Media Matters Action Network

REPORT: The Republican Party's War On Jobs

March 14, 2011 1:17 pm ET

"Where Are The Jobs?"

-134 House Republicans, 7/22/09

"And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it."

-Speaker John Boehner, 2/15/11

"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 10/25/10

"Where Are The Jobs?":The GOP's Two-Year Campaign Against Job Creation and Economic Growth

Republicans Have Spent Two Years Blocking Job-Creation Efforts

The Recovery Act Lowered The Unemployment Rate And Increased The Number Of People With Full-Time Jobs By Millions. According to the CBO:

CBO estimates that ARRA's policies had the following effects in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2010:

[Congressional Budget Office, 2/23/11]                                                                                                                

The Affordable Care Act "Could Increase The Number Of Jobs In The United States By About 250,000 To 400,000 Per Year." According to the Center for American Progress: "In the analysis that follows, we combine these two studies to show that health care reform could increase the number of jobs in the United States by about 250,000 to 400,000 per year over the coming decade." [Center for American Progress, 1/8/10]

The Jobs For Main Street Act Could "Create More Than One Million Jobs." According to Rep. Ray Oberstar (D-MN) via National Journal: "We have the opportunity to build on the foundation set by the Recovery Act in H.R. 2847, the Jobs for Main Street Act. This bill, which won approval in the House on December 16, 2009, would invest another $37.3 billion in our nation's highways and transit systems, and create more than one million jobs." [National Journal, 1/4/10]

The FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act "Would Preserve The Jobs Of More Than 300,000 Workers." According to the Washington Post: "Democrats argued that it would preserve the jobs of more than 300,000 workers by helping state governors plug their own budget holes." [Washington Post, 9/11/10]

The Small Business Jobs Act "Would Generate An Estimated 500,000 Jobs." According to The Center for American Progress: "In May, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010. ... The benefits to small businesses and the economy from this bill could not be more clear. Demand for the Small Business Administration loans included in the Recovery Act was so high that the SBA ran out of funds in the spring of 2009, leaving over a thousand small businesses on a waiting list. Helping small businesses access private credit would generate an estimated 500,000 jobs." [Center for American Progress, 9/21/10]

Not Extending The TANF Emergency Fund "Jeopardiz[es] 240,000 Jobs In 37 States." According to the Huffington Post: "Congress is set to increase unemployment by not reauthorizing a fund for a subsidized jobs program that will expire on September 30, jeopardizing 240,000 jobs in 37 states." [Huffington Post, 7/27/10]

House Republicans Targeted TANF Emergency Fund For Elimination. Politico reported:

House Republicans built a web site that asked people to vote on which government program to cut, and they've found a winner: welfare.

After receiving 81,000 text message votes on the new "YouCut" web site, $2.5 billion from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund is in Republican crosshairs. The expanded welfare fund - passed in the stimulus bill and reauthorized in March - provides funds to states to subsidize jobs. [Politico, 5/18/10]

Unemployment Benefits Are "Timely And Cost-Effective In Spurring Economic Activity And Employment." According to the CBO Testimony of Doug Elmendorf, director of the CBO:

Extending additional unemployment benefits would directly help those who would otherwise exhaust their unemployment benefits between March and December of this year. Households receiving unemployment benefits tend to spend the additional benefits quickly, making this option both timely and cost-effective in spurring economic activity and employment.

The Congressional Budget Office also provided the following chart:

Cumulative Effects of Policy Options on Employment in 2010 and 2011, Range of Low to High Estimates

CBO

[CBO, 2/23/10]

"So Be It": Republicans Use Spending Cuts To Undermine The Economic Recovery

The Republicans' Continuing Resolution Would Cut Job Growth And GDP

Cuts In Continuing Resolution Could Cause Loss Of "Nearly 1 Million Jobs." According to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank: "I checked with budget expert Scott Lilly of the Center for American Progress, and, using the usual multipliers, he calculated that the cuts - a net of $59 billion in the last half of fiscal 2011 - would lead to the loss of 650,000 government jobs, and the indirect loss of 325,000 more jobs as fewer government workers travel and buy things. That's nearly 1 million jobs - possibly enough to tip the economy back into recession." [Washington Post, 2/15/11]

