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.

“From a Republican point of view this is a welcomed development. We have to be for something,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Pence tours Rio Grande between US and Mexico GOP looks for Plan B after failure of immigration measures 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 McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived 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 PortmanCommittee chairman aims for House vote on opioid bills by Memorial Day Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March MORE (Ohio), Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsFarmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World To buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington MORE (Neb.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances Trump pick for EPA No. 2 | Pruitt questions ‘assumptions’ on climate | Dems want Pruitt recused from climate rule review Senate panel advances Trump pick for No. 2 official at EPA MORE (Wyo.), Graham, Jim DeMint (S.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation MORE (Utah), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThe siren of Baton Rouge Big Republican missteps needed for Democrats to win in November What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (Nev.), Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTop state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Russian bots turn to gun control after Florida high school shooting: report The case alleging Russian collusion is not closed MORE (Ind.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump spars with GOP lawmakers on steel tariffs Overnight Regulation: Trump unveils budget | Sharp cuts proposed for EPA, HHS | Trump aims to speed environmental reviews | Officials propose repealing most of methane leak rule Trump budget seeks savings through ObamaCare repeal 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. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia 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.