Feb. 7, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Republicans Shift Focus From Jobs to God

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Randy Forbes recently introduced legislation to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the nation’s official motto.

But for the most part, even those sorts of measures have had a jobs or spending connection, regardless of how tangential. The abortion bill would have restricted federal funding for abortions. The light bulb measure was cast as a jobs proposal on the grounds that it could reduce costs to small business.

But there is no connection between the In God We Trust resolution and the GOP’s jobs and economy agenda.

It can even be argued that the resolution, when considering Congressional overhead, will cost taxpayers. According to a June Congressional Research Service report, when the House is in session it costs the public $53,534 per day — or $8,360 per hour — in House floor costs. But, as CRS notes, that estimate is extremely conservative, because it does not include “leadership and member salaries, member and committee staff salaries, staff employment benefits, utilities, Architect of the Capitol support staff, and costs associated with the media galleries,” which CRS calls “substantial.”

With a base salary for lawmakers of $174,000 and slightly higher pay for Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Cantor and Pelosi, the public spends more than $77 million every year on Congressional salaries. If the House stays on schedule to be in session a total of 128 days this year, taxpayers spend roughly $592,000 per legislative day on Members’ salaries.

With three items scheduled to be voted on Tuesday, the total cost of just Members’ salaries and CRS’ estimated floor operating costs means the resolution will cost at least $215,183.

Cantor and other top Republican leaders have repeatedly criticized Obama and Senate Democrats for not taking more steps to address the economy and have spent significant time pursuing their jobs agenda.

Cantor has held weekly votes on deregulatory bills, and Republicans have had significant successes in making federal spending a top issue.

Cantor and Boehner have also placed new emphasis on moving legislation they believe can make it past the Senate and become law — including last week’s tax withholding bill and this week’s package of capital formation bills.

Also, Cantor has made jobs a personal mantra, hanging placards around his office that say “Are my efforts addressing job creation and the economy; are they reducing spending; and are they shrinking the size of the Federal Government while increasing and protecting liberty? If not, why am I doing it? Why are WE doing it?”

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