Speaker Boehner, Where Are The Jobs?

January 20, 2011 5:03 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Speaker John Boehner

For almost two years before the midterm elections, Republican politicians blamed President Obama and the Democratic majority for an avalanche of job losses that started under the Bush administration. When employment stopped cratering shortly after the enactment of the Recovery Act, conservatives attacked Democrats for not creating jobs swiftly enough, even as Republicans blocked efforts to boost employment. Any legislative initiative whose primary goal was not job creation was, Republicans said, an affront to millions of Americans who were struggling.

Now that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is calling the shots, though, Republican priorities seem to have shifted. The new majority's first big push was the symbolic repeal of health care reform, which — GOP talking points notwithstanding — won't do anything to get people back to work. Having scored an entirely meaningless win on the health care front, Republicans are now moving on to the all-important economic issue of...abortion.

Calling it a top priority of the Republican agenda, House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday gave a top designation to a bill introduced by New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith that would ban the use of any federal funds from being used for abortions. 

The "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," given the numerical designation H.R. 3 to emphasize its prominence, would make permanent in existing law any language that bans abortion. [...] 

"Our members feel very strongly about the sanctity of human life. We listened to the American people. We made a commitment to the American people under the Pledge to America and we're continuing to fulfill our commitment," Boehner said.

Meanwhile, after months of GOP leaders dodging questions about how they would reduce spending, the Republican Study Committee has outlined $2.5 trillion in budget cuts that "would deliberately fire thousands of civilian workers, force states to make sweeping job cuts, and lay off thousands more who work in transportation and infrastructure." As Steve Benen comments, "if lawmakers were to get together to plot how Congress could deliberately increase unemployment, their plan would look an awful lot like this one."

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