Some congressional Republicans fear that President Barack Obama is stealing their thunder on how to address the jobs issue. But GOP members of Congress are split regarding exactly what policies the party should advocate to shrink the 9 percent unemployment rate, Politico
Some Republicans are upset with the House leadership’s strategy of focusing on the job bills passed in the House but ignored in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“Fifteen bills coming from the House that no one ever heard of, including me, is probably not the best marketing plan,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who prefers a single Republican bill.
A senior GOP House member agrees. “This president has proposed a budget that puts us into bankruptcy, yet we’re talking about a dozen to two dozen orphan bills that the Senate won’t pass,” the representative told Politico.
But some defend the House leaders’ strategy, noting that recent polls show Republicans nearly even with Obama when it comes to jobs. And they point out that the president has dismal approval ratings in the 30s for his handling of the economy.
Much of the divisions now focus on whether Congress should pass an extension of the payroll tax credit and extended unemployment benefits before year-end, and if so, how to pay for them.
Some Republicans have questioned their effectiveness. Freshman Illinois Rep. Randy Hultgren told Politico the programs aren’t “creating a lot of jobs.”
When it comes to unemployment insurance, Congress “ought to concentrate on paying people to work, not paying people not to work,” Texas Rep. Ted Poe told Politico.
Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown does support the payroll tax cut. And he doesn’t see the necessity of finding offsetting spending cuts to pay for it, especially given the fact that there are no offsets being proposed to pay for extending the Bush era tax cuts.
“We have to stop playing games and start solving problems,” Brown told Politico. “It wasn’t paid for before, so why is it paid for now? Through economic activity, it will pay for itself.”
Republican leaders are searching for a middle ground. “We’re trying to show some flexibility and good faith, so that voters will see that we’re not being intransigent, but that we’re trying to offer good ideas and come up with solutions,” Texas Sen. John Cornyn, told Politico, referring specifically to the GOP’s willingness to consider tax increases.
Many GOP members say the party must work harder to project a unified message of how it wants to attack joblessness.
“I think the Republicans do need to do a better job,” Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar told Politico. “It’s not really clear that either party has been very successful in meeting what is clearly the No. 1 issue that the public expresses.”
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