When it comes to creating jobs, the contrast is clear: Democrats fought to pass legislation creating or saving millions of American jobs, while Republicans fought to protect tax breaks for CEOs who ship American jobs overseas and tried to kill every job-creating piece of legislation that has come before Congress in the past two years.
When President Obama took office last year, millions of American families and the nation as a whole were facing an economic catastrophe brought on by years of failed Republican fiscal policies. On the heels of having averted a second Great Depression through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (P.L. 111-5), Senate Democrats continue fighting to create American jobs, strengthen our economy, and stand up for the middle class. [New York Times, 7/28/10]
In contrast, Republicans are pushing a job-killing agenda that includes opposition to tax cuts for small businesses, opposition to clean energy jobs, and opposition to closing tax loopholes exploited by multinational corporations.
This fact sheet provides a few examples of the pro-jobs proposals that Republicans have tried to kill in the 111th Congress.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report in May 2010, the positive change in employment attributable to the Recovery Act over the 4 year period from 2009-2012 is estimated to be 2.9 million to 7.7 million jobs. From 2009 through this year alone, CBO reported that the positive change in employment is an estimated 1.8 million to 4.4 million jobs. [CBO, Table 1, 5/2010]
On July 14, 2010, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) announced that the Recovery Act is already responsible for 2.5 to 3.6 million – or about3 million – jobs, including 820,000 public investment jobs. Of these 820,000 public investment jobs, 190,000 jobs are in the clean energy sector. [CEA, 7/14/10; White House, 7/14/10]
It should be noted that if the Senate Republicans’ job-killing agenda had successfully obstructed the Recovery Act, their home states would have been denied over 1.3 million jobs created and saved as a result of this legislation. [CEA, 7/14/10; Appendix Table 1]
The following information provides highlights of some of the job creating components of the Recovery Act that Republicans nearly killed by opposing the legislation.
Recovery Act: Focus on Information Technology Investments
The Recovery Act included nearly $40 billion in investments in the information technology network (IT) infrastructure, including broadband, health IT, and a smarter energy grid. More than 100 high-tech CEOs and business leaders estimated these investments will create more than 949,000 U.S. jobs, more than half of which will be in small businesses, while stimulating the economy and accelerating long-term growth. [Technology CEO Council, 1/21/09]
Recovery Act: Focus on Surface Transportation Programs
According to American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) estimates, the Recovery Act created or sustained 316,000 direct, supporting, and induced transportation related jobs across the country. [AASHTO, 2/9/10; AASHTO Update, 7/20/10]
Recovery Act: Focus on Transit and Rail
The Recovery Act included funding for public transit and rail systems to reduce traffic congestion, maintain services for commuters, and lessen our dependence on foreign oil. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimates that this funding supported and created more than 200,000 jobs through both capital investment and up to 10 percent of funding for operating expenses. [APTA, 4/1/10]
Recovery Act: Focus on the TANF Emergency Fund
Created by the Recovery Act, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund is a significant resource for states to create subsidized jobs in the private and public sectors. By September, more than 240,000 adults and youth who would otherwise be unemployed will have been placed in jobs subsidized by this Fund. The program has been so successful that it has drawn praise from employers in the private and public sectors, policy experts, and state officials across the country. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/26/10] Unfortunately, in addition to opposing the Recovery Act, Senate Republicans killed an extension of the Fund’s wage-assistance for employers beyond September 30, 2010 when they blocked the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act (H.R.4213). [Roll Call Votes 190, 194]
Recovery Act: Focus on Biomedical Research
The Recovery Act provided $10 billion to fund National Institutes of Health research and research-related activities. Research!America reported that this investment in NIH could create 70,000 jobs in the near-term and boost the economy of every state, since most NIH funding is distributed to colleges, universities, and research institutions across the country. Each dollar invested in research produces more than double that amount in economic output. [Research!America, 2/12/09; Reuters, 2/17/09]
Recovery Act: Focus on Teachers
By the fourth quarter of 2009, the Recovery Act funding for U.S. Department of Education programs was already responsible for creating and saving 400,000 public service jobs, including 325,000 teachers. [NYT, 10/30/09; Dept. of Education, 11/2/09]
Recovery Act: Focus on Early Childhood Education
The Recovery Act provides $2.1 billion for the Head Start and Early Head Start early childhood education programs. This money was projected to allow an additional 124,000 low-income infants and children to participate in these programs and also create 50,000 new early education jobs. [US News & World Report, 2/18/09]
Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act
Senate Republicans largely opposed creating a new payroll tax exemption for businesses that hire American workers, a fully paid-for proposal designed to boost private-sector job growth. [P.L. 111-147; Roll Call Votes 25 and 55]
At the time of passage, the job-creating payroll tax exemption, which was designed to apply if the hired worker had been unemployed for two months, was projected to result in 300,000 new jobs. [The Hill, 2/18/10]
On August 2, 2010, the Treasury Department reported that from February 2010 to June 2010, businesses hired an estimated 5.6 million new workers who had been unemployed for eight weeks or longer, making those businesses eligible to receive HIRE Act tax exemptions and credits. [Department of Treasury, 8/2/10]
HIRE Act: Focus on Surface Transportation Programs
The HIRE Act also included an extension of the nation’s existing surface transportation law through the end of the year and replenishment of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). As such, Republican opposition to the HIRE Act also jeopardized surface transportation programs. The replenishment of the HTF was especially important: the Department of Transportation estimated at the time that the HTF was due to run short of funds in June 2010 and would be unable to fully meet its obligations by August. Without a solvent HTF, the federal government would not have been able to fully reimburse states for work completed on federal transportation projects through the end of this year.
