Larson, Blumenthal Push To Add Jobs To Supercommittee Agenda
U.S. Rep. John Larson isn’t giving up on his desire to get job creation onto the agenda of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or create his own select committee on job creation.
Holding his second conference call with reporters in two weeks, Larson, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, talked about his desire to add a jobs plan to the mandate of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or create a separate, but similar committee tasked with tackling job creation.
The legislation Larson introduced will put job creation on par with deficit reduction.
However, when the 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was formed during the debate on the debt ceiling, their focus was on reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion.
“Job creation equals deficit reduction,” Larson said. “We know that because the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] has stated that by dropping the unemployment rate, putting people back to work will lower the deficit by as much as 25 percent.”
He said that’s why he’s introduced legislation that can accomplish that goal in a timely manner that coincides with the mission of the bipartisan supercommittee. He said the other option is to amend the supercommittee’s agenda to include job creation or increase the committee by four members and mandate that those members create a jobs plan.
“What we’re attempting to do with our legislation is amend that process to engage and have job creation be a part of that same timeline with the same triggers except in this case the trigger is to have an up or down vote in Congress on the plan the committee is charged with adopting,“ Larson said.
He said President Barack Obama’s jobs bill, which he urged Congress to take up last week in his speech, is subject to a cloture vote in the Senate and it’s not a clear up or down vote in the House of Representatives without amendment.
By using the supercommittee as a vehicle for job creation, Larson seeks to cut through the traditional legislative process and all the hurdles that go along with it.
“What this legislation does here is it breaches this partisan divide,” Larson said. “And it does so by having a fail-safe mechanism that is in the final analysis a trigger, or an up or down vote that irrespective of what the committee does.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has agreed to take up Larson’s legislation in the Senate.
“We need to break the legislative logjam and we need Congress to focus urgently and immediately on job creation,” Blumenthal said Monday. “Not to say deficit reduction isn’t a worthwhile goal, but it has to be balanced with a focus on job creation.”
He said the jobs super committee would guarantee up or down votes on specific proposals, which may be impossible right now because of the rules in the Senate and perhaps the House as well.
Larson said he’s had interest from about a dozen Republicans on the legislation, but none have made a commitment yet to support it.
Republicans seem to be concluding deficit reduction equals job creation, not the other way around.
Republicans on the committee seem to believe finding $1.5 trillion to cut from the budget will be hard enough without adding job creation to their plates. The president already proposed a more than $450 billion job creation plan the committee will have to find funding for.