Obama’s Job Bill Is Dead – Cantor

That the jobs bill is dead is not a surprise, but given the national unemployment crisis we face the lack of will and urgency in Congress to do anything about it ought to add fuel to whatever fire recent protests have ignited. We need to do something to help the unemployed now, not tomorrow — more should have been done already — and the action needs to be bold and aggressive. Don’t these people have any sense what it’s like to look for a job for months and months and not be able to find one while every bit of hard-earned savings and then some withers away (if there’s any savings to begin with given the stagnation in wages in recent decades)? Do they understand what the unemployed face in their day to day lives? Where’s the compassionate conservatism we heard so much about? Do Republicans really think that trade agreements and tax cuts for government contractors — while opposing a payroll tax cut — is going to provide the help that is needed? And what’s wrong with the centrist Democrats who are voting against Obama’s plan? Whose interests are they protecting? It sure isn’t the jobless. Like I said, this isn’t unexpected, but (obviously) it still irks me to see it play out in this way:

Cantor: Obama’s Job Bill Is Dead in Congress, by Janet Hook and Carol E. Lee, Washington Wire: President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill was declared dead in Congress Monday, as Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) said he did not expect the House to take it up as a package.

Mr. Cantor announced the House would consider elements of Mr. Obama’s jobs agenda in the coming month, including trade agreements … and a tax break for government contractors. But asked if the president’s jobs bill as a whole is dead, Mr. Cantor replied, “Yes.”

“The president continues to say, ‘Pass my bill in its entirety,’” Mr. Cantor said in a press briefing. “As I’ve said from the outset, the all-or-nothing approach is just unacceptable.”…

Mr. Obama … has been flying around the country holding up a copy of his jobs bill and insisting that the House and Senate pass it “right away.”Earlier on Monday, Mr. Obama said he wants Congress to schedule a vote this month and will “be insisting that we have a vote on this bill” in upcoming discussions with House and Senate leaders.

The Republican-led House isn’t Mr. Obama’s only obstacle. In the Senate,… top Democrats concede they would not have the votes within their own party ranks to pass the bill. Some conservative Democrats say the bill calls for spending too much. Oil state Democrats oppose proposed tax increases on oil and gas companies. …

Although some Republicans have indicated they are willing to go along with Mr. Obama’s payroll tax extension, that was not among the elements of the bill that Mr. Cantor said would be brought to the House floor. …

Officials said the White House’s goal over the next few months is to get elements of Mr. Obama’s jobs bill passed, and in the process work to isolate Republicans as obstructionist in the event that doesn’t happen.

Noting that Democrats have criticized elements of the president’s jobs bill, Mr. Cantor said, “The president’s got some whipping to do on his own side.” …

The administration ought to be able to make Republicans pay for their obstructionism if they have any political skill at all, but their past history leads to doubts that they can. This is a big part of the problem.

About Mark Thoma 243 Articles

Affiliation: University of Oregon

Mark Thoma is a member of the Economics Department at the University of Oregon. He joined the UO faculty in 1987 and served as head of the Economics Department for five years. His research examines the effects that changes in monetary policy have on inflation, output, unemployment, interest rates and other macroeconomic variables with a focus on asymmetries in the response of these variables to policy changes, and on changes in the relationship between policy and the economy over time. He has also conducted research in other areas such as the relationship between the political party in power, and macroeconomic outcomes and using macroeconomic tools to predict transportation flows. He received his doctorate from Washington State University.

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