Hoyer Press Staff Blog

Blog posts from the press staff of Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer

November 8, 2011

As Republicans continue their streak of doing pretty much nothing at all, President Obama made another announcement today about action he can take without relying on Republicans to actually do something. Today’s announcement was on Head Start and early childhood education (which as you all know Whip Hoyer has been an advocate of for years). To ensure greater accountability in the program, the rule would require low-performing Head Start centers to reapply and compete for their federal funding, which will help improve access to high-quality early childhood education. This new rule stems from a policy that was included in the Improving Head Start Act of 2007 – legislation enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support, we’d note.

Educators and the business community know that the early years are vitally important to ensuring school readiness and greater success as students progress throughout their school years. And we agree. That’s why President Obama and Congressional Democrats are committed to making a real difference for America’s families by improving the quality of Head Start programs.

From the Associated Press:

“President Barack Obama chided congressional Republicans Tuesday for ‘trying to gut our investments in education,’ and announced new steps to tackle early childhood education that won't require legislation.”

“…Obama said boosting the nation's education system at all levels is an economic imperative because it puts young people on the path toward obtaining good jobs later in life.”

“The president said his administration has been able to work on education reform with mayors and governors in both parties. But congressional Republicans, he said, have stood in the way of his efforts to revamp the No Child Left Behind law and blocked a proposal in the president's job bill that the White House said would have kept 400,000 teachers in the classroom.”

“Under the new rules Obama announced on Tuesday, lower-performing Head Start programs that fail to meet a new set of benchmarks will be required to compete for federal funding.”

“The new standards mandate that poorly performing programs will have to compete for funding if they have deficiencies discovered in their onsite review, fail to establish and use school-readiness goals for children, or demonstrate low performance in the classroom quality evaluation.”

“Going forward, all Head Start grants will be good for five years. After that time, each program's performance will be re-evaluated to determine whether it is meeting the benchmarks or must compete for another grant.”

“‘We're just not going to put money into programs that don't work. We will take money and put them into programs that do,’ Obama said during his quick trip to Pennsylvania.”

November 8, 2011

Wanted to be sure your saw this editorial in today’s New York Times highlighting how GOP efforts to roll back environmental protections won’t create jobs or strengthen our economy:

Key Point: “These are bad bills, and Senate leaders should stop them from going forward. Weakening clean-air rules would harm public health. And the fundamental premise, that environmental regulation destroys jobs, is simply wrong. Earlier this year, the Economic Policy Institute conducted a study of a proposed rule that would require power plants to reduce emissions of mercury and other airborne toxics. It said that investment in new controls would actually create 92,000 jobs beyond those that might be lost through plant closings and higher electricity prices. Other studies of clean air laws have come to similar conclusions: These rules are job creators, not killers.”

November 8, 2011

Wanted to make sure you saw today's New York Times editorial that urges Republicans to work with Democrats to agree to a big, bold, and balanced package so that we can reduce the deficit, create jobs, build confidence in our economy, and avoid a damaging sequester:

“…with the committee close to a deadlock — largely because Republicans will not agree to higher taxes on the rich — and the deadline for an agreement approaching, some Republicans are now talking about undoing the process.”

“Democrats have proposed a $4 trillion mix of cuts and tax increases… But Republicans have rejected any tax increases…”

Simply dismissing the committee and undoing the sequester would be such a vast admission of Congressional failure that it could push down the nation’s credit rating, lead to chaos in financial markets and severely cripple hopes for an economic recovery. Republicans created the policies that forced up the deficit and then refused to compromise with President Obama. They cannot simply walk away now. Panel members have only a few days to come up with a plan that balances new revenues with spending cuts. That is the only way to wrestle down the deficit without doing huge damage to the economy and the country."

November 7, 2011

Republicans have been using the specter of widespread voter fraud to justify new barriers to the ballot. But as Andrew Rosenthal notes this morning in the New York Times, the evidence for this fraud epidemic is not just scant, it is practically non-existent.

