Much attention has been paid in the conservative blogasverse to the fact that the R-controlled House of Representatives has sent “lots of jobs bills” to the Senate, and the Librocommiefascist Harry Reid won’t even let them come to the floor to be considered. Thus, they say, it is the Demoroaches/Demorats/Dimtards (take your pick) who are the REAL reason that no progress is being made.
So I went to gop.gov to see.
Sure enough, they cite 27 pieces of legislation they describe as “jobs bills” that are currently in a holding pattern, awaiting action by the Senate.
Wow. So on the surface of it, that looks pretty compelling.
Until you look beneath the surface.
As with most things Republican, the reality seldom aligns with the sound bytes and talking points.
So…below is a summary of the 27 “jobs bills” passed by the House of Representatives and awaiting action by the Senate.
Bear in mind that more than 80% of business economists with NABE (sort of the AMA for small business) are of the opinion that the current regulatory climate in the USA is GOOD for Business. That is to say, despite Republican claims to the contrary (that regulations are strangling business, and are, in fact, one of the major reasons they’re not hiring), actual business owners (who work with these guys) aren’t all that concerned about the nation’s regulatory climate, and as such, making incremental adjustments TO the regulatory climate will have little, if any impact on the jobs picture.
Their conclusion is further backed up here.
However…apparently the only requirement a bill must meet in order to be considered a “jobs bill” by the R-Controlled House of Representatives is to have the word “jobs” somewhere in either the title or the executive summary.
Also note that NONE of the bills mentioned here have been scored by the CBO for an estimate on how many jobs they will create. One of the hallmarks of a jobs bill (or at least, a genuine jobs bill) is some reckoning of how many jobs will likely grow out of said bill’s passage. As such, it’s a fairly pivotal bit of information, and a GREAT selling point for the bill itself. It is curious in the extreme then, that none of these bills were so scored. One might get the impression that even the folks who submitted the bills really didn’t see them as “jobs bills” but instead, were using them as a cheap talking point, and hoping nobody would bother to check.
Nahhh….cos that’d never happen.
In any case, the summary is below:
The Republican “Jobs Bills” fall broadly into the following four categories:
Weakening Regulations and/or allowing exemptions from following them: 20
Setting Budget Caps: 1
Oil Related (overturning Obama’s moratorium, keystone, etc): 4
Land Swap to raid federal lands for resources: 1
Immigration-related (letting more skilled foreigners in): 1
Of these, I was able to identify two bills that I actually kind of agree with (the immigration one, and one of the regulatory ones, requiring a more complete study to be done), but also, of these, I can’t see many, if any that will do much to create jobs (the oil-related ones will create a few, but where offshore drilling is concerned, even that’ll come with tradeoffs – as offshore drilling increases, tourism tends to decrease (eyesore, and those areas become increasingly vulnerable to spills, etc), which will blunt any job creationeyness we see from that. Not saying it’s not worth doing, but given the state of unemployment, pointing to a few thousand oil related jobs as the magic bullet seems a bit weak. I mean…I read the list and found myself thinking…”this is it?” This is all they got? Wow. Talk about being underwhelmed. Taken as a whole, if all of these were to get voted on tomorrow, and considering the offsets (weakening regulatory agencies will likely COST jobs, as fewer agents will be required as responsibilities are scaled back), we’d be lucky to get 50k jobs out of the whole smash. Given that the R’s have also cut off emergency funding to the states, and the states are shedding about 20k jobs a month right now (they’ve been doing that all year, which is intentionally making the month to month jobs picture look worse, btw), the jobs gained don’t even make a good dent in the deficit they’ve willingly created.
Anyway, you can see the bills for yourself at GOP.gov, but I’ve included summaries below (taken from the executive summaries OF the bills)
1) HR 872 – Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2011 – Weaken clean water regs and allows more companies to be exempted from the rules
2) HR RES 37 – Disapproving the FCC with respect to regulating the internet and broadband industry practices (weaken, kill, or undermine net neutrality)
3) HR 1633 Farm Dust Prevention act of 2011 – weaken clean air regs and give big Ag a pass on having to meet the requirements
4) HR10 – All new Regs must be approved by congress (a regulating agency can’t just make new rules per its mandate…has to run everything past congress first – cos that is SURE to be more efficient!)
5) HR 910 Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 – Prohibits the EPA from regulating green house gasses under the clean air act (in an effort to get around the court ruling requiring them to do so)
6) H. Con Res 34 – Sets “appropriate” budgetary levels for fiscal years 2013 and 2021 (tries to establish Herr Ryan’s “ten year plan” and establishes arbitrary spending caps)
7) HR 1230 – Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act – force the lease sale of tracts 216, 218, 220, and 222 (central gulf (4 months), western gulf (8 months), outer continental shelf (coast of Virginia)(1 year) and central gulf (by june 1, 2012)
HR1229 – Putting the Gulf of Mexico back to work (end the moratorium on new drilling in the gulf)
9) HR 1231 – Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act (as above – why we need two, I’m not sure…maybe the R’s were running a special that day?)
