Hoyer Unveils Democrats’ New Jobs Push

Posted July 20, 2010 at 12:15pm

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Tuesday a broad jobs initiative — dubbed the “Make It in America Agenda” — that Democrats plan to pursue in the runup to the November midterms.

The Maryland Democrat was short on specifics but said he has been discussing the agenda with members of the Democratic Caucus. The initiative, which consists of 18 to 20 bills, would focus on expanding the manufacturing base and encouraging people to make goods in the United States, Hoyer said.

A Democratic leadership aide said Democrats would “be announcing in the coming days which bills are a part of the agenda.”

Rather than an entirely new initiative, the move appears to represent an attempt by House Democrats to regain their footing on employment and the economy as plank after plank of their jobs agenda has stalled in the Senate, most notably a tax extenders bill that Democrats touted as an initiative to close “loopholes” and prevent jobs from moving overseas.

“If we make it in America in terms of products, more people will make it in America in terms of success,” Hoyer said, adding that Democrats’ Make It in America Agenda would elicit strong public support.

“They want to see us making more things,” Hoyer said. “They want to see manufacturing expand. They know that if we’re going to grow the economy, it’s going to be because we make more things and sell more things to the rest of the world.”

The first component of the agenda is a bill the House is slated to take up this week that aims to boost U.S. manufacturing.

Hoyer said he also expected the House to take final action Wednesday on legislation that would restore extended unemployment benefits until Nov. 1. That effort stalled in the Senate while Democrats waited for a replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). House action would clear the measure for President Barack Obama’s signature.

In a direct slap at Republicans, Hoyer was the latest Democrat to seize on comments made by National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) on Sunday on “Meet the Press.”

Sessions said the country needed to return to “the exact same agenda” that promoted free-market ideals.

Democrats have jumped on the comment as evidence that Republicans — if they make gains in November — would revert to the economic policies of President George W. Bush, which Democrats say prompted the recent financial crisis.

“That’s the exact same agenda that they want to replicate,” Hoyer said. “I don’t think that’s what the American people want to do. … They want to move this country forward, not backward. Not back to Bush.”