October 31, 2011
In addition to marking 300 days since House Republicans took the majority – and still haven’t put forward a jobs plan – today also marks the seventh time GOP leaders have tried to change their message to appear they’ve been focused on jobs. But changing their story seven times doesn’t mean they’ve come up with a comprehensive jobs plan, even though they’ve had 300 days to take action:
Claim They’ll Focus on Jobs #1

Last September: Republicans designated job creation as their first priority in their Pledge to America: “A plan to create jobs, end economic uncertainty, and make America more competitive must be the first and most urgent domestic priority of our government. So first, we offer a plan to get people working again.”

Claim They’ll Focus on Jobs #2
March: Republicans tried to take steps to show they are focused on job creation. “Under fire for focusing heavily on cutting spending rather than stimulating job creation, House Republicans are taking new steps to emphasize their efforts to spur hiring, including a jobs forum with business leaders to be held in the Capitol next week.”  [NY Times, 03/09/11]
Claim They’ll Focus on Jobs #3
May: Trying to change the subject after feeling the heat at home over their budget that ends Medicare, Republicans unveiled a more-of-the-same jobs agenda. It was poorly received as “a repackaging of policies they have long advocated” and contained “few, if any, new ideas.”
Claim They’ll Focus on Jobs #4
June: In a memo to House Republicans, Majority Leader Cantor claimed that the Floor schedule this summer will focus on economic growth. While there is bipartisan support for patent reform, the memo is very thin on jobs action.
Claim They’ll Focus on Jobs #5
August: In a memo on the fall schedule, Majority Leader Cantor unveiled a more-of-the-same agenda that isn’t a plan to create jobs, and was viewed as another retread of past policies that are more about ideology than about job creation.  “House Republicans have laid out their fall jobs agenda, and it mostly revolves around killing environmental and labor regulations... For good measure, they’re also planning another round of attacks on the health care reform law… Republicans seem particularly focused on overturning EPA regulations – some that haven’t been finalized or even proposed.” [Politico, 08/21/11
Claim They’ll Focus on Jobs #6
September: Leader Cantor admitted that Republicans haven’t been focused since taking the majority and said the House will now focus on jobs: “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.” [The Hill, 09/12/11]
Claim They’ll Focus on Jobs #7
October: Today marks 300 Days since House Republicans took the majority, and they still aren’t focused on jobs. Instead of putting forward a comprehensive jobs plan, Republicans are trying out “a new jobs narrative,” according to a Roll Call article. Unfortunately for them, it’s not their narrative that’s the problem. Rather than working on their message, it’s time for Republicans to abandon their partisan bills that won’t create jobs and work with Democrats on jobs bills that are paid-for and include proposals that they’ve supported in the past.
After 300 days of GOP inaction on jobs, it’s time for Republicans to work with Democrats on the American Jobs Act and our Make It In America plan – but with seven suspensions on the Floor and no jobs bills to be seen this week, we can’t count on it.
October 26, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this Bloomberg article out today highlighting how the Obama administration has approved fewer regulations than President Bush and pushing back on House Republican claims that there has been a “tsunami” of regulations since President Obama took office.

Key excerpts:

“President Barack Obama’s ‘tsunami’ of new government regulations looks more like a summer swell.”

“Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News.”

“Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.”

October 26, 2011

While Republicans talk about their “Forgettable Fifteen” bills to roll back critical environmental and consumer protections, the facts show that they won’t lead to job creation.

Economists have said these bills won’t create jobs or help our economy.

Republicans admitted in their own report on the TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401), one of the “Forgettable 15” bills that would indefinitely block regulations to limit toxic mercury, dioxin, acid gases, smog and soot from power plants, that there was no analysis to show these protections hurt job creation.

And study after study shows no indication that environmental protections hurt employment or hamper economic growth. In fact, these studies suggest these critical protections actually create jobs, boost productivity, and save money on health care costs. Here are a select few for your afternoon reading:

Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM): This found that by enacting stricter vehicle emissions standards and pursuing cleaner forms of energy – things that would be put at risk by the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 910), another of the Republicans’ “Forgettable 15” bills – more Americans would be put back to work. NESCAUM found higher employment and economic growth with stricter fuel standards and cleaner energy for the 11 Northeast states included in the study:

  • Employment increases by 9,490 to 50,700 jobs.
  • Gross regional product, a measure of the states’ economic output, increases by 2.1 billion to 4.9 billion.
  • Household disposable income increases by 1 billion to 3.3 billion.
  • Gasoline and diesel demand drops 12 to 29 percent. 
  • Carbon pollution from transportation is cut by 5 to 9 percent.

