Hoyer Press Staff Blog

Blog posts from the press staff of Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer

October 6, 2011

Mitch McConnell must be feeling a little embarrassed: despite his claim last night that the currency manipulation bill was “not going anywhere,” today twelve GOP Senators bucked their leadership and voted to advance the bill.

A key component of the Democrats’ Make It In America jobs agenda, this legislation would help lower our trade deficit by leveling the playing field and help get more Americans back to work.

Maybe that’s why a similar measure passed last year in the House with 348 votes, including 99 Republicans.

Or that this year’s version has over 218 sponsors in the House and conservatives like Lindsey Graham support the idea in the Senate.

Now that the Senate has agreed to take up this bill and given the majority support for the measure in the House, it is time for House Republican leaders to take it up and give American workers the chance to succeed.

October 6, 2011

As Republicans continue to ignore jobs and instead waste time on partisan bills that don't create jobs, a recent Washington Post–ABC News poll shows the majority of Americans support the American Jobs Act and trust the President more than Republicans to get Americans back to work:

  • 52 percent of Americans support the American Jobs Act compared to 36 percent who oppose the bill.
  • 58 percent of Americans believe the American Jobs Act will improve the jobs situation, including 52 percent of independents.
  • And more Americans trust President Obama over House Republicans to do a better job creating jobs - 49 percent compared to 34 percent.

There’s no reason why Republicans shouldn’t take action on the American Jobs Act – it’s fully paid for, includes bipartisan ideas, and will help put more Americans back to work now. It’s time for Republicans to abandon their partisan agenda, listen to the American people and work with us to create jobs and grow the economy.

October 4, 2011

Despite House GOP claims that deregulation will help job creation, there’s little evidence that rolling back clean air and water protections will help put more Americans back to work. Just ask former Reagan economic advisor Bruce Bartlett:

“Republicans have a problem. People are increasingly concerned about unemployment, but Republicans have nothing to offer them.”

“Evidence supporting Mr. Cantor’s contention that deregulation would increase unemployment is very weak… As one can see, the number of layoffs nationwide caused by government regulation is minuscule and shows no evidence of getting worse during the Obama administration.”

“McClatchy Newspapers canvassed small businesses, asking them if regulation was a big problem. It could find no evidence that this was the case.”

“‘None of the business owners complained about regulation in their particular industries, and most seemed to welcome it,’ McClatchy reported.”

“Academic research has also failed to find evidence that regulation is a significant factor in unemployment.”

While there’s no evidence that Republicans’ partisan agenda will help put more Americans back to work, economists have said the American Jobs Act will grow the economy and create jobs:

Goldman Sachs predicted the American Jobs Act would increase GDP by 1.5 percent in 2012.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimated the bill would add 1.9 million jobs next year, and decrease unemployment by a full percentage point.

And Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC said the bill would boost U.S. gross domestic product by 1.3 percent in 2012, giving “a significant boost to GDP and employment over the near term.”

September 28, 2011

Economists are weighing in on the American Jobs Act, and they agree that President Obama’s plan will grow the economy and create jobs:

From Bloomberg:

“President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan would help avoid a return to recession by maintaining growth and pushing down the unemployment rate next year, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.”

“The legislation, submitted to Congress this month, would increase gross domestic product by 0.6 percent next year and add or keep 275,000 workers on payrolls, the median estimates in the survey of 34 economists showed. The program would also lower the jobless rate by 0.2 percentage point in 2012, economists said.”

“The plan ‘prevents a contraction of the economy in the first quarter’ of next year, said John Herrmann, a senior fixed-income strategist at State Street Global Markets LLC in Boston, who participated in the survey.”

“Some 13,000 jobs would be created in 2013, bringing the total to 288,000 over two years, according to the survey. Employers in the U.S. added 1.26 million workers in the past 12 months, Labor Department data show.”

But we weren’t able to find these economists’ estimates for how the Republican jobs plan would boost the economy – probably because Republicans still don’t have a comprehensive jobs plan.

The American Jobs Act is fully paid for, incorporates bipartisan ideas, will create jobs and grow our economy now. There’s no reason why Republicans shouldn’t take action on this bill, and since they don’t have a jobs plan of their own, we hope they’ll abandon their partisan agenda and work with us to help put more Americans back to work.

September 27, 2011

What Democrats Were Doing To Support Job Creation Last Year:

A year ago today, President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act into law, expanding much needed lending to millions of small businesses and offering tax incentives to help small businesses grow, hire, and fuel our economy, without adding a dime to the deficit.

