Complex fire. Each year, Washington’s national forests grow three times faster than they die. Recently, the threat of lawsuits have prevented the U.S. Forest Service from conducting reasonable projects to salvage valuable timber, remove dead or diseased trees, and get rid of ash and sediment that destroy habitats for endangered species. Without these responsible activities to remove excess growth, our national forests have become increasingly susceptible to catastrophic wildfires that threaten our homes, public safety, water supply, and the economic livelihood of our communities.

As we have seen so tragically in Okanogan County, the lack of proper land management by the federal government has serious implications for nearby communities. The most effective way to keep our forests healthy is by active management of our federal forests. In May, the House of Representatives took action to reduce the risk of these catastrophic wildfires by passing the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act,” a bill I authored that would restore active and responsible management in federal forests.

Our forests, communities, and species deserve better than being placed at continual and increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires. I urge federal land managers to work with local officials, tribes, and interest groups to find better solutions that will improve forest health, including harvesting timber to protect these lands and local economies.

My staff and I are in close communication with the federal, state, and local authorities on the ground in Okanogan County. I joined Senators Murray and Cantwell and Congressman Dave Reichert in sending a letter to President Obama requesting long-term federal assistance to help these communities respond, rebuild, and cope with this tragedy. We are committed to ensuring the necessary resources are available to respond to this devastating fire. Furthermore, a thorough review must be conducted, once the Carlton Complex fire is fully contained, to learn how this fire grew so rapidly and what can be done differently to protect us from these devastating wildfires in the future.

Our hearts go out to the victims of the recent wildfires in our area. The outpouring of support for these communities does not go unnoticed. There is no question that the rebuilding process will be a long one. We extend our deepest gratitude to the thousands of firefighters, first responders, volunteers, and local officials that are helping residents recover and get back on their feet. Anyone interested in helping wildfire relief efforts is encouraged to contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-REDCROSS or by going to redcross.org/donate.

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Hastings: EPA Final Agreement is Just Another Example of Closed-Door Settlements Driving Bad Policy Decisions

2014/08/14

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Doc Hastings released the following statement today after reports of a final settlement agreement that would impose buffer zones for crop protection tools from any body of water in the Pacific Northwest and California:

 

“Once again, the Obama Administration is utilizing ‘sue and settle’ tactics to impose baseless regulations on growers that would seriously restrict the ability to farm thousands of acres of prime Central Washington farmland. The National Academy of Sciences, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and four federal agencies – including the Environmental Protection Agency – have concluded that the National Marine Fisheries Service’s biological opinion was flawed. Still, the Obama Administration today chose to shove these new regulations down the throats of Pacific Northwest growers while they go back to the drawing board to determine if these vital crop protection tools even have an impact on endangered salmon,” said Congressman Doc Hastings.

 

“This is yet another example of closed-door settlements – and not sound science – driving policy decisions. I fully intend to look further into the Obama Administration’s decision today, which punishes our job creators and sets a terrible and potentially sweeping precedent that could impact thousands more acres of farmland in Central Washington and across the nation.”

 

Hastings authored language, included in the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2015 that passed the House of Representatives on May 30th, which would prevent this agreement from being implemented.

 

Background:

 

In 2002, a coalition of environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failure to adequately consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on the potential impact of 54 pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides on endangered salmon species. In 2006, a federal court ruled in favor of the environmental groups and directed NMFS to conduct biological opinions to determine whether the EPA had missed any impacts that these products may have on endangered salmon species.

 

On July 31, 2008, NMFS released biological opinion #1, which would impose buffer zones around all bodies of water in salmon habitat regions, impacting 112 million acres in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California.

 

On September 15, 2008, the Director of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs wrote a letter questioning the science that NMFS used in determining their biological opinions and challenged its conclusions.

 

In April of 2009, NMFS released a second biological opinion (bi-op) using the same process and coming to the same conclusions.

 

In May of 2010, a bipartisan group of 13 members wrote to EPA asking them to re-evaluate the science used in the bi-op decision-making process and to provide an opportunity for public comment. EPA released a third bi-op with no changes on August 31st.

 

In January of 2011, a bipartisan group of 18 members wrote to the Council on Environmental Quality requesting that they intervene to prevent implementation of the three pending biological opinions and to force NMFS to re-draft them using more credible science.

 

In April of 2011, EPA, NMFS, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) contracted with the National Academies of Science (NAS) for a limited study of some minor scientific questions related to the impact of crop protection tools on endangered species.