Unites Automotive Workers Union (UAW), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF): This study shows that vehicle emissions standards, which would be in jeopardy if the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 (H.R. 910) became law, are already responsible for 155,000 jobs at 504 facilities in 43 states and the District of Columbia. 119,000 jobs have been created in this industry since 2009. And that number will just go up under the new higher MPG rules announced by the Obama Administration, according to two recent studies released by Ceres.

Economist Frank Ackerman at Tufts University: Analysis of an industry group report that claimed regulation of coal ash disposal, which Republicans are attempting to roll back through the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (H.R. 2273), one of the Republicans’ “Forgettable 15” bills, could lead to the loss of more than 300,000 jobs. This analysis shows fundamental flaws in the claim that air protections will hurt job creation– most notably, that it provided no explanation for more than 50,000 of the supposedly lost jobs, and determined that strict regulation of coal ash would result in a net gain of 28,000 jobs.

EPA: This study estimates that the Clean Air Act, which Republicans are seeking to undermine with several of their “Forgettable 15” bills, has prevented 230,000 deaths, and boosted productivity by preventing 3.2 million lost school days and 13 million lost work days a year in 2010. The benefits of this Act, including savings in medical expenses and increased worker productivity, are 30 times greater than its cost of implementation.

October 26, 2011

Today, the House is considering the rule for the three percent withholding bill. Since Republicans still don’t have a jobs plan, they are touting the repeal as a jobs bill, but we disagree that repealing their own policy before it went into effect has any impact on jobs. And we aren’t the only ones.

A Talking Points Memo article highlights how the three percent withholding rule is a GOP policy:

“The Cantor tweet and subsequent Boehner release also are a bit puzzling because President Obama has long made clear his support for getting rid of the 3 percent withholding tax, and turns out, Republicans were the first to try to impose the tax burden on government contractors in May 2006, although it’s been delayed ever since by both the 2009 Stimulus Act and the IRS.”

“In May of that 2006, 229 House Republicans, including GOP leaders John Boehner (R-OH) and Eric Cantor (R-VA), voted to implement the withholding tax on government contractors, as well as Medicare and farm payments, as a way to ensure that some tax-cheat contractors paid their fair share.”

“That bill extended about $70 billion in tax cuts over a five-year period, including reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends through 2010 and a patch for the alternative minimum tax, but the 3 percent withholding tax on government contractors was also tucked into the final version of the bill with Republican support.”

And an article in today's Washington Post points out the policy they are repealing is not currently in effect and would therefore have no impact on jobs:

“In fact, in the real world it wouldn’t actually do anything at all. Instead, it would repeal a tax provision enacted in 2006 that has not taken effect. Delayed twice, it is now scheduled to go into effect in January 2013.”

“Zandi said that the withholding repeal would ultimately be approved, even though he regards it as such a minor provision that he did not include it as part of his analysis of the president’s jobs plan, which he concluded would create 1.9 million positions.”

“‘I don’t think it’s meaningful in terms of jobs,’ he said. ‘It’s more trying to clean up something that needs cleaning up.’”

While Democrats support repealing this policy, this bill alone is not a jobs plan. Democrats continue to urge Republicans to take action on the rest of the American Jobs Act – it’s fully paid for, includes bipartisan ideas and will create jobs now. As the President has said, we can’t wait – it’s time for House Republicans to get serious about job creation.

October 26, 2011

Wanted to make sure you all saw today’s NY Times article on growing income inequality in the U.S. It’s a safe bet this will be a big part of the discussion as Democrats continue to fight to create jobs and grow the economy in the near-term, and push for a big, bold, and balanced deficit reduction package over the long-term. Republicans will have some pretty serious numbers against them as they fight for the 1% over the rest of Americans.

