When introducing his jobs plan to a joint session of Congress almost three weeks ago, Barack Obama insisted that they had to “pass this bill immediately.” According to Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), that would be a neat trick indeed, since the bill has yet to be introduced to the House, where tax policies have to originate. Lankford tells the Daily Caller that Democrats are having difficulty finding anyone to attach their name to the proposal:
“The focus right now from him [Obama] is ‘pass my whole bill, pass my whole bill,’ [and] some of the struggle with that is no Democrat in the House has even taken his bill and filed it yet. So we can’t even pass the bill because no one wants to put their name on it and say, ‘this is my bill’ and file it in the House,” said Lankford in a September 23 interview at the U.S. Capitol.
Why not? No one wants to put his or her name on a rehash of a previous flop:
TheDC asked Lankford, a member of the Budget, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Oversight & Government Reform committees, if he thought Obama’s newest plan would lower the unemployment rate.
“I do not and I’ll tell you, I’m very glad we’re talking about it as the President, the House and the Senate. We need to be focused on the economic issues, but if a trillion dollars did not solve the economic issues two years ago, throwing a half a trillion dollars at it now is not going to solve the economic issues. It’s the same stuff. It’s the same type of plan.”
Eventually, this bill will have to come into the House, and there are at least a few Democrats there who back a Porkulus II approach. Don’t expect to see any names on the bill that come from competitive districts in 2012 — although the mere act of adding one’s name to such a bill might just make a district competitive on its own.
Update: The White House’s Jesse Lee responds by pointing out that the bill has already been introduced to the House, and had been before Lankford’s interview on Friday:
House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (D-Conn.) on Wednesday introduced President Obama’s American Jobs Act legislation in the House.
“The President has drafted a plan that is focused on what the 14 million Americans who are out of work know they need — the simple dignity of a job,” Larson said. “He deserves a vote on his plan in as timely a fashion as possible because those 14 million Americans can’t wait the 14 months until the next election for this to be resolved.”
Larson’s bill, H.R. 12, is identical to S. 1549, the bill Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the Senate last week in a bid to start the process of moving Obama’s jobs plan through Congress.
However, House Republicans are unlikely to schedule any time for Obama’s plan, in large part because of the $1.5 trillion in tax hikes Obama has proposed to help pay for it. Instead, Republicans have said they could consider pieces of Obama’s proposal as they move on their deregulatory agenda this fall.
Larson represents CT-01, which has a Cook Report rating of D+13. I’d call that a safe district.
Update II: It’s worth noting that while Larson did indeed put his name to the bill and introduce it to Congress on 9/21, there has yet to be any other co-sponsors attaching their name to the bill as of today.