 

On May 3, 2011, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees held a joint hearing where a bipartisan group of Members asked that this study be expanded to include a comprehensive peer review of these bi-ops.

 

A June 23, 2011 follow-up letter to the various agencies from Hastings, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, and Chairman Mike Simpson of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, outlined a number of questions that the NAS study must include for the work to be of value in this policy debate.

On July 12, 2012, the House Committee on Agriculture reported out legislation that would prohibit the EPA from enforcing these biological opinions. A bipartisan group of 27 members wrote a letter to the Appropriations Committee in September in support of this language.

 

On February 21, 2013, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a landmark ruling that reaffirmed decision-making by the federal government must be based on science and not the misguided agenda of activist groups.

 

On April 30, 2013, the National Research Council released its report, which raised concerns about the federal government’s methods in developing these bi-ops.

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Congressional Mailbag

2014/08/08

Each month I receive thousands of e-mails, phone calls, letters, tweets, and Facebook messages on a variety of topics.  I wanted to share a few questions that I’ve recently received.

 

What’s Congress doing to improve our veterans’ health care?

Ensuring our veterans have access to quality care is not an issue I take lightly.  I, like all Americans, was appalled when stories began surfacing about veterans dying from treatable illnesses while still waiting for care from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and an internal audit confirmed there were widespread problems throughout the VA system. 

 

I’m pleased that with my support, the House and Senate passed bipartisan legislation that President Obama recently signed into law ensuring that VA employees are held accountable for their actions, and addressing long wait times for veterans. Specifically, the law gives veterans who live more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility or who have been subject to lengthy wait times access to local non-VA medical facilities.  By partnering with existing hospitals in rural communities, we can help make it possible for veterans to find the care they need when they need it.

 

What can be done to improve the Child Tax Credit?

It is no secret that the cost of living, including gas, food and costs associated with raising children continues to rise.  According to the Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child has increased by 4.4 percent each year since 1960. The Child Tax Credit helps ease some of this burden by providing a $1,000 tax credit for each child in a family, but since its creation in the 1990’s, it has not kept pace with inflation.

 

Last month, I supported the “Child Tax Improvement Act” to provide much needed relief to millions of American families.  Not only does this bill adjust the current formula to account for the rising costs of raising a child, but it also eliminates the marriage penalty within the Child Tax Credit and contains strong anti-fraud provisions to ensure the Child Tax Credit goes to families who need it.  I will continue working to help families in Central Washington keep more of their hard earned money and encourage the Senate to act quickly on this pro-family, bipartisan bill.

 

What can be done to preserve Social Security and Medicare?

America’s health and retirement programs make up more than half of the federal budget and continue to grow each year. Congress must enact real reforms to ensure these programs will be there for generations to come. Improving these programs must be guided by a few basic principles: First, I will never support proposals that reduce benefits for those in or near retirement. America must honor its commitment to those who have worked a lifetime and earned the right to a secure retirement. Second, these programs must be made permanently sound. Finally, we must strengthen these programs by taking the federal government out of the picture and empowering citizens with control over their own care and retirement investments.

 

If you have contacted my office recently, I thank you for taking the time to share your views with me. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter for additional updates.

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Murray, Cantwell, Hastings, Reichert Urge President Obama to Grant Major Disaster Declaration

2014/08/07

Today, the federal delegation representing impacted areas in Washington state sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to grant the major disaster declaration that was requested by Governor Jay Inslee. The letter was sent by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representatives Doc Hastings (WA-4) and Dave Reichert (WA-8).

“While local communities and state agencies have responded admirably, a disaster of this magnitude requires long-term federal assistance to help these communities respond, rebuild, and cope with this tragedy,” the members wrote in the letter. “We fully support Governor Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration that includes hazard mitigation, public assistance, and individual assistance. The public assistance requested by Governor Inslee is vital to restoring public infrastructure damaged by the wildfires. Further, individual assistance with housing support, disaster crisis counseling, disaster unemployment, and other supports will help meet the needs of the families, business owners, and other community members who are struggling in the aftermath of this disaster.”

The full text of the letter follows:

August 6, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to urge you to approve as quickly as possible the federal major disaster declaration requested this week by Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

We are grateful for your quick approval on July 23, 2014, of Governor Inslee’s request for a federal emergency disaster declaration (FEMA-3371-EM). However, as the magnitude of these wildfires has grown with time, so too has the long-term personal and economic effects on the small, rural communities in Washington. The emergency declaration, while vital in supporting the immediate response of the firefighters to save lives and property, is inadequate to support the long-term needs of individual families or the public entities throughout the region.

