By Erik Wasson - 08/29/11 04:49 PM EDT
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday laid out an ambitious anti-tax and anti-regulations agenda for the fall.
In a memo to rank-and-file Republicans, Cantor said the House will target 10 major regulations for elimination, and will also seek to enact one major tax cut for businesses.
Republicans are offering the agenda as a contrast to President Obama’s jobs plan, which is set for formal announcement next week and is expected to include stimulus spending.
Cantor’s proposals will face an uphill battle in becoming law, but could make their way into a package produced by the supercommittee of 12 lawmakers charged with recommending $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts by late November. Democrats want that package to focus on economic stimulus to create jobs.
The more far-reaching tax proposal outlined in Cantor’s memo would allow small business owners to deduct 20 percent of their income from their taxes.
This proposal is being offered as a contrast to the Obama administration effort to raise taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 per year, and families with annual income higher than $250,000. Many small businesses file taxes as individuals.
One key Democrat labeled Cantor’s agenda as a distraction meant to deflect attention from the fact that the GOP is blocking proposals to stimulate the economy, including through the extension of a payroll tax cut.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the agenda was “intended only to provide cover for blocking the kind of pro-growth proposals needed to make a difference.”
“House Republicans are struggling to play catch up on jobs after Fed Chairman [Ben] Bernanke called for more aggressive fiscal policies than they have supported so far,” Schumer said. “But when they even stall common-sense measures like continuing the payroll tax cut for the middle class, it’s clear Republicans are still putting politics ahead of our economic recovery.”
The 10 regulations targeted in the memo were identified by committee chairmen as the most harmful to the economy. The majority are issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, but labor and healthcare rules are also targeted.
A series of votes on repealing the regulations would begin in September and would be followed in late November or early December by a vote on separate legislation requiring that all major regulations get an up or down vote in Congress. The House will also vote on two bills changing the way regulatory impacts are analyzed, Cantor said in the memo.
The first regulation to be targeted is born out of Boeing’s conflict with the National Labor Relations Board.
Cantor said the House will consider legislation the week of Sept. 12 authored by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) that would forbid the NLRB from seeking to stop companies from moving work to new locations. The NLRB is alleging Boeing moved work to South Carolina to punish unionized workers in Washington state.
Later in September and in October, the House will consider rules meant to stop pollution that affect utilities, cement makers, coal companies and firms using boilers. In the winter, ozone rules and dust regulations will be considered before the House votes on legislation to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases to combat climate change.
Cantor’s jobs push also has a healthcare component aimed at ensuring that employers will still be able to offer employee coverage under Democrats’ healthcare reform law.
The three committees of jurisdiction — Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Workforce — are charged with putting together legislation to repeal “restrictions” in the law that could make it prohibitively expensive for employers and health plans to continue offering coverage.
The legislation is scheduled to come up in the last two months of this year under Cantor’s proposal.
In the winter, the GOP plans to target a proposed NLRB regulation that Republicans say will give employers too little time to organize ahead of union elections.
Cantor is also prioritizing a second tax-law change that would end a rule, set to go into effect in 2013, that requires the federal government to withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors as a way to improve tax compliance.
The majority leader noted in his memo that the GOP expects Obama to submit pending trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea soon, and for the Senate to vote on a House-passed patent-reform bill that gives the United States a first-to-file system of patent approvals, rather than the current first-to-invent system.
Julian Pecquet and Pete Kasperowicz contributed to this story.
This story was posted at 10:31 a.m. and updated at 12:49 a.m.