House conservatives unveil jobs agenda

An influential bloc of House conservatives unveiled a jobs plan Wednesday that one leader described as “the exact opposite” of the proposal President Obama is pushing.

The Republican Study Committee plan combines a tax overhaul, reduced regulations and an expansion of domestic energy production. The architects of the proposal said they had no specific estimate of how many jobs it would create, but the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), said they thought it would “create a lot more than President Obama has created.”

ADVERTISEMENT
“We think it’s a good package that makes sense and will help create jobs in the private sector, not this crazy concept of more government employment, but real employment in the private sector,” Jordan said.

The leader of the study committee’s budget taskforce, Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), said the plan was “basically an exact opposite, if you will, of the so-called jobs package that the president has laid out, which is really no jobs package at all.”

Garrett said Obama’s $447 billion proposal, which he has been pushing for two months, is a “rehash” of past administration efforts focused on more spending.

The RSC plan is also somewhat of a rehash; its tax component, which simplifies the tax code and lowers individual and corporate income rates, is modeled off a 2007 bill the committee introduced, according to a summary. And the deregulations agenda is broadly similar to a package of bills the House Republican leadership has advanced in recent months.


To illustrate the regulatory burden the RSC plan seeks to reduce, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) stacked up four piles of books containing new federal rules promulgated in 2011, wrapped in red tape.

The RSC tax plan would create an optional tax system of two rates — 15 percent on personal income of $50,000 annually and 25 percent for income above that level. The corporate rate would be reduced to 25 percent from 35 percent in a new territorial system; the capital gains tax would be indexed for inflation; and the estate tax repealed.

Jordan said the plan has yet to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office for its impact on the deficit, though conservatives often rely on a dynamic scoring method not used by official scorekeepers. While the CBO would likely score the RSC plan as a net tax cut, conservatives argued that the economic growth spurred by the plan would generate higher overall revenues.

The RSC plan is not a significant departure from the jobs agenda the GOP leadership has pursued. Study committee ideas have become official conference policy positions in the past, most recently during the summer’s debt-limit fight, when House Republicans adopted the RSC’s “cut, cap and balance” approach.