As you know, Washington state is having the worst wildfire season in years. Wildfires burning in Counties throughout Central and Eastern Washington have stretched our state’s wildfire fighting resources thin. Lightning storms in the region sparked more than 150 fires in mid-July, and new starts have continued to occur in August. Several of the starts in July merged to form the Mills Canyon, Carlton Complex, and Chiwaukum Complex wildfires. To date, wildfires in Washington state have consumed more than 350,000 acres of land, this is five times the average annual acres burned.

Ignited on July 14, 2014, the Carlton Complex wildfire in Okanogan and Chelan Counties has grown to become the largest wildfire in Washington state history. This wildfire alone has forced the evacuation of hundreds and has destroyed more than 450 structures, including family homes, businesses, outbuildings, and seasonal multi-family farmworker housing. The Chiwaukum Complex and Mills Canyon wildfires in Chelan County have burned nearly 40,000 acres. While thousands of personnel have responded to control these two wildfires, the Chiwaukum Complex remains only 35-percent contained. These three fires have caused significant damage to public infrastructure in Central Washington and will have lasting effects on these communities.

Together, Mills Canyon, Carlton Complex, and Chiwaukum Complex wildfires have destroyed more than 300 homes, mostly in Okanogan County. Given the already low levels of unoccupied housing in Okanogan County, the loss of these homes has created an acute housing shortage. While local hotels are normally relied upon to address disaster-triggered housing shortages, the ongoing and economically vital tourist season has significantly diminished the number of rooms available to displaced Okanogan County households. Federal assistance is needed immediately to stem this housing shortage before it grows into a crisis.

The region’s public infrastructure has sustained enormous damage due to the wildfires. The Carlton Complex wildfire has destroyed 345 miles of distribution lines, 21 miles of transmission lines, and more than 85 miles of fiber optic lines owned by the Okanogan Public Utility District (PUD) – all of which must be replaced. The damage caused by the fire resulted in loss of power service to 3,602 Okanogan PUD customers and approximately 3,500 Okanogan Cooperative customers. Additionally, at least 7,100 PUD customers were without power and telecommunications services for extended periods of time. During one 14 hour period, nearly all of Okanogan County lacked access to any telecommunication services, including cellular networks, broadband networks, and 911 emergency operators. Rebuilding these public utilities will take months and federal assistance is seriously needed.

We are proud that Washington state is home to a strong agriculture economy, with farmers, ranchers, and agriculture businesses located throughout our state. Okanogan County is no exception. The County supported more than 1,440 farms in 2012 and is a major producer of apples, cherries, pears, forage, wheat, and cattle resulting in $287 million in agriculture sales. Of the estimated 41,000 Washingtonians living in Okanogan County, approximately 45-percent of the total workforce is tied to the agriculture sector. However, as the Carlton Complex wildfire moved through Okanogan County it killed cattle, blackened thousands of acres of grazing land, scorched orchards, and destroyed critical farming equipment, including miles of orchard fencing used to protect the fruit from deer. The power outages further compounded these losses. Without power, irrigation pumps would not operate and farmers struggled to water the crops spared by the wildfires. Further, because power outages disrupted refrigeration in cold storage facilities, producers saw harvested crops that were awaiting packing and shipping perish. With so much of Okanogan County’s workforce tied to the agricultural industry, the losses suffered have resulted in significant hardship for the local economy and residents of Central Washington.

During the past weeks, we have worked closely with the affected communities in Okanogan and Chelan Counties, and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. We have heard many heartbreaking stories from constituents who lost everything when their homes were destroyed by wildfire, including a family of seven. But we have also heard stories of generosity and bravery that best characterize the steely and determined nature of these communities – stories of neighbors who banded together to fight back flames licking at their doorstep and stories of fathers who worked tirelessly to save their children’s school from burning. These citizens are proud and fiercely independent people accustomed to taking care of their own and handling situations within their community, making their calls for help all the more meaningful.

We are enormously proud of the thousands of firefighters, volunteers, and soldiers from multiple local and state agencies who have responded heroically to this disaster. We are grateful for all those who have traveled from Colorado, Oregon, Montana, and other jurisdictions to lend their assistance in firefighting. We also deeply appreciate the commitment of the many citizens, volunteers, charities, businesses, and local elected and appointed officials who have risen to serve their neighbors during this very difficult time.

