Cantor warns GOP will oppose any stimulus spending in jobs bill

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) warned on Monday that stimulus spending in President Obama’s yet-to-be-seen jobs bill would face opposition among Republicans.

Though Cantor sounded an optimistic note as to potential areas of bipartisan agreement on job creating policy, he gave a thumbs down to increased spending for public projects.

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“Anything that is akin to stimulus in the bill, I think is not going to be accepted by the American people, most folks understand that the promises made (in the 2009 stimulus bill) were not met. I don’t believe that our members are going to be interested in pursuing that, I certainly am not,” Cantor told reporters at his weekly off-camera news conference with reporters on Capitol Hill.


Cantor added, “The fact is, we don’t have the money, and we’ve got to prioritize and right now it’s about getting people back to work, right now you want to focus on small businesses and the private sector;
 because focusing on the stimulus and the public sector has not gotten us anywhere.”


The Majority Leader warned President Obama against insisting on an all-or-nothing approach to passing his jobs package.

Cantor reiterated areas of potential agreement with the president including: "providing tax relief to small businesses ... passage of the trade bills ... the need to eliminate burdensome regulations and to reform this town - to get rid of the bureaucracy ... reforming unemployment benefits and the programs that surround them."

Asked to respond to Obama's plan for changing the tax structure included in the jobs package, Cantor said that he had not seen the specifics but was concerned that lawmakers take a hard look at the ramifications.

"If you look at what the president is proposing now with temporary relief for businesses on the tax side, as well as for working people with the payroll tax, you look at the elimination of the existing tax rates at the end of next year, according to the president's plan - you are creating a huge clip and a tax increase that will go into effect January 1, and it just raises the question that we need to look at this and this policy because it's not as if you are just operating and only going to affect this year," Cantor said.

Cantor told reporters gathered in his Capitol Hill office suite that the president has not specified how he intended to pay for his jobs package in the recent speeches on the matter.

"He'll be sending up a jobs plan today but yet leave the pay-fors out until later, I know he asked our supercommittee to find the pay-fors for his bill but if he is sending up a bill ... I sure hope that the president is not suggesting that we pay for his proposals with a massive tax increase at the end of 2012 on job creators, that we're actually counting on to reduce unemployment," Cantor said.

Cantor told reporters that he believes that there are areas where Republicans can work with the president to help spur job creation.

The No. 2 ranked GOP lawmaker said that they shouldn’t focus on the areas of disagreement in the upcoming days, as the president prepares to send a bill to Capitol Hill.

He said that the proper way to move forward on the president’s plan “is to try and approach this by what we can do together, not by what we can’t.”


Updated at 2:40 p.m.