What Republicans Are Doing To Support Job Creation This Year:

Still nothing. After nine months in the majority, Republicans still don’t have a comprehensive jobs plan and have taken little action on jobs.

Meanwhile, the Small Business Lending Fund created by the Small Business Jobs Act has provided 191 community banks across the country funding to increase lending to small businesses so they can expand, create jobs and ensure more families can make it in America. And Democrats remain focused on the Make It in America plan. We hope Republicans will abandon their partisan agenda, and work with us on our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and ensure more families can succeed.

September 27, 2011

Yet another poll shows Americans side with President Obama on deficit reduction. According to a new poll by the Pew Research Center, 67% of Americans support President Obama’s balanced deficit reduction plan that asks all Americans to pay their fair share, and 62% say they have “little or no confidence” in Republican leaders when it comes to dealing with the deficit.

Poll after poll shows Americans favor Democrats’ approach to deficit reduction. It’s time for Republicans to listen to the American people and work with us on a balanced plan to reduce the deficit, create jobs, strengthen our entitlements and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.

September 23, 2011

From the it-speaks-for-itself file, we here in the Democratic Whip Press Shop wanted to pass along this article from the Hill on the GOP circulating a false list of supporters for their misguided TRAIN bill that would undermine our clean air protections.

Key Point: “The list includes a number of groups that have strongly opposed the bill, including the Texas chapter of Public Citizen, Clean Air Watch, the Clean Air Task Force and Clean Water Action.

“’Depending on how charitably you’re feeling about the people who put the list together, it’s either a lie or a mistake,’ Clean Water Action spokesman Jonathan Scott told The Hill.”

The Hill: GOP wrongly claims greens' support for EPA delay bill

By Andrew Restuccia and Ben Geman - 09/22/11 07:45 PM ET

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's GOP leadership inaccurately claimed Thursday that a number of green groups support legislation to delay – perhaps indefinitely – a pair of Environmental Protection Agency power plant pollution regulations.

On Thursday evening Republican committee staff circulated a list of more than 100 groups that “have sent letters to Congress supporting passage” of the legislation, known as the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act.

The list includes a number of groups that have strongly opposed the bill, including the Texas chapter of Public Citizen, Clean Air Watch, the Clean Air Task Force and Clean Water Action.

“Depending on how charitably you’re feeling about the people who put the list together, it’s either a lie or a mistake,” Clean Water Action spokesman Jonathan Scott told The Hill.

Committee Republicans sent a news release acknowledging the error.
"An earlier list included some groups that had not sent in letters of support," it read. "We regret this error and welcome additional support of H.R. 2401."

Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell was shocked when told by The Hill Thursday that his organization was on the list.

“Clean Air Watch unequivocally does not support that legislation. Any inference to the contrary is an obvious error,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said. “Is Lady Gaga on there too?”

O’Donnell’s group is one of the most outspoken critics of Republicans’ push to delay and block various EPA regulations.

“It’s the dirtiest of dirty air acts,” O’Donnell said, referring to the TRAIN Act.

Tom Smith, director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, was equally perplexed.

“I don’t think we support the TRAIN Act. In fact we oppose it,” he said when reached by phone Thursday night.

Stuart Ross, the communications director of the Clean Air Task Force, said his group does not support the bill. Ross said he would seek a retraction and an apology from Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) office.
“There is no way we would sign a letter in support of the TRAIN Act,” he told The Hill. “The TRAIN Act is one of the most aggressive and toxic bills ever introduced on the floor of the House from an environmental and public health standpoint.”

The list correctly includes a large number of groups that support the TRAIN Act, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Petroleum Institute.
The TRAIN Act, which is currently being debated on the House floor, would mandate new interagency economic studies of EPA rules and delay a pair of major power plant pollution rules.

The bill would delay a recently finalized rule to cut interstate power plant emissions that worsen ozone and particulate pollution, and an upcoming rule to cut mercury and other air toxics from power plants.

A key Republican is floating an amendment that would mandate longer minimum delays to the power plant rules than the underlying bill requires. It would also make other changes that the bill's Democratic critics say would badly weaken EPA's ability to cut air toxics.

Republicans and some moderate Democrats say EPA regulations will impose massive burdens on the economy and cost thousands of jobs.

A final vote on the bill is expected as soon as Friday. It is expected to easily pass the House, but it is unlikely to pass the Senate.

This post was updated at 8:10 p.m.