While local communities and state agencies have responded admirably, a disaster of this magnitude requires long-term federal assistance to help these communities respond, rebuild, and cope with this tragedy. We fully support Governor Inslee’s request for a major disaster declaration that includes hazard mitigation, public assistance, and individual assistance. The public assistance requested by Governor Inslee is vital to restoring public infrastructure damaged by the wildfires. Further, individual assistance with housing support, disaster crisis counseling, disaster unemployment, and other supports will help meet the needs of the families, business owners, and other community members who are struggling in the aftermath of this disaster.

We therefore urge you to grant Governor Inslee’s request in its entirety as soon as possible. Thank you in advance for your quick attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Patty Murray - United States Senator
Maria Cantwell - United States Senator
Doc Hastings - Member of Congress
Dave Reichert - Member of Congress

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Hastings Demands Army Corps Explain Its Settlement to Expand EPA’s Regulatory Authority over Columbia & Snake River Dams

2014/08/06

Today, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers voicing strong concerns over the Corps’ settlement this week with Columbia Riverkeeper, a group that for years has sued the federal government and favors removal of Northwest dams. The settlement, which involves payment of over $140,000 in taxpayer-funded attorneys’ fees to the plaintiff, would vastly expand the regulatory authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over Army Corps’ dam operations nationwide. These dams, especially those in the Pacific Northwest, are the major source of clean, renewable electricity, irrigation, flood control, and navigation.

“Incredibly, I understand that no one other than U.S. Department of Justice or Army Corps lawyers were made aware of the terms of this sweeping settlement before it was finalized, and signed by a judge. Like an increasing number of the Obama Administration’s ‘sue and settle’ agreements over the past few years, this settlement was negotiated behind closed-doors by the Justice Department with a litigious group without consultation or input from those most directly impacted,” wrote Chairman Hastings in the letter. Of great concern is the likely precedent that this decision could have relating to the EPA’s enforcement of the Clean Water Act, relating to the operation and maintenance of federal and non-federal dams, irrigation and maintenance of a vital navigational link on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. This comes amidst the EPA’s hugely controversial ‘Waters of the U.S.’ proposal, which could shut down a host of water development projects and make it easier for litigious groups to sue to block them. I would request an immediate and thorough explanation of the Army Corps’ rationale and details of its actions relative to this settlement, not just to Congress, but also to all affected state, local tribal and other stakeholders that have an interest in the Army Corps’ dam operations nationwide.”

To view the letter, click here.

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Bringing the Endangered Species Act into the 21st Century

2014/08/01

From the decimation of our timber industry to severe restrictions placed on our growers, those of us in the Pacific Northwest are all too familiar with the severe impact that the Endangered Species Act (ESA) can have on our local communities – often with little benefit to the species this law is intended to protect. In recent years, communities throughout the nation have begun to face similar problems with these frequent ESA listings.

The 40-year-old Endangered Species Act was last renewed by Congress in 1988 – long before the Internet and cell phones were as widespread as they are today. With new technologies available and strong support for conserving endangered species, there are key areas where improvements could be made to bring the law into the 21st century.

Most recently here in Central Washington, the court-mandated listing of the White Bluffs bladderpod, a plant found on thousands of acres of land in Franklin and Benton Counties, is a prime example of that is wrong with the ESA law. I firmly believe that local officials understand the needs of their communities better than unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., and yet the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pushed through the listing of this plant in spite of DNA data compiled by local officials that found no difference between the White Bluffs bladderpod and plants found in three other states. What makes the White Bluffs bladderpod in Central Washington different from one in Oregon or Idaho? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been unable to answer this simple question, and yet went forward with this listing that could severely restrict the use of fertile farmland in Central Washington.

Instead of focusing on working together to recover species that are at risk, the ESA has become a litigant’s dream. More than 500 ESA-related lawsuits have been filed against the government in the past six years alone – meaning that the courts, and not the scientists, are making the decisions over what species need protection.

That is why I’m proud to report the House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 4315, the Endangered Species Transparency and Reasonableness Act,” a bill I introduced that will help update and improve the ESA. Specifically, this legislation will increase transparency by making the science used in these decisions public online, ensure greater input opportunities by states, localities, and Indian tribes in species listings, and reduce taxpayer-financed attorneys’ fees to help invest more funding in actual species recovery.

After more than four decades, it is past time for the Endangered Species Act to be modernized and updated. H.R. 4315 would help restore the original intent of the ESA – to conserve species – and make the law more effective for both species and people. The House’s approval – with Republican and Democrat support – of this bill is an important first step forward.

