Senate Republicans present Obama with counteroffer on jobs

Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled their own jobs package and called on President Obama to enter negotiations reconciling it with parts of his own jobs bill.

They said the package was developed in response to criticisms that the GOP had no positive agenda, and took pains to say the bill was an opening offer for negotiations with the White House.

The GOP package includes proposals anathema to Democrats, such as the complete repeal of Obama’s healthcare reform law and financial regulatory reform bills, but it also has a number of proposals that enjoy some bipartisan support.

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“From a Republican point of view this is a welcomed development. We have to be for something,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-S.C.) said. “I wish the president would have a jobs summit … this is an offer by the Republican party.”

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program MORE (R-Ky.), who led the effort to craft the Jobs Through Growth Act, said that the package was developed in part because Obama has been touring the country claiming the GOP does not have its own jobs agenda.

“Part of it is a response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal,” McCain said.

He also called for talks with the president. “There has been no outreach by the president or his people to us,” he said.


“We are tired of him going around the country saying we don’t have a jobs plan,” Paul said of Obama. “We want to have a constructive conversation with him.”

Sen. Paul predicted that the bill when enacted would create 5 million new jobs.

The senators said that most of the package has been floating around for months, and McCain said almost the entire GOP caucus is on board with the plan.

Appearing on stage to unveil the package in the Senate TV studio were McCain, Paul and Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWeek ahead in tech: Debate over online sex trafficking bill heats up 'Hillbilly Elegy' author won't run for Senate Brown, Portman urge Trump administration to move quickly on a steel decision MORE (Ohio), Mike JohannsMike JohannsLobbying World To buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops MORE (Neb.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoDems force 'Medicare for All' on Americans but exempt themselves GOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Overnight Health Care: CBO predicts 15 percent ObamaCare premium hike | Trump calls Sanders single-payer plan ‘curse on the US’ | Republican seeks score of Sanders’s bill MORE (Wyo.), Graham, Jim DeMint (S.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (Utah), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum MORE (Nev.), Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Cybersecurity: DHS bans agencies from using Kaspersky software | Panel calls Equifax CEO to testify | Facebook pulling ads from fake news Mueller investigation focusing on social media's role in 2016 election: report Intelligence director criticizes former officials for speaking out against Trump MORE (Ind.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Sen. Cassidy plans to bring down Medicaid Senate committee schedules hearing on health care block grants MORE (Wis.).

Of the proposals in the bill, McCain said, “tax reform is certainly is something that is bipartisan” and he said he hopes the proposal to grant a tax holiday to allow corporations to repatriate overseas income could also make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate.

He said that he disagreed with a proposal by Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill This week: Senate wrapping up defense bill after amendment fight Cuomo warns Dems against cutting DACA deal with Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) to tie repatriation to a proposal for a national infrastructure bank, however. 

The GOP Jobs act also proposes a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution, a type of line-item veto, a complete moratorium on federal regulations, medical malpractice reform, a reform of the National Labor Relations Board and a series of measures to ease regulations on oil, gas and mining activities.

On trade, it proposes renewing the president’s authority to negotiate free-trade agreements and have them enjoy fast-track approval in Congress.

On regulations, the bill contains a measure requiring congressional approval of all new regulations and several measures aimed at specific environmental regulations, including one ending regulation of farm dust.

The bill also includes a proposal to end a requirement that the federal government withhold 3 percent of payments to contractors as a way to ensure taxes are paid. That proposal was reported out of the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday with bipartisan support.

This story was updated at 4:08 p.m.