House drops plan to package jobs bill with defense measure

Liberals on Tuesday expressed frustration that the decision will mean the jobs bill won’t be fast-tracked.

ADVERTISEMENT
“We were actually going to present a bill to the Senate, take it or leave it, as part of DoD, and apparently, now the House is going to back down to the Senate yet again and pass a jobs bill that the Senate is never going to have any inclination to take up,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).

House leaders on Tuesday unveiled a $75 billion measure to fund new infrastructure projects to create jobs and provide fiscal aid to state and local governments hoping to avoid the laying-off of public workers. House Democrats wanted the measure to be attached to $636 billion defense spending bill, which both Senate and House leaders have vowed to clear for President Barack Obama’s signature before the holiday recess.

But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday that the jobs bill would be taken up separately from the defense appropriations measure.

House Democrats who are crafting the jobs bill blamed the upper chamber for refusing to consider it.

The quickest way to get the bill into law would have been to attach it to the defense bill, said Rep. Betty Sutton (Ohio), a member of the Democratic jobs task force selected by Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson (Conn.).

“What we really want is for the jobs legislation to be enacted as quickly as possible, because the need is urgent,” Sutton said.

Sutton added that House members are looking at other ways to speed up passage of the legislation. She left open the possibility that Democrats would consider more jobs measures in addition to infrastructure projects and state aid. The White House and Democrats in Congress have proposed a number of ways to lower the 10 percent unemployment rate, including a hiring tax credit, incentives for property owners to retrofit homes, increased small-business loans and small-business tax cuts.

“Our mission to create jobs is going to be ongoing until everyone who needs a job has an opportunity to find one,” Sutton said.