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Taking President Obama to Court

2014/07/25

Each Member of Congress and the president take an oath and swear to faithfully “preserve, protect, and defend” the United States Constitution, which provides separate powers for our nation’s three equal branches of government – the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches.

Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the authority to write the laws of the land while Article II entrusts the president to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” However, all too often over the past five years, President Obama has evaded the Constitution – and Congress – by selectively enforcing the law and, in some instances, ignoring or changing it altogether. In no way have Americans witnessed this president waive, suspend, or rewrite the rules to meet his own needs more than with his signature law, Obamacare.

When the Executive Branch oversteps its bounds and ignores our nation’s constitutional checks and balances, it is critical for the Judiciary – the third branch of our government – to carry out its duties in rebalancing the separation of powers.

The aggressive authoritarian approach practiced by President Obama presents a challenge to the constitutional balance of powers and Congress is compelled to respond and defend its authority to write laws. That is why I support allowing the House of Representatives to file a lawsuit in an effort to compel President Obama to follow his oath of office and faithfully execute the laws of our nation.

Make no mistake – this lawsuit is not about partisan politics. This is about the unconstitutional and unilateral actions taken by this Executive Branch. This is about defending the Constitution and protecting our democracy.

If the current president can get away with making up his own laws or ignoring the laws Congress writes, then all future presidents – no matter what their political affiliation may be – may follow his precedent. This is not how our system of government was designed to work.

President George Washington wrote in his farewell address, “Let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” Through this lawsuit, the House of Representatives will take a critical step in reining in this president and defending the separation of powers put forth in the Constitution that makes our government unique so that it endures for generations to come.

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Hastings, Murray, and Cantwell Statement on Wildfires in Central Washington

2014/07/19

U.S. Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) and U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement today on the firefighting efforts underway in Central Washington:

“Our hearts go out to those Washingtonians and communities that have been impacted by the catastrophic wildfires now burning in north Central Washington. We are in close communication with the federal, state, and local authorities on the ground and we are committed to ensuring that the necessary resources and authorities are available to respond to this devastating fire. We extend our gratitude to our firefighters and other first responders who are working tirelessly on this effort.”

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Investing in America’s Workforce and Competitiveness

2014/07/18

Millions of Americans continue to struggle to find work in today’s challenging economy. Many Central Washington workforce-training centers have successfully helped unemployed workers find jobs. However, on the federal level, much improvement can be made. Like with all federal programs, I believe Congress should routinely review them and make necessary improvements to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Job seekers currently face a maze of overlapping programs and an inefficient, bureaucratic training system, making it difficult to get the skills they need to compete for a job in today’s economy. With millions of Americans still out of work and nearly 4 million job openings unfilled, we must look for ways to modernize and reform our federal workforce development programs.

Last week, a good thing happened. House and Senate leaders from both parties came together and passed the “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act,” sending it to the president’s desk for him to sign into law. This is a great example of what we can accomplish together when we listen to the American people.

This bipartisan, bicameral legislation makes much-needed updates to America’s workforce training system and helps put Americans back to work. Now more than ever, valuable education and workforce development opportunities are critical to building a stronger working class. We need a system that prepares employees for the 21st century workforce, while helping businesses find the skilled employees they need to compete and create jobs in America.

Too often, we hear of our soldiers returning from war and not being able to find work. The “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” better serves our veterans by providing support and equipping them with critical job training services in order to find good paying jobs.

As a former small business owner, I recognize the challenges many employers face in finding workers with the proper qualifications to hire. This legislation streamlines the workforce training system by consolidating 15 existing programs and saves taxpayer dollars by cutting bureaucratic government red tape. The bill also gives Washington state more flexibility to tailor our job training programs to meet the needs for occupations in-demand. Most importantly, it prepares American job seekers with the skills and tools they need to compete in a 21st century workforce.

Ensuring Washington state maintains a dynamic workforce is critical to growing our economy. The “Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act” is a common-sense bill that supports employers who seek skilled employees and expands opportunities for job seekers to achieve the American Dream. Read More

Still Recovering from the “Recovery Summer”

2014/07/11

Every day, I hear from hardworking people in Central Washington who are struggling to support their families and put food on the table. They are frustrated with the state of our nation’s economy. Overall, Americans’ take home pay is dwindling and they’re falling further and further behind due to the higher cost of living.

