Extending the emergency unemployment program won't help out-of-work people find jobs; that will come only by "getting Washington out of the way" and tackling a "terrible tax code" and Obamacare, Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady said Tuesday.
The chairman of the Joint Economic Committee and senior member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview that the United States is still struggling through "the weakest recovery in more than half a century."
Yet, as the Senate advanced legislation
Tuesday to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, Brady noted that the bill "doesn't get them back to work."
"Republicans have a game plan that says, 'Look, let's get the economy going by getting Washington out of the way,'" he said. "Both this terrible tax code we have, just the tsunami of red tape on our local businesses, [and] the president's healthcare law . . . is what our local job creators are telling all of us is the problem."
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Brady said he was "a little frustrated" that President Barack Obama knew for "more than two years that unemployment emergency benefits would expire," yet "didn't raise a peep about it until now because of politics," calling the strategy "more political than anything."
"And the truth is, if you're really worried about these folks, and we all are, we ought to focus on getting back into jobs . . . That's what's being lost in this debate," he said.
Brady said the nation's unemployment rate has come down to 7 percent, "and so, the emergency is really over" — thus the emergency unemployment program should be ended as well.
"The focus ought to be not on extending the emergency program, but actually passing some of the jobs bills," he said. "The House has passed 150 of them, including approving the Keystone XL Pipeline that will add tens of thousands of new jobs. The time for regular unemployment is set to begin. We should go back to the traditional unemployment weeks and ought to shift our focus to job creation."
Janet Yellen, confirmed by the Senate on Monday to lead the Federal Reserve, will be inheriting "a real kind of uncertainty," Brady said.
"The markets have been really roiling globally now for the last year trying to figure out which way the Fed's going to go," he said. "They started a small tapering of their easy money . . . [and] I'm hopeful they continue the tapering."
But he said "a real big question for her is what direction does she take it?" He added that a key issue is how long the Fed will continue "this near-zero interest rate policy." He said continuing it for years more "creates real risks in the marketplace."
Brady described Yellen as "a dove" who "believes the Fed can play a role in unemployment, and the truth of the matter is monetary policy really can't do that very well."
"What it's set up to do is protect the value of the dollar over time and protect against inflation or deflation," Brady explained. "The fact that they're pursuing two mandates, which are often contrary to each other, that she's going to actually spend more time in this easy-money approach trying to create some type of federal stimulus for unemployment. . . is creating uncertainty in the job market."
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