The top Democrats on 10 House Committees wrote Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to complain the chamber hasn't focused sufficiently on jobs so far this term.
The 10 Democratic lawmakers, many of whom served as chairmen of their respective committees in the last Congress, complained that the GOP-led House has been too focused on oversight of the White House and internal reform, and not enough on jobs.
"This week, and in the weeks after, let’s consider jobs bills that will stimulate economic growth and bring unemployment down. Let’s work together to pass legislation to strengthen our manufacturing base," the group wrote in a letter to Boehner. "Democrats are ready to work with you on any effort that will create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and reduce the deficit."
Democrats have made their complaint that the House is distracted from job creation a centerpiece of their strategy as a party in the opposition. When the House and Senate voted on legislation to repeal healthcare reform or to limit federal funding for abortion, Democrats complained that the House wasn't focused on jobs.
Republicans, by contrast, have sought to frame their actions so far as entirely devoted toward boosting employment. They assert that by repealing healthcare reform, voting to cut spending or ordering Congress to conduct better oversight, they're removing barriers to job creation.
The GOP has on the agenda for this week votes ordering committees to "review existing, pending, and proposed regulations and orders" by federal agencies, along with bills to extend trade adjustment assistance and recover money paid to the United Nations by the U.S.
Democrats claimed those efforts were largely redundant, though, and only a distraction.
"However, the floor schedule that the Republican majority has pursued and intends to pursue this week will create no jobs; indeed, spending two days, and taxpayer dollars, on a resolution calling on our committees to perform oversight functions that they are already authorized to conduct distracts from our efforts to create jobs," they wrote.
The letter was signed by the following Democratic ranking members: New York Rep. Louise Slaughter (Rules), California Rep. Henry Waxman (Energy and Commerce), Michigan Rep. John Conyers (Judiciary), West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall (Transportation and Infrastructure), Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey (Natural Resources), Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings (Oversight and Government Reform), California Rep. George Miller (Education and the Workforce), Michigan Rep. Sander Levin (Ways and Means), Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank (Financial Services), and New York Rep. Nydia Velázquez (Small Business).
Update, 4:38 p.m.: Republicans pushed back late Monday afternoon by sending around a copy of their committee and floor schedule for a week.
"Last Congress, Democrats voted hand over fist to increase spending, in addition to overusing the suspension calendar for hundreds of needleless votes on resolutions honoring items such as Confucius’ birthday and ‘PI’ day," wrote Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), in an email to reporters. "To put it more succinctly: While Leader Pelosi and Assistant Leader Clyburn may find House Republican efforts to empower job creators by cutting spending and impediments to economic growth funny, taxpayers do not."
Second Update, 5:29 p.m.: In an email response, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said that Republicans are actually listening to Americans.
“House Democratic Leaders have no ideas for creating jobs other than pressing for more ineffective ‘stimulus’ spending," Steel said. "House Republicans are listening to the American people, and working to create jobs by repealing ObamaCare – with its job-destroying mandates, higher costs, and higher taxes – and ending the government spending spree that has failed to get our economy moving again.”