Economic Policy Institute: Job Losses From GOP Budget Could Be "Just Over 800,000." According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute: "The new GOP budget proposes cutting non-security discretionary spending by $81 billion relative to the president's $478 billion request for 2011. Non-security discretionary cuts of this magnitude would likely result in job losses of just over 800,000." [Economic Policy Institute, 2/15/11]

Moody's Analytics Economist Mark Zandi: CR Would Result In "700,000 Fewer Jobs By The End Of Next Year." According to the Washington Post: "Zandi, an architect of the 2009 stimulus package who has advised both political parties, predicts that the GOP package would reduce economic growth by 0.5 percentage points this year, and by 0.2 percentage points in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs by the end of next year." [Washington Post, 2/28/10]

Goldman Sachs Report: Continuing Resolution Would Slow GDP Growth By 1.5 To 2 Percentage Points. According to Reuters:

A $61.5 billion spending-cut bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday would slow economic growth significantly this year, according to an analysis by the global investment firm Goldman Sachs (GS.N).

"Under the House passed spending bill, the drag on GDP growth from federal fiscal policy would increase by 1.5pp (percentage points) to 2pp in Q2 and Q3 compared with current law," according to Alec Phillips, who signed the analysis that is dated Tuesday. [Reuters, 2/23/11]

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke: Continuing Resolution Cuts "Would Translate Into A Couple Of Hundred Thousand Jobs. So It's Not Trivial." According to Reuters:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday a Republican spending cut plan would not cause a big dent to U.S. economic growth, but could cost around 200,000 jobs over two years.

That estimate is at odds with losses of as much as 700,000 cited by Democrats but also clashes with forecasts of job gains Republicans have pointed to.

Bernanke said that a $60 billion cut along the lines being pursued by Republicans in the House of Representatives would likely trim growth by around two-tenths of a percentage point in the first year and one-tenth in the next year.

"That would translate into a couple of hundred thousand jobs. So it's not trivial," he said in response to questions from members of the House Financial Services Committee. [Reuters, 3/2/11]

The Continuing Resolution Will Hurt Jobs In Many Sectors Of The Economy

GOP Amendments To The CR Would Defund Implementation Of The Affordable Care Act. According to National Underwriter Life & Health:

House members later approved several general PPACA defunding amendments offered by Rep. Dennis Rehberg, R-Mont, and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

The Rehberg amendment could prohibit the use of federal funds to "pay any employee, officer, contractor, or grantee of any department or agency to implement" PPACA or the health provisions of HCERA.

One King amendment would "prohibit the use of funds in H.R. 1 or any previous act, to be used to carry out the provisions" of PPACA, HCERA or any amendment made by either PPACA or HCERA. A second King amendment would prohibit H.R. 1 funds from being used to "pay the salary of any officer or employee of any federal department or agency" to carry out PPACA or HCERA provisions.

The Rehberg and King amendments passed with almost complete Republican support and little Democratic support. A handful of Republicans and a handful of Democrats crossed party lines on each vote. [National Underwriter Life & Health, 2/18/11]

The Cuts To The Affordable Care In The CR Put Jobs Of 500 Workers At Risk. According to the Wonk Room: "Of the more than 500 employees responsible for implementing the law, an untold number would find themselves without a job and the law itself would be seriously hampered." [Wonk Room, 2/17/11]

Completely defunding the Affordable Care Act would have the same effect as repealing the entire act. This could cost Americans hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Repealing The Affordable Care Act Could "Reduce Employment By 250,000 To 400,000 Jobs Annually." According to the Center for American Progress: "The House leadership has set as one of their first agenda items the repeal of health reform that would guarantee coverage and lower costs. They promise to 'repeal and replace' health care reform with an unspecified alternative. ... The implications of these plans for employment are profound. If successful, the effort to repeal health care reform would reduce employment by 250,000 to 400,000 jobs annually over the next decade and lower wage growth." [Center for American Progress, 1/7/11]

Repealing — Or Defunding — The Affordable Care Act Would Reduce Employment Across Industries. From the Center for American Progress:

Figure 4 shows the estimated employment change by industry in 2016 (omitting health care, which will have more employment). More than 200,000 jobs will be lost in manufacturing and nearly 900,000 jobs will be lost in nonhealth care services.

