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Congressman Yarmuth receives an award for his work with small businesses from SCORE Louisville. 

Even as our economy recovers from a worldwide recession, it is clear that we are operating in a rapidly evolving and increasingly global economy. At this unique time, we must take bold action to put the recession behind us while working to stay ahead of the transition, so that our nation emerges stronger than ever.

A key component in this pursuit is to encourage American innovation and new investment. In Congress, I introduced a bill that would temporarily reduce the capital gains rate to 5 percent for new commercial real estate acquisitions. If enacted, this bill would encourage desperately needed investments in the commercial real estate market and, like the first-time homebuyers tax credit, spur immediate economic growth.

Of course, not all investments are equal. And I am committed to enacting policies that create opportunities for American companies to grow within the emerging realities of the 21st century landscape.

With the help of targeted federal incentives, Ford retooled its plants in Louisville to produce more fuel efficient vehicles and meet the increasing demand of consumers who want to go farther on a gallon of gas. And at Appliance Park, GE – with the help of federal investment – brought two product lines back from overseas and built the first new manufacturing facility there in 50 years. Using targeted federal investments to help drive expansion, these companies have created thousands of new jobs in Louisville.

I will also continue to advocate for more pragmatic tax reforms that support our nation's financial growth, such as exempting family-owned small businesses from the estate tax, increasing the child tax credit and education tax credits, and extending small business expensing levels to encourage businesses to invest.

But no discussion of economic growth would be complete without mentioning health care, which has been an increasing burden on virtually every Louisville family and an obstacle to growth in companies of every size. As the Affordable Care Act takes effect, our corporate citizens are seeing the overwhelming financial burden of providing health insurance reduced. Small-business owners who provide coverage are receiving tax credits, while others are able to provide coverage for their employees for the first time. Individuals will no longer be health-care hostages to jobs that limit their potential. And perhaps most importantly, as people are no longer forced to forgo critical care due to cost, we will see our workforce and consumer base become healthier.