By Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Darrell Issa and Peter Roskam
Last January, President Obama declared, "Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010."
Since that time, more than 2.5 million Americans have lost their jobs and unemployment stands at 9.6%. Some focus. The President and his Democrat allies in Congress instead chose to unleash a torrent of bills that do anything but create jobs, like the so-called financial services reform bill that didn't fix the real problem of government meddling in mortgages, and another round of "stimulus" spending that only deepened states' addiction to Washington bailouts. Last week, Congressional Democrats canceled a vote on tax relief for all Americans until after the November elections, creating more economic uncertainty while delaying private sector job creation.
The primary job killer is the trillion-dollar folly of ObamaCare. The bill hits America's struggling small businesses and their families with 2,801 pages of new taxes and complicated rules, creating a climate of hyper-regulation and uncertainty that the nation's most important small business alliance -- the National Federation of Independent Businesses --has called "death by a thousand cuts."
Just a couple of those painful wounds: by 2018, self-employers and small firms will be hit by a $14.3 billion health insurance tax, while a projected $17 billion will be raised by taxing every business-to-business deal over $600. Washington insiders pushing ObamaCare appear to ignore these truths and clearly don't understand the negative impact the law is already having on entrepreneurs.
But we do. We've been listening to concerns from small businessmen and women all year. In Illinois, the law forces manufacturers to file mountains of paperwork with the IRS, adding unnecessary costs and discouraging new hiring. In Southern California, a family-owned kitchen contractor reeling from the housing crisis is torn between layoffs to afford ObamaCare and going out of business. In Tennessee, the law's $20 billion tax on medical device manufacturers threatens the jobs of more than 5,000 health care innovators.
These stories are playing out in every town in America right now. But it will only get worse as ObamaCare's other hidden costs and unintended consequences drag on the economy. Responding to these challenges, we have developed common-sense solutions to both increase insurance access and lower health care costs without ObamaCare's predatory new taxes and "Washington knows best" regulations.
Between the three of us, we developed a seven page bill to give the nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance the same choices we, as Members of Congress, have. We offered a solution to stop those who steal as much $60 billion from Medicare every year. We stood up to the President at April's Healthcare Summit to make clear that ObamaCare restricts small businesses from pursuing health coverage for employees across state lines.
Real reform must include medical liability reform with teeth, expanded Health Savings Accounts and coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. We developed these straight-forward alternatives by listening to the challenges facing America's job creators who strive to both expand and do right by their workers.
President Obama and his Capitol Hill friends say ObamaCare is good for jobs. Ask them to explain how the law creates a climate in which America's recession busters -- our millions of small businesses -- are encouraged to hire more workers right now. They can't.
The best Speaker Nancy Pelosi could offer was to tell small businesses, "We need to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it."
America's job creators already knew. Just as Washington's culture of spending and debt has slowly eroded family budgets and opportunities for the future, ObamaCare taxes away the freedom, choice and stability that powers small business growth.
We believe that our nation deserves real health care reform and we are working to deliver it, without sacrificing the millions of inventors, innovators and manufacturers building a better economic future today.