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 GrahamGOP senators divided over approach to election security GOP lawmakers want Mulvaney sidelined in budget talks Trump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions 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 McCainVeterans group to hand out USS John McCain T-shirts for July 4 on the National Mall Will we ever have another veteran as president? Meghan McCain clashes with Joy Behar as the 'sacrificial Republican' on 'The View' MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThis week: Congress set for clash on Trump's border request Washington braces for Trump's next move on Iran Overnight Defense: Latest on Iran after Trump halts planed strike | Dems call Trump's approach 'erratic' | Key Republican urges Trump to retaliate | Esper reportedly getting Defense secretary nomination 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 PortmanSenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House passes bill to establish DHS cyber 'first responder' teams Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump MORE (Ohio), Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World MORE (Neb.), John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoTrump proposal nixes review of long-term climate impacts Bipartisan senators propose forcing EPA to set drinking water standard for 'forever chemicals' Trump hails D-Day veterans in Normandy: 'You are the pride of our nation' MORE (Wyo.), Graham, Jim DeMint (S.C.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Officials brief Congress after Iran shoots down drone | Lawmakers fear 'grave situation' | Trump warns Iran | Senate votes to block Saudi arms sales | Bombshell confession at Navy SEAL's murder trial The 7 GOP senators who voted to block all or part of Trump's Saudi arms sale Senate votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale MORE (Utah), Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (Nev.), Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsCNN's Jake Tapper repeatedly presses Pence on whether he thinks climate change is a threat Hillicon Valley: Tim Cook visits White House | House hearing grapples with deepfake threat | Bill, Melinda Gates launch lobbying group | Tech turns to K-Street in antitrust fight | Lawsuit poses major threat to T-Mobile, Sprint merger House Intel to take first major deep dive into threat of 'deepfakes' MORE (Ind.) and Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senators divided over approach to election security Democrats make U-turn on calling border a 'manufactured crisis' GOP frets about Trump's poll numbers 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 SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' 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.