As Congress prepares to return from its summer recess and President Obama rolls up his sleeves after a vacation in Martha's Vineyard, there is one question on people's minds. What are they going to do about JOBS?
Without a doubt, Americans remain very concerned about the nation's current economic conditions and jobs (or lack thereof). And they are looking to Washington for leadership, not continued bipartisan sniping. While the private sector will, as it always has, lead the renewed push for jobs, businesses remain plagued with uncertainty about regulations, the U.S. debt crisis, and every other factor that impacts a complex global economy, and they, too, cast a wary eye to Washington. And so we enter the ring this fall for the Battle of Job Creation Proposals.
In one corner, you have House Republicans, who promise a two-pronged approach to creating middle class jobs: (1) repeal "job-destroying" regulations and (2) cut taxes. According to a memorandum written to House Republicans by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House will look to repeal or delay several specific regulations and pass comprehensive legislation to effectively require congressional approval of costly regulations. They also will focus on repealing a requirement for federal, state, and local governments to withhold 3 percent of all government payments made to contractors in excess of $100 million and on adopting a proposal to allow small businesses a tax deduction equal to 20% of their income.
In the other corner, President Obama has requested a Joint Session of Congress on September 7 to lay out his administration's agenda for job creation. Some ideas mentioned previously by the administration include the creation of an "infrastructure bank" to make loans to support highway and rail construction projects; extension of payroll-tax cuts; implementation a new tax credit for businesses that hire new employees; extension of unemployment benefits; improvements in access to rural broadband connections; investment in energy-related jobs; and others. Many of these will find their way into President Obama's address next week.
There will be common ground on some proposals, such as reforming the patent process and adopting several free trade agreements. On others, though, a fight is expected.
Will the anemic economic recovery and projected continued high unemployment force the administration, Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work together? Will it make much difference? Place your bets now and prepare yourself for a grueling 12 rounds.