CAP Jobs

[Center for American Progress, 1/7/11]

Defunding The Affordable Care Act Could Cause The Loss Of "More Than 178,000 Jobs" In Community Health Care Centers Alone. According to the Center for American Progress:

The fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution currently being debated in the House of Representatives would slash the health center funding to levels not seen for over a decade. The proposed legislation would cut $1 billion for community health centers from the FY 2010 baseline funding-or $1.3 billion from what the president requested in his 2011 budget. This cut translates into nearly 90,000 fewer jobs in communities with health centers. 

But it goes even farther than that. If the Affordable Care Act is overturned-and the House just passed a bill to do that-this would reduce funding to the 2000-01 level. If existing health centers have to cut their budgets nearly in half, they would have no choice but to institute immediate layoffs. Our analysis of this cut found this would result in the loss of more than 178,000 jobs. [Center For American Progress, 2/17/11]

The CR's Education Funding Cuts Could Lead To Tens Of Thousands Of Job Losses For Teachers And Educational Staff. According to the Associated Press: "Senate Democrats said Wednesday the House GOP plan would eliminate nearly $700 million in Title I grants to schools with disadvantaged students, and about '10,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs.' Congressional offices circulated White House budget office estimates saying the Republican bill would cut Head Start by more than $1 billion, leading to the layoffs of about 55,000 teachers and staff." [Associated Press, 2/17/11]

The CR Cuts Border Patrol Agent Jobs. According to FoxNews.com:

The committee's ranking member, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said there is "a very real threat that the funding for DHS operations" will "plunge to 2006 levels."

"Our efforts to address one of the nation's greatest threats, cyber attacks from rogue nations, terrorists and lone wolf activists, would be severely hampered," he said.

But King, Thompson and others expressed particular concern over cuts by both Republicans and DHS itself to efforts along the Southwest border.

"The picture it presents is potentially devastating to the department," Thompson said, adding that Customs and Border Protection alone would lose $3 billion, forcing more than 8,200 border patrol agents or 2,800 CBP officers to be let go. [FoxNews.com, 3/3/11, emphasis added]

Republicans Used Open Amendment Process To Push For Even Deeper Cuts

Several amendments to the continuing resolution cut funds from departments that were already planning budget cuts, putting additional jobs at risk. For example:

Flake Amendment Cuts Funds To Justice Department, General Adminstration, and National Drug Intelligence Center. From Thomas.gov:

H.AMDT.23 to H.R.1. An amendment numbered 368 printed in the Congressional Record to reduce funds to the Department of Justice, General Administration, National Drug Intelligence Center by $34,023,000.

Sponsor: Rep Flake, Jeff [AZ-6] (introduced 2/15/2011) [Thomas.gov, accessed 3/7/11]

Burton Amendment Cuts Funds To Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Management of Lands and Resources: From Thomas.gov:

H.AMDT.39 to H.R.1 An amendment numbered 30 printed in the Congressional Record to reduce funding for the "Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Management of Lands and Resources" by $2 million and apply the amount to the deficit reduction account.

Sponsor: Rep Burton, Dan [IN-5] (introduced 2/16/2011) [Thomas.gov, accessed 3/7/11]

"One-Term President": Republicans Know Jobs Are Key To 2012

The Economy Is An Extremely Important Factor In Presidential Elections

"Obama Has Reason To Worry" Because A "Factor In The Defeat Of Incumbents Is A Bad Economy." According to Julian E. Zelizer, Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University:

The second factor in the defeat of incumbents is a bad economy. Here Obama has reason to worry.

Both Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter governed in an era of stagflation. The nation suffered from unemployment and inflation at the same time (which economists had said was impossible). In Carter's case, the nation had also been shocked by a second oil embargo by OPEC in 1979.

When George H.W. Bush set off to run in 1992, a recession was making Americans worry about their finances and job security. In all three cases, their opponents were able to position themselves as candidates who would revive the economy. [CNN, 3/7/11]

Nate Silver: It Would Require 'Something Extraordinary' For Obama To Win Reelection In A Very Bad Economy. According to statistician Nate Silver: "It is hard to imagine Mr. Obama failing to be re-elected if the economy is humming along at a 5 percent growth rate by this time next year, and 600,000 jobs are being created every month. Likewise, if unemployment is still at 10 percent or if there is a second period of recession brought on by, for instance, the European debt crisis - something extraordinarily might have to occur for him to win a second term. [...] Mr. Obama, of course, will do better if the economy is performing better rather than worse. But exactly how well he will do - enough to win re-election and, if so, by a comfortable margin? - is not something the data can tell us right now." [New York Times, 11/22/10, emphasis added]

