RSC makes push for omnibus jobs bill

Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) on Wednesday will introduce a broad job creation bill that encourages domestic energy exploration, eases federal regulations, and includes other policy prescriptions that Republicans see as an answer to weak job growth.

The legislation includes four main components aimed at easing labor rules for companies, encouraging energy development, boosting business access to capital, and reducing the impact of federal regulations on job creation.

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Many of the pieces of the legislation can be found in several bills the House has passed over the last year, and which have failed to advance in the Senate. It's also not clear yet whether House GOP leaders will find time to consider the bill on the House floor.

RSC members are expected to push for a vote. Regardless of that outcome, they believe it's important to put the bill out in a single package in order to contrast their vision with that of Democrats and the Obama administration.

"It's the power of having the best ideas in one bill that people can see," RSC Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) told The Hill this week.

The legislation will also serve as a broad reminder of how Republicans and Democrats see government helping job creation at a time when both sides have described the current pace of job growth as lackluster. Scalise said Republicans are looking for answers that help create jobs, while Democrats are focused on unemployment benefits.

"The President's goal is just to keep people on unemployment benefits," he said.

Scalise said energy development is a main focus of the bill. Among other things, it will require more offshore lease sales to develop energy sources in the Outer Continental Shelf, expand development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, speed up federal consideration of drilling permits, and eliminates the need for presidential approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

It also blocks an EPA effort to regulate coal ash, and approves all pending export applications for liquefied natural gas. Republicans in the last few weeks have floated the idea of increased gas exports as a way to create U.S. jobs and help allies like Ukraine.

"American energy has been revolutionized through technology, and yet the government is still blocking our ability to produce energy," Scalise said.

On the issue of labor, the bill would repeal all Davis-Bacon requirements that require prevailing or union wages to be paid for government contracting jobs. It also prevents the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board from prosecuting complaints about unfair labor practices before the Board, and prohibits federal workers from using work time for union activity.

The bill will also ease Dodd-Frank regulations on access to capital, and take several steps aimed at broader deregulatory efforts. Among other things, it would require Congress to approve all regulations with an economic impact of $50 million or more, and require federal agencies to terminate costly rules.