September 23, 2011

Now, that Republicans have passed a partisan CR that’s dead on arrival in the Senate, they’re ready to head home before our work is done. We need to work on a bipartisan bill to fund the government and provide aid to those affected by recent disasters. But apparently, Republicans are content heading home and putting both jobs and disaster aid at risk.

Over at the Washington Post, Ezra Klein had a good take on Republicans’ “my way or the highway” approach:

“In his September 15th speech to the Economic Club of Washington, DC, Speaker John Boehner was very eloquent on the need for a new spirit of compromise in politics. ‘If we want to create a better environment for job creation, politicians of all stripes can leave the ‘my way or the highway’ philosophy behind,’ he said.”

“It turns out, though, that he didn't mean to totally leave it behind. He meant to tweak it slightly. ‘My way or the highway’ might be out, but ‘my way because I'm on the highway’ is in.”

“Earlier this week, House Republicans failed to pass legislation that would continue to fund the federal government. Last night, after some cosmetic changes and a stern talking to by the leadership, the bill squeaked through the chamber. But there are still major differences, particularly in disaster-relief funding, between what House Republicans passed and what Senate Democrats. Normally, this would kick off negotiations. But not this time, says Boehner. This time, House Republicans are leaving town for a scheduled recess, so it's either this bill, or the government's lights go off. “

“In legislative parlance, this is called ‘jamming.’ You hand the other chamber a must-pass bill and you walk from the table. In this case, failure to pass a bill before September 30th would mean a government shutdown, and Boehner has said his chamber is not reconvening until October 3rd.”

“It remains to be seen whether Senate Democrats will actually get jammed. They have been pretty clear on their opposition to this bill, and Republicans might find it hard to explain that the government had to shut down because they refused to return to work and negotiate a resolution. But either way, it's hardly a new spirit of job-creating compromise reigning over Capitol Hill.”

September 22, 2011

Unfortunately for Rep. Dreier, his comments on the Floor during the Rule debate that just ended were still wrong about Mr. Hoyer’s position on the CR that failed yesterday. To help him out, here are some quotes from colloquy and from pen and pad that clearly show that Mr. Hoyer was never supportive of the CR.

Colloquy, Thursday, September 15:

“Frankly, on our side we would hope that we could return to what is precedent and that is in an emergency respond with emergency funding as we did throughout the Bush Administration.”

“The fact of the matter is if you target this particular fund, you are targeting a fund which, as demonstrably, grown jobs in America. some 39,000 jobs have been created as a result of loans out of this fund…. There are pending requests, again, which would result in 50,000 to 60,000 new jobs…. So in fact it appears that we may be cutting off our nose to spite our face here.”

“I would urge us to make sure that we do not target a fund which has already demonstrably created jobs.”

“I don't think it's good policy for us to be focused on cutting back on those areas which have the promise of growth and jobs.”

Pen and Pad, Tuesday, September 20:

“I don't know if you listened to the colloquy on Thursday, but I made it very clear that we believe that the Republicans' $1.5 billion cut in the advanced manufacturing technology initiative is counterproductive to growth in jobs and to the growth in the economy. We think they make a mistake. I pointed out eight times under George Bush, we responded to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, other disasters, fires, and we did so by emergency funding. The Republicans supported President Bush's request for that. We think they ought to support President Obama's request for that. As you know, the Senate voted by substantial numbers to do that in previous funding, without offsets.

“My presumption is they will offer a CR which has that offset in it, and Democrats will be loathe to support that effort because we think it is counterproductive.”

And for good measure, here’s the Washington Post from Tuesday:

“In his exchange with Cantor last Thursday on the House floor, however, Hoyer raised the issue of the funding resolution but did not explicitly say that he would vote in favor of it: he criticized the move by House Republicans to offset the disaster relief funding with cuts to the advanced vehicle technology program as “undermining a specific item in the current scheme of things that is in fact creating jobs.”

September 22, 2011

The GOP out-of-touch quote of the day goes to Rep. Jeff Flake:

Representative Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who opposed the measure, complained the figure was $24 billion more than the party agreed to spend when it passed a 2012 budget in April.

“Why in the world would we add $24 billion?” Flake asked. “It’s a disaster.”

Exactly, Mr. Flake. There was a disaster.

September 21, 2011

Add House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to the growing list of Republicans who have compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme.

As the Huffington Post reports:

Speaking on conservative radio on Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) agreed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme."

When asked by host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday whether the country's social insurance program is a Ponzi scheme, Ryan replied, "That is how those schemes work."

Ryan’s comments come on the heels of similar comparisons from Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Jeb Hensarling.

