The 27 Republican Bills That Aren't About Jobs
In another effort to use the struggling economy for partisan gain, Republicans have recently taken to discussing 27 "job creating measures" that have passed the House but have not passed the Senate. As House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in December:
Republicans have, as promised, focused all year on our plan to remove government-made barriers to job creation. In all, 27 bipartisan, House-passed jobs bills are now waiting for a vote in the Democratic-run Senate.
That line has been echoed by House leadership members Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), as well as the Chamber of Commerce's Tom Donahue (although Donohue rounds up to 30) in an attempt to suggest that the Senate is obstructing job growth. However, most of the GOP's "jobs" proposals aren't really about job creation. Instead, the majority of the bills are meant to advance the GOP's radical deregulatory agenda, and many would sacrifice the health and safety of Americans for the sake of a bottom line.
A large portion of the bills would have the effect of hampering the Environmental Protection Agency's prerogative to carry out its duties in keeping our air and water clean. One measure would undermine the federal government's ability to enforce coal ash standards that help keep carcinogenic chromium out of the air. Others would halt Cement MACT and Boiler MACT rules, which together will prevent thousands of deaths and health issues caused by air pollution.
Other bills among the 27 are aimed at obstructing regulations more generally, proposing to dilute agencies' efficacy by adding bureaucracy and congressional oversight. Although it would be inconvenient for the GOP to admit, studies have found that claims about the burden regulations place on job creators is extremely overblown.
Another set of proposals calling for the approval recently rejected Keystone XL pipeline proposal and for increasing offshore drilling also miss the mark on job creation. Independent analysis of the pipeline project has found that it will create as few as 50 permanent jobs and no more than a few thousand temporary construction jobs. In addition, under President Obama American oil production has already increased.
Perhaps the most dishonest part of the GOP's jobs bills gambit is a bill that would increase legal immigration levels for high-skilled workers. Although there is strong bipartisan support for the measure in both the House and the Senate, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has placed a hold on the bill. Several more bills among the count, passed by the House late last year, have already been placed on the Senate calendar. Another has gone past its deadline.
Not a single bill among the House GOP's "jobs" bills is a clear-cut example of the Senate neglecting a real, viable measure aimed at job creation. The Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration aren't against creating jobs — they're just against bills that would harm the environment or human health, or that would have no impact on job creation whatsoever.
Click HERE to read more about the House GOP's 27 "jobs" bills.