By Molly K. Hooper - 07/17/10 10:54 PM EDT
House Republicans want to distinguish their party as standing up for private industry job creation in the run-up to the November elections.
With 9.5 percent jobless rates weighing down President Obama's approval rates, Republicans see job creation as a political winner and they will attempt to paint Democrats as anti-business as the midterm elections grow nearer.
“We want to hear what are the proactive steps to move forward, what are the things that would coax capital out, not just the ambiguity piece, but what are the proactive things we should be doing,” Roskam, vice-chairman of the House Republicans' “America Speaking Out” project, said to participants.
Following the hour-long meeting with 17 lobbyists representing industry associations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Wholesaler Distributors, Manufacturers and Retail Federation, Boehner endorsed placing a ban on new federal regulations.
The top-ranking House Republican told reporters “having a moratorium on new federal regulations is a great idea; it sends a wonderful signal to the private sector that they’re going to have some breathing room.”
Roskam hosted the meeting in his new role as Job Creation Policy Director of “America Speaking Out.” An advisory issued for the event said participants “will explore current barriers to private sector job creation, as well solutions to put Americans back to work.”
One of the ideas discussed at the “jobs creation forum” held in the Capitol Visitor Center and streamed live online was imposing a total ban of new federal regulations, which businesses say creates “uncertainty” in their companies.
“I think there’s probably a way to do this with an exemption for emergency regulations that may be needed for some particular agency or another. But if the American people knew there was going to be a moratorium in effect for a year that the federal government wasn’t going to issue thousands more regulations, it would give them some breathing room,” Boehner said.
Roskam noted that private industry feels burned by the White House due to the “uncertainty” created by dozens of yet-to-be defined federal rules and regulations imposed in laws that Congress has passed.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice-President Bruce Jostens articulated that point to the group.
“If you don’t know the rules of the road, then you aren’t going to invest,” the Chamber’s government affairs liaison said at the meeting.
The Chamber of Commerce feels that the administration is not looking out for private industry concerns.
The Friday morning event built on a public spat earlier in the week between the Chamber of Commerce and the White House, in which the Chamber refused to invite administration officials to participate in a “jobs forum” on Wednesday.
Republicans intend to seize on that disagreement to show private industry that the GOP can “carry the ball forward,” according to a GOP aide.
Meanwhile, Democrats attacked Republicans for soliciting feedback from GOP lobbyists working on behalf of big business.
In fact, many of the individuals participating in the event contributed money to the Republican Party or worked for the GOP in a high-ranking capacity.
“This meeting made even clearer for voters the choice they face this November between House Democrats’ fight for middle-class families and a Republican agenda written for lobbyists by lobbyists,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesman Ryan Rudominer said in a statement to The Hill.
Rudominer, who works with the House Democratic campaign arm, took a jab at Boehner for saying that the Wall Street reform bill was akin to using a nuclear weapon to kill an ant.
“Only if you think the financial crisis is an ‘ant,' would you think it a good thing for the country, as House Republicans do, to put forward the George Bush agenda on steroids, where Wall Street Reform would be repealed, jobs would be outsourced overseas, and the Bush tax cuts would be extended for the super rich without being paid for,” Rudominer said.