The fact checkers have declared this claim unequivocally “false,” yet Republicans continue to make it, once again putting ideology ahead of the needs of the millions of seniors who depend on the program.
 

September 21, 2011

Bad news for House Republicans: a new Gallup poll shows Americans favor President Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit, create jobs, strengthen our entitlements and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.

From the poll:

Americans support Obama’s plan to pay for the American Jobs Act:

  • 70% of Americans support increasing taxes on some corporations by eliminating certain tax deductions
  • 66% support increasing income taxes on individuals earning at least $200,000 and families earning at least $250,000

Americans support the component pieces of the Americans Jobs Act:

  • 85% support providing tax cuts for small businesses, including incentives to hire workers
  • 75% support providing additional funds to hire teachers, police officer and firefighters
  • 73% support giving tax breaks to companies hiring people who have been unemployed for more than six months 
  • 72% support providing additional funds to modernize more than 30,000 schools 
  • 56% support extending unemployment insurance

Americans think the American Jobs Act will help:

  • 65% think it will help a lot or a little to create jobs
  • 60% think it will help a lot or a little to improve the economy

We hope Republicans will listen to the American people and abandon their ideological agenda so that we can reduce the deficit in a balanced way, grow our economy and help put more Americans back to work.

September 20, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this editorial in today’s New York Times on President Obama’s plan to reduce the deficit, create jobs, strengthen entitlements and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.

Key excerpts:

“This time, [President Obama] issued an unabashed call for economic fairness in cutting the federal deficit, asking as much from those on the economy’s upper rungs as from those lower down whose programs may be trimmed.”

It pays for the desperately needed jobs plan he sent to Congress last week without more mindless hacking at government programs, and would be a much better alternative to the $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts that loom if Congress does not pass a debt plan this year.”

Republicans will, of course, mount obdurate opposition in Congress, since they have no intention of allowing the government to ask anything from the wealthy and corporations. Even before the plan was announced, the party’s leaders had rolled out their rusted artillery, calling an increase in taxes on high earners ‘class warfare’ and insisting that it would fatally wound ‘job creators.’ (In fact, less than 2 percent of the nation’s small businesses would be affected by the tax increases.)”

“…the president did not let that predictable line of argument stop him, and even had a good rejoinder: ‘This is not class warfare. It’s math. The money is going to have to come from someplace.’ It could come from the middle class, from the elderly and the poor, by asking them to give up benefits from programs like Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps — as many Republicans are advocating. It could come by pulling money from road building, schools, food inspection and other vital government services. Those are unacceptable choices, he said, particularly if the rich give up nothing…”

September 19, 2011
Republicans are already claiming the President’s deficit reduction plan is the largest tax increase in history. But unfortunately for them, the facts don’t back them up. Drawing straight from their source, here are the facts:   
  • The Treasury Department working paper they’ve referenced compares the first four years of tax changes.
  • They are using “inflation adjusted dollars,” which is an incorrect measure. Our economy is more than twice the size it was in the mid 1980s in inflation adjusted dollars.  That means an identical tax change would be twice as large today in inflation adjusted dollars as in 1985. The correct measure should be “as a percentage of GDP,” as the working paper itself suggests:
    • “The single best measure for most purposes is probably the revenue effect as a percentage of GDP, because it eliminates the effects of inflation, real economic growth, and the size of total federal receipts.”
  • Conveniently, the Treasury Department working paper they’ve referenced does measure tax changes as a percentage of GDP. By this single best measure, the largest tax increase in modern history was under their conservative hero, President Ronald Reagan, in 1982, and was 25% larger than President Obama’s proposal.
It’s time for Republicans to get serious about creating jobs and reducing the deficit. Rather than protecting tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, we hope Republicans will work with us on the President’s balanced plan to create jobs, reduce the deficit and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.
September 16, 2011

Wanted to make sure you all saw the Washington Post's Fact-Checker on John Boehner's "misfire" on federal regulations. Turns out Boehner's claims on federal regulations contained "significant factual errors."

Judge for yourself, here.

September 12, 2011

Before House Republicans start dismissing the American Jobs Act, we hope they’ll check their math:

“Cantor said he was concerned that more than half of Obama’s proposal package ‘is so-called stimulus spending’ akin to the 2009 stimulus law that didn’t produce a sustained recovery from the recession. ‘We’ve been there, done that,’ Cantor told reporters today. ‘The country cannot afford more spending like a stimulus bill.’”

