GOP seeks to refocus agenda on jobs: 'We have a growth plan'

House Republicans sought to refocus attention on job creation Thursday, unveiling a package of proposals aimed at boosting economic growth.
The agenda includes items to reduce regulation and taxes, promote free trade and modernize the patent system. Yet as GOP leaders acknowledged, the wish list of business-friendly proposals contains few, if any, new ideas, and faces little chance of quick passage through the Democratic Senate.

“Just because we’ve proposed it in the past doesn’t mean it is not a good idea,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said when asked to describe the new elements of the GOP plan. Many of the proposals were included in the party’s Pledge to America during the 2010 campaign, and some are pieces of legislation that are already under consideration by House committees.
One piece, known as the REINS Act — for Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny — would require congressional approval of federal regulations that have a “significant” impact on the economy. The GOP chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.), outlined plans to reduce taxes on corporations and individuals to no more than 25 percent as part of a “fundamental” overhaul of the tax code his panel is developing. And Republicans pushed for the passage of pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea — one element of the plan that has support from the Obama administration, although disagreements over trade adjustment assistance have caused delays.
Boehner said the agenda would create the “real economic growth that the Obama stimulus promised but failed to deliver.”
“We have a growth plan. [Democrats] do not,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said.
Democrats shot down the GOP agenda even before it was unveiled.

"It's warmed-over stew," Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters. "These are the same policies in the Bush administration that did not create jobs, that increased the deficit [and] did not strengthen the middle class.
"You have to invest in growth [to have] job creation," she said. 
Democrats have criticized Republicans for failing to bring true jobs bills to the floor in their first five months in the majority and instead focusing too much on cutting spending and divisive social issues like abortion. One Democratic leadership aide pronounced the press conference a “desperate” attempt “to stop talking about their vote to end Medicare.”
A dozen House Republicans lined up behind the podium to pledge support for the jobs plan. All but one of them, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), spoke. “I’m just eye candy,” Brady quipped.

— Mike Lillis contributed to this article.