Some highlights:

“The top 1 percent of earners more than doubled their share of the nation’s income over the last three decades, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday, in a new report likely to figure prominently in the escalating political fight over how to revive the economy, create jobs and lower the federal debt.”

“In its report, the budget office found that from 1979 to 2007, average inflation-adjusted after-tax income grew by 275 percent for the 1 percent of the population with the highest income. For others in the top 20 percent of the population, average real after-tax household income grew by 65 percent. By contrast, the budget office said, for the poorest fifth of the population, average real after-tax household income rose 18 percent. And for the three-fifths of people in the middle of the income scale, the growth in such household income was just under 40 percent.”

“The findings, based on a rigorous analysis of data from the Internal Revenue Service and the Census Bureau, are generally consistent with studies by some private researchers and academic economists. But because they carry the imprimatur of the nonpartisan budget office, they are likely to have a major impact on the debate in Congress over the fairness of federal tax and spending policies.”

“Specifically the report made these points:

Ҧ The share of after-tax household income for the top 1 percent of the population more than doubled, climbing to 17 percent in 2007 from nearly 8 percent in 1979.

Ҧ The most affluent fifth of the population received 53 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, up from 43 percent in 1979. In other words, the after-tax income of the most affluent fifth exceeded the income of the other four-fifths of the population.

¶ People in the lowest fifth of the population received about 5 percent of after-tax household income in 2007, down from 7 percent in 1979.

“¶ People in the middle three-fifths of the population saw their shares of after-tax income decline by 2 to 3 percentage points from 1979 to 2007.”

October 25, 2011

Wanted to make sure you all saw Roger Simon’s article today noting President Obama’s foreign policy successes. Even though they’ve faded from the front page pretty quickly, it’s a pretty impressive list:

“Obama just won a war. Whether by leading from behind, in front or sideways, the victory by the Libyan rebels in toppling Muammar Qadhafi would have been impossible without U.S. money, more than 5,000 U.S. missions flown, 1,200 airstrikes, 100 Predator strikes, and even B-2 Stealth bomber attacks launched from Missouri. We also had CIA agents on the ground, but we’ll probably never know what they did. America did not act alone — we acted with NATO — but a win is a win, and Obama’s victory did not cost this country a single U.S. life.”

“Then there is the matter of Obama’s fulfilling his campaign promise to pull out of Iraq, ending U.S. involvement in a war launched by a George W. Bush fantasy — that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction — which cost us about $1 trillion (the figure is in dispute), more than 36,000 U.S. troops killed or wounded and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed.”

“While some U.S. troops will be required to defend the gargantuan embassy, President Obama will no longer be stuffing them willy-nilly into the meat grinder of a war that served mainly to remove troops from Afghanistan, where we were trying to destroy Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.”

“Oh, yeah. Almost forgot that one. Obama launched a daring raid into Pakistan to kill bin Laden in May. And let’s not forget the killing of master terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki in September in Yemen with a drone-launched Hellfire missile, or the rescue of an American sea captain from Somali pirates by Navy SEALS in April 2009.”

“Obama has projected an image of strength to the world and has sent a message to terrorists who threaten the United States that they cannot seek safe haven anywhere.”

October 25, 2011

We have to admit, it’s hard to take Republicans’ “forgettable 15” bills seriously when they’re not taking any action on jobs. Instead, Republicans are bringing to the Floor today:

- 3 suspension bills
- 1 rule for a land-swap bill

…and, that’s it.

That continues the record of this part-time Congress – we’ve been in session 109 days, but we’ve been in recess or in pro forma for 104 days – an almost even split. (That’s 10 district work periods for those of you who haven’t kept track.)

You can’t argue anyone has forgotten their jobs bills when those bills don’t actually create jobs. So their new pocket card is nothing more than half-baked solutions from a part-time Congress.