Here are the facts:

According to OMB, $253 billion of the American Jobs Act is tax cuts, while $194 billion of the plan is on the spending side.

Rather than play partisan games, it’s time for House Republicans to get serious on jobs and work with Democrats to take action on the American Jobs Act, a paid-for proposal that includes bipartisan ideas to create jobs and grow our economy.

September 12, 2011

We here in the Democratic Whip Press shop thought we’d pass along a few questions you may want to ask Leader Cantor at tomorrow’s American Action Forum jobs summit:

1. If Republicans are focused on jobs, why haven’t you put forward a jobs plan after nine months in the majority?
2. Since you don’t have a jobs plan, will you take action quickly on the American Jobs Act?
3. In the past you’ve supported several ideas included in the American Jobs Act, will you support them now?

The American Jobs Act creates jobs, will be fully paid for and includes ideas that both Democrats and Republicans support. We hope Republicans will abandon their partisan agenda and work with us to act quickly on Americans’ top priorities: creating jobs and strengthening our economy.

September 12, 2011

Our nominee for illogical quote of the day goes to Rep. Pete Sessions:

“To assume that we’re naturally for these things because we’ve been for them does not mean we will be for them if they cause debt, if they [have] tax increases and if they take money from the free-enterprise sector, which creates jobs.”

Democrats see no reason why House Republicans wouldn’t quickly take action on the American Jobs Act:

1. It creates jobs.
2. It’s fully paid for.
3. And, as Rep. Sessions admits, it’s based on ideas that Republicans have supported in the past.

September 12, 2011

Today, the President will send the American Jobs Act to Congress and we hope Republicans will work with us to quickly take action on this plan to create jobs and grow the economy.

With no jobs plan of their own and frustrated constituents back home, Republicans claim creating jobs and growing the economy are top priorities:

“Republicans have refocused their agenda after what amounted to a six-month political brawl over federal spending. They insist that they never lost sight of the second half of their ‘cut-and-grow’ agenda… But the push to slash spending in the 2011 budget battle and the debt-limit fight dominated the conversation in Washington.”

“‘I think that pretty much sucked all the oxygen out of every other debate,’ Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.) said. ‘We have to multi-task and do both, and that is obviously address our spending problem and at the same time empower the private sector to create and to grow jobs.’”

“Still, when Republicans returned to their districts after the bruising debt-limit battle and the S&P downgrade of America’s credit rating, they found constituents angry at Congress and fearful of the faltering economy. ‘Frankly, I heard that they have lost a lot of confidence in Washington,’ Cantor said. ‘While they are going through such tough times, they are sick of the rancor in this town.’”

But rather than work with Democrats on the American Jobs Act, which includes proposals that Republicans have supported in the past, they are already expressing concerns about working with Democrats to create jobs and seem more focused on partisan politics than helping put more Americans back to work:

“House Republicans may pass bits and pieces of President Barack Obama’s jobs plan, but behind the scenes, some Republicans are becoming worried about giving Obama any victories — even on issues the GOP has supported in the past.”

And despite public declarations about finding common ground with Obama, some Republicans are privately grumbling that their leaders are being too accommodating with the president.”

“‘Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?’ said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely.”

September 8, 2011

To: Interested Parties
From: Democratic Whip Press Office
Re: President Obama’s Jobs Speech & The Make It In America Plan

The American people sent a clear message over the August recess: They want us to do more to create jobs. Tonight, President Obama will outline his plan to create jobs now and improve our economy. As you listen to the speech, we expect you will hear a lot of overlap with the Democrats’ Make It In America plan to rebuild American manufacturing, create well-paying jobs and put people back to work. President Obama’s plans to help small businesses and middle class workers are ideas at the core of Make It In America plan.

We also anticipate President Obama will urge Congress to set aside our differences and work together to help more hard-working Americans. The Make It In America plan contains many bipartisan ideas—such as the research and development tax credit and corporate tax reform---that have previously been supported by both parties.

We also expect President Obama to discuss the need to put people back to work by improving America’s infrastructure, an idea central to our Make It In America plan and a goal embraced by both labor and business groups. Now is the time to invest in future economic growth by upgrading our nation’s bridges, roads, and runways and create jobs.

Just this week, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor agreed, stating in a letter to President Obama: “We are not opposed to initiatives to repair and improve infrastructure.” If Republican leaders are serious about improving our infrastructure, they can start by passing clean extensions of the FAA and Highway Bills and not jeopardize billions of dollars in highway funding and nearly one million jobs.

