House Republican leaders are recasting their message on economic issues to highlight the effects of those policies on job creation, in hopes of recapturing the momentum that they fear they are losing.
GOP leaders have recently begun inserting the word “jobs” into talking points, floor statements and press conferences. They acknowledge that they haven’t done a good enough job framing the current debate over spending as an economic issue.
“We’ve always said it was about jobs and spending ... [but] sometimes we’re not always the best at explaining” the connection, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) acknowledged Friday, adding that “that’s why we’re emphasizing it” more now.
Democrats have been hammering Republicans for weeks for choosing massive spending cuts over job creation. And they have told their Members to use every debate to talk about jobs and the economy.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor seems to be trying to set an example for the Republican Conference to make a messaging course correction. In a statement last week, the Virginia lawmaker crowed about how his caucus’s 1099 health care reporting bill was a win for jobs.
“Today, the House took another step to make it easier for our small businesses to grow and create jobs by repealing the onerous 1099 provision. This needless tax compliance mandate included in the ill-conceived ObamaCare law bogs down businesses in paperwork, creating yet another hoop for them to jump through, instead of allowing them to focus on growing their business and creating jobs,” Cantor said in a statement.
Speaking to reporters last week, Cantor maintained that the GOP’s plan to cut billions in the federal budget was critical to producing jobs. “We are here to try and cut spending and to live within our means, and we think that is an essential step toward creating an environment for job creation in the private sector,” he said.
The Majority Leader also argued that in addition to the continuing resolution to set spending levels going forward, other legislation like the upcoming budget resolution will be designed “to help keep our fiscal house in order and to help jobs grow in the private sector.”
Other issues, like the sudden gas price spike, are also being linked to job creation. Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) on Thursday argued that an upcoming Republican energy proposal “will work to help lower gas prices, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create new jobs. We made a pledge to the American people to tackle this problem — and we’re going to keep that pledge.”
And on Wednesday, Chief Deputy Majority Whip Peter Roskam (Ill.) will moderate a forum with the business community and GOP leaders that will focus specifically on job creation.
According to a release, the forum will “provide a meaningful discussion between Members of Congress and job creators representing businesses small and large as well as various regions and industries including the energy, technology, health and financial sectors.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.