October 25, 2011

Republicans may want to think twice before printing out their pocket card. Yet another look by economists at Republicans’ partisan agenda shows that House Republican's Forgettable Fifteen bills to roll back consumer and environmental protections – most of which don’t even exist yet - won’t help put more Americans back to work or boost our economy:

From Macroeconomic Advisors:

Regulation does not prevent the economy from achieving full employment. After all, the economy wasn’t that much less regulated in 2007 when the unemployment rate was 4.5%, half of today’s reading…There are, however, legitimate reasons for many regulatory requirements, including the discouragement of health and safety hazards and the reduction of systemic financial risk, the costs of which may not be fully reflected in prices posted in an unregulated market. Hence, it is important to recognize that jobs should not be the sole, even the main, criterion for assessing the value of a particular regulation.”

So, will House Republicans work with Democrats on the American Jobs Act, which economists say could create up to two millions jobs? Or will they continue to cling to policies that economists and fact-checkers agree won’t create jobs or help our economy?

October 24, 2011

As the Senate prepares to take action on infrastructure proposals from the American Jobs Act next week, we wanted to be sure you saw comments from Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the need for investments in infrastructure:

Donohue: “Well, first, we're in agreement of the need to bring along a major improvement in our infrastructure. Second, we understand that a lot of jobs can be created in the transportation and the energy side and the aviation and the water side.”

Trumka: “We can't be competitive in a global economy unless we have infrastructure that allows us to be competitive. We have a major deficit, a $2.2 trillion deficit in old infrastructure and a $2 trillion deficit in new infrastructure, to bring us into the 21st century. This is really a no-brainer.” [ABC This Week, 10/23/11]

Republicans might want to think twice about opposing an issue that everyone – from business to labor – can agree is critical to jobs and our economy, and that used to enjoy bipartisan support.

There was also discussion of the need for a national manufacturing strategy, a key component of the Make It In America agenda:

Trumka: “Look, the other countries that we deal with, they have a plan and a strategy. They have a plan for manufacturing. They have a plan to build things. We don't have that strategy in the United States.”

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’ll keep urging Republicans to take action on the American Jobs Act and the Make It In America plan.

October 21, 2011

An op-ed in today’s WSJ by National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling draws a stark contrast between the American Jobs Act and Republicans’ “more-of-the-same” partisan ideas that won’t help our economy.

The American Jobs Act will grow our economy and help put more Americans back to work now:

“First, it provides a strong and immediate boost to demand that could create up to 1.9 million jobs, increase growth by up to 2%, and lower unemployment, according to independent economists such as Moody's Analytics. It does so by cutting payroll taxes in half for nearly all workers and small businesses, preventing teacher and first-responder layoffs, and creating jobs rebuilding our infrastructure, our schools and our blighted neighborhoods.”

“Second, it is specifically designed to take on the problem of long-term unemployment. It includes a tax credit for hiring the long-term unemployed and veterans, and a ban on hiring discrimination against the unemployed.”

Meanwhile, economists have said that Republicans’ partisan bills won’t grow our economy and create jobs:

“In fact, Gus Faucher, the director of macroeconomics at Moody's Analytics, after reviewing the latest Republican jobs plan (the Jobs Through Growth Act), told the Washington Post that it would do nothing to create jobs in the short-term and could even make matters worse. Likewise, Macroeconomic Advisers wrote just this week that the bill ‘would not materially change our forecasts for either economic growth or employment through 2013.’”

And, as Sperling points out, it’s disappointing that Republicans are blocking a bill that includes bipartisan ideas:

“This aversion to measures designed to move the needle on jobs and growth is particularly disappointing given that many Republicans supported them only a short time ago.”

“Earlier this year, the heads of the AFL-CIO and U.S. Chamber of Commerce came together to support increased infrastructure investment and back the same bipartisan Senate proposal for a new infrastructure bank—sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Kay Bailey Hutchison—that is included in the American Jobs Act.”

“The president's proposal to cut payroll taxes in half for workers and small businesses closely resembles a provision included last year in the Economic Freedom Act put forward by 50 House Republicans, including Michele Bachmann and Jeb Hensarling.”

“It simply cannot be the case in a serious economic moment like this that good ideas are transformed into bad ideas solely because President Obama supports them.”