While tonight we pause to hear the president’s jobs plan, tomorrow it will be time to get back to the work of getting more people back to work. We can start by passing the following common-sense legislation:

  • Legislation to hold accountable countries that unfairly manipulate their currency (a similar bill passed with 348 votes last Congress).
  • The creation of a National Manufacturing Strategy so America can have a comprehensive roadmap, like many of our competitors do, for how we will strengthen our manufacturing sector and create more jobs.
  • The creation of an infrastructure bank to facilitate efficient investments in and financing of infrastructure projects.

But our work won’t stop there. Business and labor leaders alike support Democrats’ Make It In America plan—because Making It In America is central to the future of our competitiveness and to getting more Americans back to work.

September 8, 2011

Further evidence that Make It In America can be a bipartisan plan to create jobs: we wanted to make sure you all saw that the two Make It In America amendments to the Charter Schools bill passed the House today by voice vote. (Here’s Mr. Hoyer’s Floor remarks in case you missed them.)

The two amendments:

- Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA): Would add to the purpose section of H.R. 2218 the importance of innovation in public education to prepare students to compete in the global economy.

(Rep. Kline (R-MN) gave his support for the amendment: “This amendment is entirely consistent with the underlying purpose of the charter school movement. It improves the bill. I support the amendment.”)

- Rep. Luján (D-NM): Would add to the requirement that applicants include in their application a description of how a charter school program would share best and promising practices between charter schools and other public schools, by including in that description how they would share best practices in instruction and professional development in technology, engineering, and math education where appropriate.

(Rep. Kline supported this one too: “It's recognized that there's a growing… gap we need to fill in STEM education…. This is helpful to the bill and I encourage my colleagues to support it.”)

Even Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) expressed his support for Make It In America amendments after Mr. Hoyer spoke on the Floor, saying: “I like your idea, I may very well join you in some of those amendments.”

September 8, 2011

We here in the Democratic Whip Press Shop will leave the political analysis of last night’s Republican debate to the pundits, but a few comments from the current Governor of Texas certainly stood out.

Rick Perry made waves when he reiterated his belief that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” and a “monstrous lie.”

And one look at the record shows that Perry will find a warm reception for his comments among many congressional Republicans, who have tried for years to fundamentally change the program. Just this past June, House Republicans introduced a measure to privatize the program, potentially turning over Americans’ retirement security to the whims of the stock market.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid: “Let’s remember again the main drivers of this national debt are three large entitlement programs, programs that have been of great comfort and assistance to my parents and grandparents but they’re morphing into cruel ponzi schemes for my 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-olds.” [4.16.11]

Sen. John McCain on Social Security: “It’s a Ponzi scheme that Bernie Madoff would be proud of.” [2.22.11]

Democrats are committed to preserving and protecting this bedrock program and welcome a debate on the merits of its very existence.

In fact, the non-partisan Poltifact.com has declared Perry’s statement unequivocally “False.”

Will Republicans get the message? Or will they continue to scheme for ways to fundamentally alter Social Security for future generations?

September 8, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this quote from Leader Cantor’s pen and pad briefing yesterday:

“‘The focus now is jobs,’ said Representative Eric Cantor, the Virginia Republican and House majority leader, in a meeting with reporters Wednesday. He added, ‘The past eight months we’ve been all about cuts.’”

And this article in The Hill:

“House Republicans are shifting their policy focus for the fall as the GOP increasingly risks sharing the blame with President Obama for the weakening economy.”

“Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) acknowledged Wednesday that the GOP had a singular focus on slashing government spending in the first eight months of its majority in the chamber, perhaps at the expense of the ‘grow’ part of their so-called ‘cut and grow’ strategy.”

When Republicans took the House majority, they said job creation would be their top priority. But nine months later, they still don’t have a jobs plan and they have taken no meaningful action on jobs. At least, they’ve finally admitted it.

September 6, 2011

As the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction begins meeting this week, Democrats are pushing for a balanced plan that doesn't balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and seniors and ensures the wealthy and corporations pay a fair share of deficit reduction. And according to a WSJ/NBC poll released today, the American public agrees with this approach.

Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • 60 percent of Americans support a plan to reduce the deficit by ending the Bush tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or more per year.
  • 56 percent support a plan that reduces the deficit through a combination of tax increases and spending cuts.
  • And only 37 percent support a plan that reduces the deficit by only cutting spending while preserving tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

We hope Republicans will listen to the American people and work with Democrats on a balanced plan to bring down our deficit, strengthen the solvency of our entitlements, support job creation, and protect the middle class and seniors.

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