A group of Senate Republicans marched out their own jobs plan Thursday in a direct challenge to President Obama, who has been blasting Congress for not passing his jobs bill.
Republican senators John McCain and Rand Paul introduced the “Jobs Through Growth Act” at a press briefing Thursday afternoon, calling for a host of regulatory and spending measures they say will spur job growth in the country.
The agenda includes many ideas Republicans have already floated, such as a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, a reduced corporate income tax and line-item veto power for the president, which would allow the White House to nix aspects of a bill without vetoing the entire thing.
“We were tired of Obama campaigning around saying we don’t have we don’t have a jobs plan when we’ve had one for nine months,” Sen. Paul said. “So we codified it into a bill.”
President Obama has been touring the country castigating what he calls a “do-nothing Congress” — especially Republicans — for not passing his $447 billion jobs bill. The president’s jobs bill was killed on the floor of the Senate last night by Republicans, and Democrats must now try to advance it piece by piece.
McCain said there are some parts of the president’s bill Republicans are willing to consider, but ultimately the problem comes down to a “fundamental philosophic difference.”
“[Democrats] believe that government and spending creates jobs,” McCain said. “We believe business and growth creates jobs.” (RELATED: Jackson: Obama should declare a ‘national emergency,’ add jobs with ‘extra-constitutional’ action)
On the tax front, the Republican proposal calls for reducing the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent, reducing individual income tax rates to a maximum of 25 percent (with no more than three marginal rates) and creating a permanent incentive for companies to bring overseas earnings back to the U.S.
Republicans are also calling for an end to “job-killing regulations.” The proposal would also repeal Obama’s health care reform and put a moratorium on all federal regulations until the unemployment rate reaches pre-recession levels.
“This is a pro-growth proposal to create the environment for jobs,” said Republican Sen. Rob Portman. “And that’s as opposed to the short-term, sweetener approach of the Obama administration that simply hasn’t worked.”
Along with a balanced budget amendment and line-item veto power, it would lift prohibitions on offshore energy exploration and allow the president to speed up free trade agreements.
Republicans stressed they were willing to sit down and negotiate, and that it is the White House that is being obstinate. However, the jobs bill put forward by Republicans contains none of the measures contained in Obama’s alternative plan.
Meanwhile, President Obama said today that he would not negotiate with Republicans unless they addressed some of the issues in his jobs bill, such as infrastructure spending and cutting payroll taxes.
“We are happy to work with Republicans where they are willing to put politics behind the issues that are important to the American people,” Obama said.
Until then, Obama said, he will work with Senate Democrats to advance pieces of his jobs plan.