October 21, 2011

There they go again, saying they’re for job creation and then voting in lockstep against even bringing jobs legislation to the Floor for a vote. With the Senate out next week, Republicans have once again left town after obstructing any efforts to create jobs or help our economy while insisting on ideological proposals that nonpartisan experts believe could harm the economy. Here’s a great rundown from TNR’s Jonathan Cohn on what happened in the Senate last night:

October 17, 2011

While Democrats are out on the stump with our plans to create jobs, Majority Leader Cantor is simply stumped when asked how many jobs would be created by GOP proposals.

National Journal: Cantor Stumped on GOP Job Plan

“But Cantor could not answer host Chris Wallace when asked whether outside economists had reviewed Republican proposals and predicted the number of jobs they would create.”

Politico: Cantor Ducks Job Creation Question

“House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sidestepped questions on ‘Fox News Sunday’ about how many jobs would be created by Republican stimulus proposals, saying, ‘We believe the best way is to provide incentives for investment.’”

From Huffington Post:

“Cantor also sidestepped questions about how many jobs the GOP bills would generate. Wallace pointed out that Moody's Analytics, an independent economic consulting firm, said the president's plan would add 1.9 million jobs next year and grow the economy by an additional 2 percent.”

Meanwhile, Democrats are returning to their districts this week to talk to constituents about our jobs plan – Make It In America – and the American Jobs Act, which will create jobs, boost our economy and ensure middle class families can succeed.

October 13, 2011

GOP quote of the day goes to House Armed Services Committee Chairman McKeon:

"We're going to have to stop repeating ideological talking points and address our budget problems comprehensively, through smarter spending and increased revenue.”

We couldn’t agree more. We hope his Republican colleagues will listen and work with Democrats on a balanced package, that includes both spending cuts and revenue, so we can reduce the deficit, create jobs, strengthen entitlements and ensure all Americans pay their fair share.

October 13, 2011

Stop us if you have heard this one before: Instead of bringing a jobs bill to the floor, today House Republicans are bringing up a draconian abortion bill that puts women's health at risk. The bill would limit how women with private insurance can spend their own private dollars in purchasing health insurance and is a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Even though current law forbids federal funding for abortion except in extremely limited cases, the Republican bill would prohibit women from purchasing health plans with their own money, limiting a woman’s right to purchase the health care plan of her choice. This extreme legislation would even allow hospitals to deny life-saving care to women.

No wonder the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists wrote:

“In order for women to receive the best health care and disease prevention, they must have access to all medically appropriate legal medical procedures, regardless of ability to pay…ACOG opposes legislative proposals to limit women’s access to any needed medical care; these proposals can jeopardize the health and safety of our patients, and put government between a physician and a patient.”

Putting the government between a physician and a patient? That sounds familiar.

And did we mention it is not a jobs bill?

October 13, 2011

After blocking the American Jobs Act this week, Senate Republicans are clearly feeling the heat that they don’t have a jobs plan. Unfortunately for them, the “agenda” they’re rolling out is just more of the same partisan ideas that won’t create jobs or grow our economy anytime soon. Their list looks like a greatest hits compilation of GOP favorites: “targeting labor and environmental regulations, enacting a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, lowering corporate and individual tax rates…”

Economists have already said that Republican proposals to end consumer and environmental protections won’t create jobs or help our economy in the near-term. From a recent AP fact-check: “Is regulation strangling the American entrepreneur? Several Republican presidential candidates say so. The numbers don't… Businesses frequently complain about regulation, but there is little evidence that it is any worse now than in the past or that it is costing significant numbers of jobs. Most economists believe there is a simpler explanation: Companies aren't hiring because there isn't enough consumer demand.”

Rather than pursue a partisan agenda that won’t create jobs now, it’s time for Republicans to work with Democrats to put more Americans back to work.

October 13, 2011

Wanted to be sure you saw this Washington Post article on a CRS report that found a quarter of millionaires in the U.S. pay taxes at a lower rate than middle class families.

Key excerpts:

“A quarter of millionaires in the United States pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than many middle-class families, according to a new congressional analysis that offers fresh support for President Obama’s push to raise taxes on the nation’s wealthiest households.”

