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The Difference Between Lists and Action on Jobs


Location: Washington, DC

President Obama recently announced that he has a "to do" list for Congress on jobs. The list is posted to a virtual bulletin board and consists of five ideas for job creation, none of which balance the budget, reform the tax code, cut red tape or secure our energy future.

While the President was working on his five-point list, the House has been working over the past sixteen months to pass actual bills -- more than thirty of them -- to accomplish those goals. Call it our "done" list.

In March, we approved the "Path to Prosperity" budget plan, which recognizes that overspending is ineffective and hinders job creation. The bill cuts more than $5 trillion over ten years relative to the President's budget, without budget gimmicks, and balances the budget minus interest payments on the debt by 2015.

Cutting runaway spending would help free up the private sector to create jobs. A 2010 study from Harvard Business School found that increased federal spending actually causes businesses to "significantly cut physical and R&D spending, reduce employment, and experience lower sales."

In addition to budgeting responsibly, the Path to Prosperity puts forward a framework for tax reform, which will help job creators save money and incentivize growth by lowering rates and broadening the base. The budget plan closes tax loopholes and reduces the number of individual income tax brackets, which will help to decrease the hundreds of billions of dollars in tax compliance costs that Americans face each year. Additionally, businesses would face a maximum flat tax rate of twenty-five percent under this plan, which will help them hire and expand.

The House has also moved to cut unnecessary red tape and reform the regulatory process. The Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which the House passed in December, would require congressional approval of all major regulations costing more than $100 million per year. The Obama Administration has proposed 212 such rules, which could come at a steep cost to businesses. The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Policy Studies estimates that for every $1 million in new regulatory spending, the private sector loses 420 jobs.

Additionally, the House has voted to fully repeal the President's job-killing and tax-heavy health care law. According to a U.S. Chamber of Commerce study of small businesses, Obamacare is increasing uncertainty and reducing hiring, with 74 percent of businesses saying that the law makes it harder for their firms to hire new employees and 30 percent not hiring at all as a result. In addition to full repeal, the House has been working to repeal particularly onerous components, including a new 2.3 percent tax on medical devices that will increase costs for consumer and new taxes levied on employers who do not offer health insurance and individuals who do not purchase it.

Another prong of the House's jobs strategy is adopting a true "all-of-the-above" energy plan that incorporates the full range of American resources. Recently, the House passed a transportation bill with the support of sixty-nine Democrats that mandates construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This pipeline would create 20,000 direct jobs and 118,000 spin-off jobs, and it has broad, bipartisan support across the nation.

The House also approved the PIONEERS Act in February, which increases oil and gas development in the West, the Gulf and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The mining, oil and natural gas industries have generated 500,000 new jobs over the last five years, and continuing to incorporate these industries into a national energy strategy will help put people back to work.

All of the aforementioned House-passed bills are currently stuck in the Senate. The most relevant jobs "to do" list is for the Senate to get to work on the House's "Done" list.

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