By Mike Lillis - 02/28/12 07:34 PM EST
The Republicans' new jobs strategy is a political ruse that won't stimulate the economy, the second-ranking House Democrat warned Tuesday.
GOP leaders are expected to release their Jumpstart Our Business Startup (JOBS) Act Tuesday afternoon, but Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, dismissed the proposal just hours earlier with an acronym of his own: "Just Old Bills."
"But this clearly is not the jobs bill that we are looking for — a comprehensive jobs producing, jobs stimulating piece of legislation. … It is a pretense in packaging together just old bills."
Behind House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), GOP leaders are scheduled Tuesday to unveil a series of bills aimed at creating jobs, including several proposals making it easier for start-ups to raise capital and another allowing small community banks to secure more shareholders before they must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Republicans' strategy is, in part, designed to silence criticism from Democrats, who say GOP leaders haven't offered a significant jobs plan since the Republicans took control of the House almost 14 months ago.
Yet several bills in the GOP's JOBS Act have passed the House already this Congress, including a Democratic bill — approved last November by a vote of 420 to 2 — that looks very similar the GOP's newer SEC proposal.
"Changing the name and saying something is a jobs bill … will not make it sell," Hoyer warned. "We need to address investment, and infrastructure and job creation."
Hoyer's comments highlight the stark divide between the two parties over the government's role in strengthening the economy. The Democrats are pushing their "Make it in America" agenda, a package of proposals that would increase infrastructure spending, encourage domestic manufacturing and hike taxes on companies that outsource jobs.
Republican leaders, meanwhile, say the best way to bolster the economy is to remove government barriers to private profit-making. They want Congress to cut taxes, slash federal spending and eliminate regulations they say are strangling the private sector.
The ideological clash has also been on display in recent weeks as GOP leaders search for ways to pass their five-year, $260 billion transportation bill.
Summarizing the Democrats' entrenched opposition, Hoyer on Tuesday said the proposal "would destroy 550,000 American jobs [and] cut highway infrastructure investment in 45 states."
"This bill simply does not serve the purpose of expanding infrastructure … and creating jobs," he said.
Republicans, meanwhile, are split over the bill's mechanism for funding public transit — a divide that forced GOP leaders to delay floor consideration, initially scheduled for this week, for lack of support.