“The report, by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, found that when all federal taxes are taken into account — including those on wages, investment income and corporate profits — some households earning more than $1 million a year paid as little as 24 percent of their income to the Internal Revenue Service in 2006.”

“That’s substantially less than the share paid by many families making less than $100,000 a year that faced a top effective tax rate exceeding 26.5 percent, the report said.”

“All told, 94,500 millionaires paid a smaller share of their income in taxes than 10 million households with moderate incomes, the report found.”

While Republicans want to protect millionaires from paying their fair share and have voted to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and seniors, Democrats continue to pursue a balanced plan to reduce the deficit, create jobs, strengthen entitlements and ensure all Americans – even the wealthiest – pay their fair share.

October 13, 2011

Looks like Republicans are having a hard time selling their “more-of-the-same” agenda that won’t create jobs or help our economy anytime soon.

From Roll Call:

“Unfortunately for Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and his Conference, the glow might be fleeting, in part because of the party’s difficulty selling the rest of its jobs agenda to the public.”

“Republican leaders have struggled to make the case for the agenda, which is based on deregulation, reductions in spending and tax cuts, thanks to a series of fiscal crises, the esoteric nature of much of their agenda and a sometimes raucous caucus that has thrown them off message.”

“‘We just haven’t made the sale yet,’ a Republican lawmaker conceded recently, saying that while the GOP firmly believes in the proposals, voters are not sold.”

“But the public remains deeply skeptical of Republicans on jobs and the economy, with consistent polling showing the public trusts President Barack Obama more for his handling of the economy than Congressional Republicans.”

Meanwhile, poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans support the American Jobs Act and agree with Democrats that all Americans should contribute their fair share to help create jobs. And with economists estimating that the American Jobs Act will create jobs and boost our economy now, there’s no reason for Republicans to continue pursuing their partisan agenda that Americans don’t support and won’t help put Americans back to work now.

October 12, 2011

Another day, another poll showing the majority of Americans support the American Jobs Act and agree with Democrats that all Americans should contribute their fair share to help create jobs.

From MSNBC’s First Read:

“Even though the United States Senate on Tuesday blocked President Obama's jobs bill, the legislation's specifics -- as well as the idea of taxing the wealthy to pay for it -- are popular with the American public, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.”

“…when the legislation's details are included in a follow-up question -- that it would cut payroll taxes, fund new road construction, extend unemployment benefits, and that it would be paid for by increasing taxes on the wealthy -- 63 percent say they favor the bill and 32 percent oppose it.”

“What's more, 64 percent of respondents agree with the statement that it is a ‘good idea’ to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations, because they should pay their fair share…”

October 7, 2011

Economists have taken a look at GOP policies, and the news isn’t good for our friends across the aisle – the verdict is they won’t help our economy anytime soon:

“I don't think [GOP proposals] mean much for the economy, though, in the near term, not certainly for the next 6, 12, 18 months. And I think that's where I'm most concerned and focused.” [Mark Zandi, Daily Rundown, 10/7/11]

“Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, said Republicans had ‘reasonable ideas’ but not ones that could be measured by the firm’s forecasting model. He said he believed the proposals ‘would have little immediate effect relative to a plan that stimulates aggregate demand’ — that is, a plan like Mr. Obama’s, with tax cuts and spending programs.” [NY Times, 10/7/11]

Meanwhile, economists predict that the American Jobs Act could create up to 1.9 million jobs next year and boost economic growth by up to two percentage points:

“While economic forecasts are not definitive, in that they are predictions, Macroeconomic Advisers, a St. Louis-based firm that the Federal Reserve often uses, has projected that the Obama jobs plan could increase economic growth by 1.25 percentage points and add 1.3 million jobs in 2012. Moody’s Analytics, another firm, has estimated it would add two percentage points and up to 1.9 million jobs.”

So, rather than continue to focus on partisan bills that don’t “mean much for the economy,” it’s time for Republicans to take up the American Jobs Act, which is fully paid for, includes bipartisan ideas and will create jobs and grow our economy now.

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.

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