WASHINGTON — House Republicans routinely beat the drum about the hard work they have done in passing “more than 30 jobs bills” that are now before the Democrat-controlled Senate, going nowhere, as the economy gasps for air.
For almost a year, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have plugged their jobs package at every opportunity. They regularly bring it up at press events, during floor speeches and in statements in response to just about anything related to the economy. Boehner even carries aroundin his jacket pocket a 4-by-8-inch card that lists off their jobs bills, and he encourages his members to flash their cards at campaign events.
“President [Barack] Obama and Democrats here in Congress have shown us what doesn’t work: more government, more spending, more taxes don’t create more jobs,” Boehner said at a recent weekly briefing. “We’ve passed more than 30 jobs bills, including bipartisan bills expanding energy production and projects like the Keystone pipeline.”
Cantor plugged the jobs bills — and nudged Democrats to get on board with the Republican plan — in response to the June unemployment report. “House Republicans are committed to bold, pro-growth policies and have passed dozens of bills to create jobs,” he said in a statement. “We’ve begun to right the ship, but we will not be able to achieve long-term growth without willing partners in the White House and Senate.”
The GOP jobs package, which currently includes 32 bills, represents Republicans’ hallmark legislative accomplishment over the past two years. In the months ahead of the election, they will lean on it as proof of two things: that they are not the do-nothing obstructionists that Democrats paint them as, and that they are working hard to address the 8.2 percent unemployment rate.
But there’s a problem with their jobs bills: They don’t create jobs. At least, they won’t any time soon.
In interviews conducted by The Huffington Post with five economists, most said the GOP jobs package would have no meaningful impact on job creation in the near term. Some said it was not likely to do much in the long term, either.
At the heart of the GOP jobs package is a push for rolling back regulations — and gutting environmental laws that regulate clean air and water — to spur job growth. The House Republican Conference website makes the argument that deregulation will “remove onerous federal regulations that are redundant, harmful to small businesses, and impede private sector investment and job creation.”
But economists told The Huffington Post that regulation has had a minimal impact on the unemployment rate. Their claim is backed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that just under 16,000 jobs, or 0.4 percent, were lost because of “government regulations/intervention.”
For all their complaints about Senate inaction, Boehner and Cantor regularly fail to point out that the Senate has, in fact, passed nearly a dozen of Republicans’ so-called jobs bills in the last two years. Eleven have already become law, and another one has passed the Senate but hasn’t been signed into law yet.