If the Democratic majority's latest stimulus legislation is good for the economy, why have the nation's leading job creators opposed it? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated, "We have no choice but to oppose this legislation as drafted because it is a job killer." The National Association of Home Builders agrees, warning in a letter to Congress that "thousands of real estate construction jobs will be lost" if the bill passes.
The misleadingly titled "American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act" that congressional liberals forced through the House of Representatives on Friday is nothing more than a sequel to the failed stimulus bill of 2009. Just like the original, the latest "jobs bill" is a collection of tax hikes and deficit spending that will push the country even deeper into debt. With a price tag of $102 billion, the new legislation joins the $862 billion stimulus and the almost $1 trillion government health care takeover on the list of job-killing spending bills that pass for the Obama administration's economic policy. The bill purports to help the jobless by extending availability of unemployment benefits to almost two full years, but the $48 billion in tax increases on investments and small businesses will only help perpetuate high jobless rates. The nation's employers are already beginning to struggle under the weight of ObamaCare costs, and there appears to be no end in sight as the majority party continues to pile on new taxes that increase the cost of staying in business.
The short-term damage the legislation will cause to the struggling job market is significant, but the lasting harm to the economy is just as important. Seemingly oblivious to our deepening debt crisis, Democrats have loaded the legislation up with new spending items without bothering to offset the increases with cuts in other areas. Their much-touted pledge earlier this year to abide by "pay as you go" budget rules is a distant memory, as they routinely waive PAYGO by declaring funding for their pet projects as "emergency spending."
The fact is, there is a fiscal emergency, but it can only be addressed by spending cuts, not spending increases. While Obama and Pelosi drive the national debt to unprecedented levels, congressional conservatives are working to cut wasteful federal programs. Through two new initiatives, conservatives are working with the American people to identify opportunities to rein in runaway spending. The YouCut project, which invites Americans to vote online each week for their favorite potential spending cut, is a resounding success. Over 500,000 votes have been cast in the first few days, and House Republicans have kept our vow to force a floor vote every week on the spending cut proposal selected by YouCut participants. The America Speaking Out project is another new online forum through which citizens can contribute solutions to the nation's most pressing problems.
I encourage Oklahomans to continue speaking out against out-of-control spending and to take advantage of these new forums by visiting http://republicanwhip.house.gov/YouCut/ and http://www.americaspeakingout.com/. Fiscal discipline is clearly not a priority for the liberals that control Congress, but it's time they realize spending restraint is a top priority for the American people.