Nate Silver: Even With Strong GDP Growth, Sluggish Unemployment Could Mean "Bad News For Mr. Obama." According to statistician Nate Silver: "The state of the economy, undoubtedly, will be a huge part of the equation. The vast majority of economists expect it to continue to grow through 2012; the forecasts, in fact, have become slightly more optimistic over the past several weeks. The bad news for Mr. Obama is that the forecasts are more optimistic about G.D.P. growth than they are about unemployment: economists also expect the employment picture to improve, but at a sluggish pace, with the unemployment rate most likely being in the low 8 percentage point range at the time voters go to the polls in 2012. How voters might react to this situation - one in which the employment picture has improved, but is still rather poor in an absolute sense - is an open question, and one for which the historical evidence is of relatively little use." [New York Times, 12/27/10, emphasis added]

Republican Strategists Emphasize Importance Of Jobs

GOP Pollster Frank Luntz: Republicans Should Be "Talking About Jobs, Jobs, Jobs."  From a Fox News appearance by GOP pollster Frank Luntz on Hannity:

LUNTZ: Now, Sean. We tested a whole bunch of video that you're going to be seeing over the coming weeks and months. And I want to give Newt Gingrich credit because he talked about the debt commission and he said that the commission was the wrong commission on the wrong topic. They should have been talking about jobs, jobs, jobs, no taxes, less spending. Gingrich tested better than any -- how many of you thought Gingrich, regards of who you support, tested the best of all the people you've seeing? Gingrich was our winner tonight. And remember this was a Huckabee, Romney crowd behind me. [Fox News' Hannity via Real Clear Politics, 2/7/11]

GOP Strategist Karl Rove: Obama Has "Raised Expectations" For Recovery And Could Be In Trouble In 2012. From Your World with Neil Cavuto:

ROVE: Maybe. But, look, if we have 8 percent unemployment at the time of the 2012 presidential election, the president is going to be in trouble.

NEIL CAVUTO (HOST): Really?

ROVE: Because, look, that means that unemployment is going to be nowhere near where he said it would be today, if we had simply done what he said and passed the stimulus bill.

And 8 percent unemployment with this president, particularly when he has raised expectations so high -- remember, I mean, think about that. We are six million fewer people employed than the masterminds of this economic stimulus package told us where we would be at this point. So, I'm happy...

CAVUTO: What if companies start opening the spigot?

ROVE: Look, the economy is going to recover at some point. We know that. The question is...

CAVUTO: You just don't think it's going to be robust?

ROVE: Well, and how robust it's going to be. And, look, at the end of the day, where is the credit going to go?

I think a lot of people believe the American economy is strong enough to recover. But will they credit the stimulus bill? Will they credit the president's policies? Or will they think it's been in spite of the president's policies, not because of them? And I think there is a healthy skepticism out there about this president's approach. [Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto via Nexis, 1/7/11, emphasis added]

Over The Past Two Years, Republicans Have Used Slow Job Growth To Bludgeon Democrats

The GOP Used Health Care Talking Points Highlighting Inflated Job Loss Predictions. From the GOP's talking points on health care, via GOP.gov: "According to economic modeling by the president's own chief economic advisor, the business tax increases alone will destroy up to 5.5 million jobs." [GOP.gov, 9/8/09]

Republicans Dishonestly Used Jobs To Justify Health Care Repeal.  According to McClatchy:

Despite what Republicans say, the 2010 health care law isn't necessarily a job killer.

Republicans have titled their effort to overturn the law the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," and that's their favorite talking point against it. The House of Representatives will start debate on repeal Tuesday and probably vote Wednesday.

Saying that the law is a job killer doesn't necessarily make it one, however, and independent experts say that such a conclusion is at least premature, if not unfounded.

"The claim has no justification," said Micah Weinberg, a senior research fellow at the centrist New America Foundation's Health Policy Program.

Since the law contains dual mandates that most individuals must obtain health insurance coverage and most employers must offer it by 2014, "the effect on employment is probably zero or close to it," said Amitabh Chandra, a professor of public policy at Harvard University.

House Republicans defend their job-killer claim in a 19-page Jan. 6 report, "ObamaCare: A Budget-Busting, Job-Killing Health Care Law." But some of its points are out of date or omit offsetting information that would weaken the argument. [McClatchy, 1/17/11, emphasis added]

GOP Focused On Jobs In Creating Campaign Document. From The Hill:

House Republicans intend to make the economy and jobs a major part of the new Contract With America they hope to unveil in September. 

