Republicans Remind Obama: Democrats Are Blocking House-Passed Jobs Bills
(CNSNews.com) - Republican leaders are reminding President Obama that the House of Representatives has passed more than a dozen "pro-growth" measures to spur job creation, but with one exception, Senate Democrats have refused to consider any of those bills.
In a letter to the president on Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) listed all the House-passed "jobs" bills that are now languishing in the Senate. They include a bill to reduce the regulatory burdens on farmers and small business owners; a bill to block a "job-destroying national energy tax," and a bill to boost offshore energy production. (See full list below.)
Boehner and Cantor also outlined "potential opportunities for Congress and the White House to work together" on job-creation.
An infrastructure initiative is one of those areas: "We are not opposed to initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure," the Republican leaders said, but instead of new spending, they’re calling for spending “reforms,” as follows:
"Current law requires that states set-aside 10 percent of their surface transportation funds for transportation enhancements, which must be used for items such as establishment of transportation museums, education activities for pedestrians and bicyclists, acquisition of scenic easements, historic preservation, operation of historic transportation facilities, etc.," Boehner and Cantor noted.
"While many of the initiatives funded by this mandatory set-aside may be worthy projects, eliminating this required set-aside would allow states to devote more money to the types of infrastructure programs you are advocating without adding to the deficit. We believe such a reform would be consistent with your statement last week that we should 'reform the way transportation money is invested, to eliminate waste, to give states more control over the projects that are right for them.'"
Other areas of possible cooperation, according to Republican leaders, include a proposal to speed up the permitting process for construction projects; reforms to the unemployment system; and completing free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
"These reforms alone are not a substitute for a comprehensive pro-growth jobs agenda, such as the one House Republicans have put forth and continue to implement. But they are potential areas for common ground," Boehner and Cantor told the president.
Because Democrats and Republicans “sincerely believe” that their own policies are the right way to get the economy growing, it’s unlikely that either side will completely give in to the other. But, Boehner and Cantor added, it is “critical” that both sides focus on areas of common agreement: “We should not approach this as an all or nothing situation,” they said.
The Republican leaders said they would like to meet with President Obama before he gives his “jobs” address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday. Such a meeting – including leaders from both parties -- would give lawmakers “the opportunity to constructively discuss your proposals.”
Boehner and Cantor said they are specifically interested in learning the cost estimates for 212 new regulatory actions planned by the Obama administration.
Attachment to Boehner/Cantor letter to President Obama:
Bills Passed by the House of Representatives that Have Not Been Considered by the Democrat-Controlled Senate
The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (H.R. 872), which would halt duplicative federal regulations on farmers and small business owners that are impeding job creation.
The Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), which would stop the federal bureaucracy from imposing a job-destroying national energy tax.
The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act (H.R. 2018), which would restrict the federal government’s ability to second-guess or delay a state’s permitting and water quality certification decisions under the Clean Water Act once the EPA has already approved a state’s program, preventing approval process delays that cost jobs and leave businesses hampered by uncertainty.
The Consumer Financial Protection & Soundness Improvement Act (H.R. 1315), which would increase consumer protection and government accountability by eliminating the ability of Dodd-Frank’s unelected Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director to unilaterally carry out regulations that hurt job growth.
The Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act (H.R. 1230), which would help to address high gas prices and support the creation of new American jobs by increasing offshore energy production.
The Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act (H.R. 1229) and the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (H.R. 1231), which would help to put thousands of Americans back to work by ending the de facto moratorium on American energy production in the Gulf of Mexico in a safe, responsible and transparent manner by setting firm timelines for considering permits to drill.
The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011 (H.R. 2021), which would streamline the permit process for American energy production to help lower prices and create tens of thousands of new jobs.
The North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938), which would require the federal government to make a determination by a date certain on whether or not it will allow the Keystone XL pipeline expansion, which is projected to directly create 20,000 jobs and support the creation of thousands more, to move forward.
A Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.Con.Res. 34). With Washington’s failure to control spending hurting job creation in America, the House has passed its budget, while the Senate has not yet considered a budget of its own.