House GOP: Hey, here’s an idea … Why don’t we talk about jobs?

posted at 7:10 pm on February 28, 2012 by Tina Korbe

In an effort to return the conversation to what polls show remains the No. 1 priority of the American public — that would be economic recovery, House GOP leadership today reintroduced a number of jobs bills that have so far enjoyed broad bipartisan support:

GOP leaders said on Tuesday that the House is set to vote on a package of job-creation bills as soon as next week.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who spearheaded the effort to bundle six bipartisan bills together, told reporters on Capitol Hill that the chamber would vote on the “Jumpstart Our Business Startups,” or JOBS Act, in a little over a week. …

The compilation of bills — most of which have garnered bipartisan support in the House or in committee — was geared towards sparking investment in entrepreneurial and small-business start-up companies.

Boehner, a successful small businessman before his foray into politics, noted that the bundle of bills would target the “red tape and access to capital” issues plaguing would-be small-business owners.

Not surprisingly, House Democratic leadership had little nice to say about the package (even though, again, it consists almost entirely of bills with bipartisan support). “This clearly is not the jobs bill that we’re looking for,” Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said.

The White House, however, didn’t have quite the same knee-jerk reaction to the GOPers’ proposal:

House Republican leaders won something of an endorsement from the White House on Tuesday for a package of largely uncontroversial bills aimed at helping small businesses succeed.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, is actually six bills offered by different GOP lawmakers that have earned bipartisan support.

Though some Democrats pointed out that the House already passed four of the six bills in the package, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the package shows that Congress can move beyond partisan divisions, even if it’s just “compromise on the margins.”

“It goes right to the point that I’ve been making that conventional wisdom holds that we can’t actually accomplish things that both the administration and a Congress controlled largely by the other party can agree on. But that’s not true,” Carney told reporters in his daily briefing.

So, what’s up? Could a bill to make capital more available to small-business owners bring the president and the House GOP together at last? Don’t bet on it. The White House can’t afford to be seen to be against jobs bills of any sort. The president has already proved his prowess at accusing the entire Congress of a “do-nothing” mentality even when it’s just the Senate stalling on bills the House has already passed (#Forgotten15!!!). He’ll use Republicans’ reintroduction of these bills as an excuse to bring up his American Jobs Act again and to accuse Congress of inaction when the House doesn’t want to pass his spendthrift proposals. Still, it’s refreshing to reintroduce this debate. The news cycle lately has been so dominated by the GOP primary and cultural debates that it’s easy to forget unemployment is still 8.3 percent. Time to remember.


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