Republicans argue jobs will be a winning issue for them this fall, partly because they opposed a stimulus package that has enlarged the government and budget deficit while doing too little to stop a skyrocketing unemployment rate that now stands at 9.5 percent. 

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has been charged with putting together the section on jobs, which Republicans see as a unifying policy position for a conference that unanimously rejected President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus package last year.

Roskam said he'll be meeting with small-business owners and other job creators rather than economists to develop the economic plank of a new conference platform.

"There's a sense of clarity that jobs are something that we need to focus on, and who better to talk to than employers and small business[es] and job creators?" [The Hill, 7/7/10, emphasis added]

Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele: "The Top Job For The President And Congress Is Jobs." From a Politico op-ed by former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele: "What voters have been saying - to incumbents and challengers alike since early 2009 - is that the top job for the president and Congress is jobs. Voters want elected officials to focus, above all, on jobs and the economy. Regardless of their region, demographic or economic background, voters are looking to elect candidates who can bring our country back from nearly double-digit unemployment, record deficits and the most dramatic expansion of government in our history. Yet Democrats have spent the past two years pursuing a job-killing agenda that has resulted in millions of our citizens being thrown out of work." [Politico, 10/14/10, emphasis added]

Rep. Cantor: "They Want To See Us Focus On Jobs." From Politico: "'Tonight's election is about listening to the people and that was the message that's being sent across this land is they don't like this health care bill, and they want to see us focus on jobs, and there's just been no results that match the expectations of the people,' Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is poised to become House Majority Leader, told CBS News late Tuesday." [Politico, 11/3/10, emphasis added]

Rep. Mike Pence: Creating Jobs "Has To Be The First Priority And I Believe Will Be The First Priority If Republicans Are Given Another Opportunity To Lead." According to O. Kay Henderson, Rep. Pence said: "I also believe that it will be imperative that the new congress focus just as much energy on getting our economy moving again, making sure that in the city and on the farm, Americans have more of their own hard-earned resources to invest in ways that will create jobs, so putting our fiscal house in order, creating policies that will open the doors of opportunity to families during this difficult economy and create jobs has to be the first priority and I believe will be the first priority if Republicans are given another opportunity to lead." [OKHenderson.com, 9/30/10, emphasis added]

Speaker Of The House John Boehner: "When Are We Going To Focus On The Economy?" According to a press release by John Boehner: "When are we going to address the number one issue on the minds of our fellow citizens? When are we going to focus on the economy and getting people back to work, instead of all of the job-killing policies that we're seeing move through this Congress? When are we going to begin to listen once again to the American people who sent us here to do their work? Because the American people are asking 'where are the jobs?'" [JohnBoehner.House.gov, 3/25/10, emphasis added]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: "The American People Want Us To Put Aside The Left-Wing Wish List And Work Together On Helping To Create Jobs." From The New York Times: "The American people want us to put aside the left-wing wish list and work together on helping to create jobs and restore the economy to health and prosperity," he [McConnell] said. "There is no reason the two parties can't work together on achieving these goals. But whether or not the administration has a midcourse correction, Republicans have a plan for following through on the wishes of the American people." [New York Times, 11/4/10]

Senator Jon Kyl: "Job Growth Must Be The First Priority." From Senator Kyl's website: "The American people have been telling Washington that promoting job growth must be the first priority." [Kyl.Senate.Gov, 4/10/10]

Governor Haley Barbour: "Jobs Are The Biggest Issue In The Country." According to CBS News: "Barbour jumped on the bandwagon: '[I]t's interesting that the American people have been saying from the day Barack Obama got sworn in, 'Jobs are the biggest issue in the country, get our economy back going, it's the biggest issue for the country.' But for the last eight months, all I've heard about is the Democratic Party trying to ram health care down the country's throat.'" [CBSNews, 1/31/10]

Rove Op-Ed: "Democrats Are Being Held Accountable For [The Economy's] Poor Performance." From a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Republican Strategist Karl Rove: "Instead, they [the Democrats] will be killed at the polls. This election's top issue is the economy, and the Democrats are being held accountable for its poor performance. After all, the party controls the White House and Congress and passed all the spending and stimulus measures it could dream up." [Wall Street Journal, 10/7/10, emphasis added]

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