10) HR 2021 Jobs and Energy Permits Act – makes revisions to the Clean Air Act to make it easier for big oil companies interested in offshore oil production in Alaska
11) HR 2018 Clean Water Cooperative federalism Act of 2011 – Amends the clean water act by restricting the EPA’s ability to issue revised water quality standards, and removes the ability of the EPA to restrict state level funding if state findings are in conflict with federal (epa) findings re: water quality.
12) HR 1315 Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011 – Further weaken Dodd/Frank
13) HR 1938 – North American Made Energy Security Act – Expedites the Keystone Pipeline
14) HR 2587 – Protecting Jobs from government Interference Act – Weakens National Labor Relations Board by removing its ability to close an employer down, or relocate or transfer employment under any circumstance (this, in response to the Boeing situation)
15) HR 2401 Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011 (TRAIN Act) – Requires additional analysis of cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the EPA. Specifically, requires the Prez to establish the Committee for the Cumulative Analysis of Regulations that Impact Energy and Manufacturing in the IS. Committee to be charged with analyzing and reporting on the cumulative and incremental impacts of covered rules and actions of the EPA concerning air, waste, water, and climate change (this, in a bid to deny climate change’s existence, and to prevent further EPA meddling in this area).
16) HR 2250 EPA Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 – Provides a legislative “stay” of four EPA rules (the “Boiler MACT rules”) that govern emissions of mercury or other hazardous air pollutants from approximately 200k boilers and incinerators nationwide. Would weaken clean air rules.
17) HR 2681 – Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act of 2011 – Weaken the EPA by providing a “stay’ against the Cement MACT rules regarding emissions standards in cement manufacturing plants.
18) HR 2273 – Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act – would utilize the framework and requirements of an existing federal regulatory program developed by the EPA under the Solid Waste Disposal Act as the basis for enforceable minimum federal standards for the regulation of a waste stream known as coal ash. Would include enforceable federal standards, but leave the actual regulation and enforcement to the states. (okay – cool, but nothing here says jobs, per se, tho it may create a few) – this bill does an end run around the EPA’s own, newly established rules, legislating them, rather than letting the agency do its thing.
19) HR 1904 Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act of 2011 – somebody found copper on public land, and big biz wants that land. Are willing to give other land with no resources under it, to get at the resources.
20) HR 1070 Small Company Capital Formation Act of 2011 – Amends SEC rules to exempt from regulation a class of securities for which the aggregate offering amount is between $5 and $50 million. This smells like trouble. A new back door to abuse. GREAT idea!
21) HR 1965 Amend Securities laws to establish thresholds for shareholder registration and for other purposes – specifically, they want to bump up the # of shareholders of record threshold here. Meh. I don’t see any particular harm at first glance (dollar threshold got changed in 1964), but note that this won’t do anything to create jobs. Why is this listed here?
22) HR 2940 – access to capital for job creators act – weakens the SEC by eliminating the restriction under reg d, sect 506 prohibiting the solicitation or advertising of a securities offering by non accredited issuers.
23) HR 2930 – Entrepreneur access to capital act – weaken the SEC by exempting certain securities from being registered ($1m or less each year, or $2m if the issuer provides certain financial info to investors)
24) Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act – weakens the national labor relations act by changing the definition of a “unit” for purposes of collective bargaining. Also puts restrictions on when pre-election hearings can take place.
25) HR3012 – Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act of 2011 – allow more high skill immigrants into the country (that’s good, yes..I agree~! I found one I like!), tho what little “job creation” comes from this will be offset by the increased immigration itself.
26) HR 527 – Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2011 – Amends the regulatory flexibility act to require federal agencies to analyze fully the impact of a new regulation on small business before the agency adopts the regulation). – sure. Why not. (again tho…no jobs here)
27) HR 3010 – Regulatory Accountability Act of 2011 – weakens regulatory agencies in general, and binds them more closely to congress (I’m not against streamlining and codifying regulatory processes, but at first glance, this is simply a play designed to hobble the very agencies that are trying to protect us, but sure…let’s have the conversation)
Update 1: The number is now up to thirty, with a rather nice debunking of the lot here. When you couple this almost lack of job creationeyness with the 700,000 estimated jobs LOST if the R’s get to adopt their preferred spending plan, you get….well, you get the idea.
Graphics Credit: http://thinkprogress.org/progress-report/paris-hilton-is-not-a-job-creator/