Realizing the discontent of the American people, President Obama attempted to put fears to rest by declaring the 2010 summer as the ‘Recovery Summer’ – a time when Americans would begin to see robust job growth, the benefits of the economic stimulus and bailouts and recovery would sweep across the country. That was four years ago.

Four years after the ‘Recovery Summer,’ the American people continue to experience the worst economic ‘recovery’ ever. Under President Obama, nearly 10 million people are still out of work today and our nation’s unemployment rate has hovered at or above 6 percent for the past six years. For the 49th time in 50 months, more people gave up looking for work than those who found a new job. Making matters worse, the U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 2.9 percent – the worst economic decline since the first quarter of 2009.

American families are being stretched thin by a weak economy, stagnant wages, and higher costs on everything from groceries to health care to gasoline. It’s natural for hardworking Americans to think, “I don’t have confidence in how the government is spending my tax dollars. I’d rather hang on to what I’ve got.”

What Washington, D.C. Democrats have failed to realize is economic recovery does not come from government bailouts and stimulus spending. True recovery comes from commonsense solutions to help the private sector grow jobs.

In stark contrast to this administration’s approach, House Republicans continue to make hardworking taxpayers’ priorities our priorities. The House has passed bill after bill to create more jobs and jumpstart the economy – allowing people to keep more of their hard-earned money and creating more opportunities for working-class families.

Unfortunately for the American people, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Democrat colleagues have refused to consider the more than 40 House-passed jobs bills. Disappointing economic growth in the first half of 2014 underscores the need for the Senate to pass these pro-growth bills that would increase American energy production, provide much-needed relief to small businesses, expand educational opportunities, and allow our manufacturers to compete across the globe.

Four years later, the ‘Recovery Summer’ still feels far from complete. It’s time for a change from the last six years of President Obama’s failed economic policies. We need a strong economy to get Americans the good paying, full time jobs they want and need. It’s time for President Obama to call on the Senate to act on these pro-jobs, pro-growth bills.

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Contact Information

1203 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-5816
Fax 202-225-3251
hastings.house.gov

Doc Hastings first joined the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995 to serve Washington’s Fourth Congressional District. He brought with him solid legislative experience and a strong work ethic, coupled with the desire to bring the common sense traditional values of Central Washington back to Washington, D.C.

After graduating from Pasco High School, Doc studied business administration at Columbia Basin College and at Central Washington University. Later, while running his family’s small business, Columbia Basin Paper and Supply, Doc established himself as a leader in the local business community. Before being elected to Congress, Doc served eight years in the Washington State Legislature.

During his tenure in the House of Representatives, Doc has established a long record of serving the people, communities, and priorities of Central Washington. He supported ongoing efforts for new water storage in the Yakima Basin; passed a law to protect the survivor benefits for families of soldiers killed in action; worked to enact fair trade agreements that benefit Washington state; and fought attempts to ban local doctor-owned hospitals. He continues to lead efforts to open new markets for local farmers and remains a strong defender of dams and a proponent of nuclear power.

In 2011, at the start of the 112th Congress, Doc was selected by his colleagues to serve as the Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources. The Committee has jurisdiction over most federal land use and water policies, including national forests, national parks and monuments, wilderness areas, national scenic areas, Indian reservations, and Bureau of Land Management lands. Of importance to Central Washington and the Pacific Northwest, the Committee oversees the Bonneville Power Administration, Bureau of Reclamation irrigation projects (Columbia Basin Project and Yakima Project), endangered species recovery, federal hydropower projects, Payment-In-Lieu-Of-Taxes (PILT) payments, and wildfire prevention on federal lands.

Under Doc’s leadership, the Committee is dedicated to pursuing policies that both strengthen our economy and protect our nation’s treasured lands, oceans, and wildlife. Specifically, Doc’s priorities include increasing American energy production, ensuring U.S. offshore drilling is the safest in the world, guaranteeing access to public lands for recreation and job creation, effective management of our nation’s oceans, and fighting for water rights in the West.

Doc is the founder and Chairman of the House Nuclear Clean-Up Caucus. He also serves as a Co-Chairman of the Northwest Energy Caucus and is a member of the Rural Health Care Coalition and the Specialty Crop Caucus.

Doc and his wife Claire live in Pasco, Washington. They have three children and eight grandchildren.


Serving With

Jaime Herrera Beutler

WASHINGTON's 3rd DISTRICT

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

WASHINGTON's 5th DISTRICT

Dave Reichert

WASHINGTON's 8th DISTRICT

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