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Eric Cantor’s Jobs Bill Broadens Approach

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor today will introduce the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act, which includes some measures already passed by the House.

"Having Steve Case gives Cantor instant credibility on jobs," one Democratic strategist said. "But he won't have credibility on the politics until he has [Democratic leaders] standing with him."

The source suggested Cantor's bill is a shift in approach. "You think he's reading the polling that shows the GOP losing altitude on the economy?"

A Democratic House leadership aide predicted the past bipartisan support for parts of the bills means it won't attract "huge opposition" from Democrats, but the aide questioned why those parts need to be in the package since they've already passed the House.

"Yes, the component pieces have bipartisan support, and we'll need to see the final bill that's put forward, but [I] wouldn't expect huge opposition," the source said. Noting that three of the provisions had already passed the House, the aide said, "it seems like we're wasting time repassing bills that have already passed."

In past months, Republicans have pointed to several jobs bills that the House has passed that have stalled in the Senate. In response, Democrats have argued the GOP has not provided a comprehensive proposal to deal with the economy.

"Republicans still do not have a comprehensive jobs plan," House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said in January. "Instead of debating and voting on jobs bills like House Democrats' Make It In America plan, the House Republican leadership walked away from the American people and focused on an ideological and partisan agenda that had nothing to do with getting Americans back to work."

Cantor's package would seem, on its face, to address the charge, simply because it includes a series of provisions rather than broaching a single topic.

But Democrats vigorously objected to calling the package "comprehensive."

A second House Democratic leadership aide asked, "How can you call it 'comprehensive' if they're taking three bills that have already passed the House and putting them together and giving it a new name?"

"While pieces do have Democratic support, that doesn't make this a comprehensive jobs package. Just saying it doesn't make it so," the first aide said.

Meanwhile, a Senate Democratic leadership aide said the Senate intends to take up similar measures "in the coming weeks and months."

The aide said that the Senate will pass its own versions and that Senate Democrats "hope to work House Republicans to get the bills signed into law."

"We have been planning to do this all along," the aide said.

Details of the Senate measures are still being determined but will draw from some of the proposals put forward by House Republicans, including allowing small businesses to receive a 20 percent tax deduction, as well as other capital formation initiatives.

Humberto Sanchez contributed to this report.

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