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Republicans Pivot Back to a Jobs Agenda

Tom Williams/Roll Call
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the GOP will propose a job growth initiative later this week.

There has also been unrest within the Conference as some Members try to distance themselves from their initial support for Ryan’s plan, which has become increasingly unpopular. In one example, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) refused to bring up portions of the Ryan proposal in committee because Senate Democrats would not pass the plan.

Leadership aides said Monday that the new jobs proposal will have the full support of the Conference and builds both on the Republicans’ Pledge to America and Cantor’s own “cut and grow” message, as well as work being done at the committee level.

Republicans also seem to be taking cues from their Democratic counterparts, who veered from the jobs agenda in the lead-up to the 2010 midterm elections and scrambled to put together a series of bills in an effort to refocus on the issue. But Democrats’ own “Make It in America” agenda did not curry any favor with voters in last year’s historic elections, and it remains unclear whether Republicans will find success in their latest venture.

“Republicans in the House have done a great job tackling deficits and debt, but they will have to successfully couple their efforts with a pro-growth platform,” a GOP strategist said. “People inside the Beltway tend to forget that the 2010 election was about jobs and the economy. This agenda is about living up to the promises Republicans made in the runup to the election.”

Just as Republicans criticized Democrats during the 111th Congress for not doing enough to grow jobs, the new Democratic minority this year has blasted the GOP for doing little. Democrats also prodded the majority earlier this month for failing to take on the issue of rising gas prices, another pressing matter for constituents across the country.

“Americans won’t buy GOP attempts to try to turn the page on their ideological agenda and spin their way out of the fact that they voted to end Medicare and give tax breaks to Big Oil while ignoring jobs for more than four months,” said Drew Hammill, spokesman for Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

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