In terms of job creation, AASHTO projected that if an extension had not been approved and the surface transportation programs had been forced to shut down at the end of February for the rest of this year, approximately one million jobs would have been lost. [Congressional Record, 3/2/10, Chart on Page S.916; Roll Call Votes 25 and 55]
American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010
The rejection of the bicameral Senate-House compromise in June 2010 was particularly egregious because various provisions of this legislation would have helped save or create well over a million critically needed jobs in the near term. [Economic Policy Institute, 5/25/10 and July 2010; Roll Call Vote 190]
It should also be noted that by opposing the American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, Senate Republicans opposed ending tax loophole giveaways to multinational corporations that encourage American jobs to be moved offshore. In addition, the bill would have significantly scaled back a tax planning method exploited by wealthy investment fund managers to pay taxes on their compensation at lower rates taxes than other services providers, like teachers and firefighters. [S.Amdt.4369 and S.Amdt.4386; Roll Call Votes 194 and 200]
American Jobs Act: Focus on Unemployment Insurance
Senate Republicans’ job-killing agenda has had an especially harsh impact on out-of-work Americans who depend on unemployment benefits as a lifeline. [Roll Call Votes 47, 48, 194, 200, 204, 209, 215] On June 30, July 20, and July 21, when the Senate voted on the most recent version of an Unemployment Insurance extension bill (S.Amdt.4425 to H.R.4213), the GOP again tried to filibuster this crucial legislation at the expense of Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Despite the Republicans’ obstructionism, Senate Democrats finally secured passage of this bill on July 21, 2010 and sent it on its way to the House and finally to the President for his signature. [Roll Call Vote 215]
According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), this version of the unemployment benefits bill (S.Amdt.4425) will create 530,000 new payroll jobs and additional work-hours for current workers, for a total of 785,000 full-time equivalent positions in the near term. Assistance to the unemployed is spent quickly on necessities, such as rent, groceries, and other basic needs, increasing economic activity and saving and creating jobs throughout the economy. [EPI, 7/14/10 and 7/15/10]
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Senate Republicans fought to kill the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, landmark legislation that ensures quality affordable health coverage for all Americans. [P.L. 111-148; Roll Call Votes 353, 395, 396] According to a January 2010 study by Harvard University and University of Southern California economists, health reform could create savings that will allow employers to create 250,000 to 400,000 new jobs a year, or 2.5 million to 4 million jobs over the next decade. [Center for American Progress; PIRG; White House]
Cash for Clunkers
In an effort to boost auto sales and promote higher vehicle fuel economy, Congress passed legislation on June 24, 2009 to establish the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act (CARS) program, commonly known as “Cash for Clunkers.” The initial $1 billion appropriation for CARS received an overwhelming response from consumers and auto dealerships. The response was so strong that within the first week of the programs, the Obama Administration notified Congress that the initial appropriation would soon be exhausted.
When Congress allocated $2 billion from previously appropriated funds to ensure the program further boosted auto sales and promoted higher vehicle fuel economy, Senate Republicans largely opposed the legislation (H.R.3435). [Roll Call Vote 270]
In December 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported to Congress that the CARS program created or saved an estimated 60,000 jobs. [NHTSA, December 2009] Across the entire automotive supply chain, Cash for Clunkers was projected to potentially generate or maintain hundreds of thousands of jobs. [Center for American Progress, 3/23/09]
Small Business Jobs and Credit Act
Senate Republicans continue to oppose the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297), legislation that will enable America’s small businesses to secure the capital they need to grow and create jobs. According to the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), the small business lending facility and the small business tax cuts in this legislation could create half a million jobs over the next two years. [ICBA, 7/21/10]
The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act includes other pro-jobs measures as well. In particular, the bill’s trade and export promotion provision leverages more than $1 billion in export capital for small businesses, creating or saving as many as 40,000 to 50,000 jobs in the U.S. in 2010. Another provision would allow the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ease funding requirements for Women’s Business Centers and microloan intermediaries, which provide assistance to underserved communities to start and grow small businesses. This microloan program is estimated to create or save more than 10,000 jobs in Fiscal Year 2011. The Small Business Jobs and Credit Act also contains federal contracting reforms that will increase contracts to Main Street businesses. This is a key piece because a one percent increase in contracts to small businesses could create more than 100,000 jobs. [Senate Finance Committee, 7/22/10; Senate Small Business Committee, 7/29/10]
To the dismay of the small business community, most of the Senate Republican conference voted against even proceeding to the bill on June 29, 2010. [Roll Call Vote 202] Senate Republicans again opposed this pro-jobs legislation on July 22, voting to specifically kill a new Small Business Lending Fund, and unanimously rejected the bill on July 28. [Roll Call Votes 218 and 221]
Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act
The Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Spill Accountability Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, will create clean energy jobs, as well as save consumers money, increase energy efficiency, hold BP accountable for the oil spill disaster, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. Specifically, this legislation will create the Home Star program to provide rebates to homeowners who retrofit their homes with energy-efficient equipment and materials. This program would create as many as 168,000 American construction jobs over the next two years, according to the Alliance to Save Energy. [Alliance to Save Energy, 7/27/10] Furthermore, the natural gas industry estimates that the production of natural gas vehicles under the Democratic bill will create more than 100,000 direct manufacturing and labor jobs and more than 450,000 indirect jobs. Despite the crucial and needed benefits of this legislation, Senate Republicans announced that they intend to oppose the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Spill Accountability Act. [CNBC, 7/18/10]