Top Republican Rejects Jobs Plan, Urges Compromise

Opposition leader Eric Cantor urged the president to discard his “all or nothing approach” with regard to his jobs plan.

The number two Republican in the House of Representatives reiterated his party’s opposition to the president’s jobs plan on Sunday. He urged Barack Obama to set aside his “all or nothing approach” and work with Republicans to improve the economic conditions for job creation. The president, in fact, has called on Republicans to do the same.

Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia, the Republican majority leader, predicted on Fox News Sunday that the two parties would enact parts of the president’s jobs bill “within the next month.”

The president insists that his entire American Jobs Act should be passed as quickly as possible to provide immediate relief to millions of jobless Americans and create or sustain employment in education and infrastructure.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner also pushed Congress to enact the president’s jobs plan last week. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, he said, “We’re going to do everything we can to maximize the chance that we get as much of this done as possible.”

And we should, because this bill includes things that have always had broad support among Democrats and Republicans. There’s just no reason why politics should stand in the way of doing something to help the economy now.

In his weekly radio address, the president accused the opposition of obstructionism and reiterated his belief that the $450 billion in additional deficit spending that he proposed last month is far from controversial. “Every idea in the jobs bill is the kind of idea that both parties have supported in the past,” he said.

However, Republicans have never favored fiscal stimulus as a method to stir economic growth nor have they ever embraced tax increases to balance the budget. Infrastructure spending and an extension of last year’s payroll tax cut, which would exacerbate the federal shortfall by some $175 billion next year, do enjoy bipartisan support but even the president’s own party has struggled to unite behind his entire jobs package.

Obama’s original $850 billion stimulus, enacted in 2009, was designed to keep the unemployment rate under 8 percent. Two years later, close to one in ten Americans is out of work.

According to Cantor, “It sustained some jobs for about a year and then the states were faced about with billions of dollars in debt once that year was over it.” He rejected the notion that government creates jobs. “We believe in private enterprise,” he said. “We believe the way you get the economy going again is a focus on the business of this country.”

The Republican jobs plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent, which is among the highest in the industrialized world, to 25 percent, which is the average. President Obama’s jobs plain would be paid by raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans by up to $3 trillion over the next decade. Republicans favor comprehensive entitlement and tax reform to balance the budget in the long term.