I keep hearing this ridiculous canard in Republican debates and now from John Boehner about the alleged jobs bills the Republicans have passed that the "Democrat Senate" refuses to act upon. Since I watched the better part of their activity in real time, I know this is a lie. But most people aren't obsessive-compulsive about government and politics and might not realize just how much of a lie it is. So without further ado, let me debunk this claim made by the disingenuous Speaker of the House.
WALLACE: Question -- how will you counter that line of attack?
BOEHNER: Chris, 30 jobs bills passed over the last year in a Republican House of Representatives that are sitting in the United States Senate -- thirty.
Our focus over the last 12 months has been on jobs. Our focus over the course of the next 12 months is going to be on jobs.
The president asked us to extend the payroll tax credit, to make sure that we extended unemployment insurance with reforms, and make sure that doctors that dealt with Medicare patients were adequately reimbursed. And he asked us to do it for a year. We did it for a year. It was the United States Senate who decided, we're just going to do it for two months and we can't agree on how we're going to offset these costs. And so, we'll just kick the can down the road.
To make sure they back up their public claims with what might appear to be "fact", they've built a page on the House of Representatives site with a list of their so-called jobs bills, which number 27 and not 30 as the Speaker claims. What follows is a list and a brief explanation of why they are not jobs bills. Feel free to share it widely with your friends who might be inclined to believe Mr. Tobacco Lobbyist Check Distributor without questioning it.
HR 3630 - The Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act of 2011 - This bill does indeed extend the "docfix" and unemployment insurance for a year, but with a hefty price.
- In addition to freezing federal workers' pay for three years, it requires issuance of a permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline in advance of the proposed routing by Nebraska, suspends the newly-issued mercury regulations and extends 100% expensing of business equipment (including private jets). Another so-called "jobs bill", HR 1938, was passed giving a November 1, 2011 deadline for the Keystone pipeline.
- With regard to unemployment insurance benefits, it cuts the 99-week maximum down to a 59-week maximum by mid-2012, allow states to drug-test UI recipients, and allow states to reduce state unemployment benefits and substitute federal funds. It also cuts funding for key provisions of the Affordable Care Act coming online, and adds the requirement to welfare payments that EBT cards cannot work in strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos.
- Provisions were included to auction more broadband spectrum and reclassify the 700mhz D Block as public safety broadband use only, which would be a huge payoff to Verizon Wireless lobbyists, who won that block with requirements that it remain open, after Google challenged the auction process.
- It would force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to pay increased guarantee fees similar in scope to those due from large banks as a part of the Dodd-Frank Act, means-tests unemployment insurance benefits and food stamp programs and increases Federal employees' contributions to their retirement system by 1.5% while freezing pay, so their pensions take a double-whammy.
- Finally, it repeals the new timing rules for estimated corporate tax payments for companies with assets of $1 billion or more so that they can use payments of estimated taxes as a timing tool for fourth quarter profit declarations.
None of the provisions outlined above create jobs. They called it a jobs act, but it was really just an act.
HR 1633 - Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011
This bill prevents the EPA from issuing or finalizing regulations revising air quality standards under the Clean Air Act, and excepts farm dust from all references to "particulate matter."
No jobs there, but if anyone has ever suffered from Valley Fever, they might object to exempting dust, particularly farm dust, from the definition of particulate matter.
HR 10 - Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act of 2011
Guts the regulation process by mandating that every regulation promulgated by approved by Congress after an onerous submission process, while exempting any Congressional finding from judicial review. Call this one the Carte Blanche For Congress To Kill All Regulatory Authority Bill.
What it is not: A jobs bill.
HR 3010 - Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011
HR 3010 is a modified, somewhat less onerous version of HR 10, setting guidelines for whether any regulations are warranted at all even if called for under a statute. Calling an anti-regulatory statute a jobs bill is a little like calling a half-built bridge infrastructure. So again, not a jobs bill.
HR 527 - Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011
Ostensibly, HR 527 would reduce regulatory requirements on small businesses by forcing an impact study with specific focus on small business before regulation is adopted. It would limit EPA, OSHA and CFPB regulations while presumably protecting "small" closely-held Subchapter S corporations like Koch Industries. Not a jobs bill.
HR 3012 - Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011
HR 3012 would expand job immigration beyond current limits by eliminating employment-based immigrant visa caps and raising the percentage of total visas granted to 15% from 7%. For this one, I'll say it IS a jobs bill, but not a jobs bill for American workers. It is the "Elite Immigration Jobs Bill of 2011".
HR 3094 - Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act
HR 3094 redefines collective bargaining units and makes significant changes to election procedures, including one intended to intimidate employees: an employer-supplied list of eligible voters with contact information provided by the employee.
Not a jobs bill. A union-buster bill.
HR 2930 - Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act
HR 2930 exempts startups raising less than $1 million in venture capital from small investors from SEC registraiton and oversight.
Not a jobs bill. An anti-regulatory bill.
HR 2940 - Access to Capital for Job Creators Act
HR 2940 repeals prohibitions on solicitation or advertising of a securities offering. It's a companion to HR 2930, and is intended to allow people with no relationship to a startup company to invest in it without any oversight by the SEC. Let's call this and its evil twins HR 2930 and HR 1965 the "Ponzi Scheme Coverup Acts of 2011"
HR 1965 - Securities Laws Amendment
HR 1965 changes the shareholder threshhold for SEC registration from 500 to 2000 shareholders. It's not a jobs bill. It's a "hide from the SEC" bill. Its companion, HR 1970, would exempt SEC registration of public offerings under $50 million rather than the current $5 million threshold.
Many More EPA Acts
So many they don't deserve to be broken down individually. HR 2273 removes coal ash regulation from the EPA and hands it to the states. HR 2681 would put a legislative stay on cement manufacturing emission standards. HR 2250 would put a legislative stay on EPA boiler MACT rules. HR 2401 would require analysis of all EPA regulations relating to air, waste, water and climate change. HR 2018 would restrict EPA from issuing any revisions to existing water standards or issuing a new standard for a pollutant if the state has already adopted one or there is an existing standard in place. In other words, ignore any new scientific research after an initial standard has been set. HR 2021 amends the Clean Air Act to open oil and gas exploration off the Alaska coast. HR 910 strips the EPA of authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, a direct assault on efforts to limit man-made contributions to climate change. HR 872 expands the use of pesticides, fungicides and rodent without EPA approval.
Many More Oil and Gas Drilling Acts
There is HR 1231, which would require the Administration to allow offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration in order to meet set domestic production goals, effectively forcing the moratorium on offshore drilling to be lifted to meet goals. HR 1229 requires the Energy Secretary to consider any offshore drilling permits within 30 days of receiving it and provide application denials in writing within 60 days of the application. Another "forced moratorium lift" bill. HR 1230 forces sales of oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico and Outer Continental Shelf of Virginia. It also lifts requirements for environmental impact statements and grandfathers in a 2007 document as authority for environmental impact.
Special Interest Legislation, or Pandering to Corporate Interests
- HR 1904 proposes an exchange of land so that Resolution Copper, LLC can mine copper on what is now part of the Tonto National Forest.
- HJ Res 37 is a resolution of disapproval on net neutrality.
- HR 2587 prohibits the NLRB from restricting where an employer can locate. This is in response to the NLRB's objection to the Boeing plant relocation to South Carolina, a right-to-work state.
These would fall under the anti-labor, anti-environment categories, but not particularly effective job creators. In fact, in Boeing's case, the jobs lost would hurt the economy more than jobs created in a right-to-work state where employers are not obligated to adhere to industry standards on contracts, safety or other issues.