The White House says it’s doing all of the heavy lifting when it comes to legislative proposals to promote job growth, going as far as accusing Republicans of blocking President Obama’s ideas in a deliberate effort to see the economy fail.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) “Look, if Republicans wanted the economy to fail, we’d all line right up behind the President’s economic policies, rather than opposing them.”
Interestingly, Republicans did line up behind one key component of Obama’s jobs bill last week to abolish one particular tax neither party likes.
The bill needed 60 votes to pass, but was killed 57 to 43.
Who voted against the measure? The Democrat caucus.
“The President doesn’t want Congress to pass his jobs bill, he wants to blame Republicans and use it on the campaign trail,” McConnell said afterwards.
“Tonight’s vote underscores that Senate Democrat leadership simply isn’t interested in passing bipartisan legislation that can actually help our job creators expand their businesses and hire new workers,” McConnell said.
Some Democrats also sided with Republicans to vote down the President’s $447 billion American Jobs Act two weeks ago after Obama campaigned for weeks for lawmakers to “pass this bill now.”
A scaled-back version of the President’s plan proposed by Democrats also failed in the Senate last week.
Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated with the Democrat-controlled Senate, which they say has become a black hole where their jobs bills go to die.
The Republican-controlled House has passed 22 bills this year that were designed to strengthen the economy and boost jobs, only to watch them languish in the Senate, while Democrats have blamed them as a do-nothing Congress.
The House will try again on a job measure this week when it votes on the same Obama proposal Democrats killed in the Senate—a bill to repeal a 3% withholding requirement on government contractor payments.
Nearly a dozen bills already passed by House Republicans would remove onerous government regulations they say hurt small business and impedes private-sector job creation, including net neutrality regulations, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules and consumer financial protection.
Republicans say that if the EPA is allowed to regulate greenhouse gases, for example, it could eliminate 1.4 million jobs. Additionally, clarifying EPA rules on drilling permits for the Alaskan Outer Continental Shelf would create 50,000 jobs.
Another five bills that would increase energy production and create tens of thousands of jobs are stalled, including legislation that would reverse Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling and put the Gulf of Mexico back to work.
According to the “jobs legislation tracker” on Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R.-Va.) web page, the budget passed by Republicans would also stabilize the economy by paying down the nation’s debt.
“The federal government is spending and borrowing so much, that the United States will go broke,” the jobs tracker says. “Washington’s spending binge has put our nation in debt, eroded economic confidence and caused massive uncertainty for private-sector job creators. It’s time to live within our means.”
The only key legislation to pass both Houses and be signed by Obama are three free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea.
Meanwhile, the White House now says it will bypass Congress and legislate some of its policy through executive actions.
“The President will continue to pressure congressional Republicans to put country before party and pass the American Jobs Act, but he believes we cannot wait, so he will act where they won’t,” Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director, told the New York Times.