John Boehner's '46 Jobs Bills' Claim Is a Damn Twisted Joke

John Boehner keeps pimping claims that have no basis in reality.
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John Boehner keeps pimping claims that have no basis in reality.
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Following the Democrats' disastrous defeat in the 2014 midterms, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) rolled out his big new plans in a Wall Street Journal op-ed and in a press conference Thursday afternoon. At that press conference, Boehner predictably warned President Obama of acting on immigration, urging him instead to "rebuild trust" with the Republican House whose leader wouldn't allow a vote on an immigration bill that had enough votes to pass. Here's Boehner's idea of rebuilding trust, from that his op-ed:

Looking ahead to the next Congress, we will honor the voters’ trust by focusing, first, on jobs and the economy. Among other things, that means a renewed effort to debate and vote on the many bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support, but were never even brought to a vote by the Democratic Senate majority. It also means renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.

All of the good news about Obamacare notwithstanding, Boehner did make the devastating point that Obamacare is a "job-killer," but unfortunately, Kinko's must have been closed, because Boehner lacked the appropriate visual aid to bring it home. Here's one he can use at his next presser that shows month-to-month job growth since the implementation of Obamacare:

jobkiller

via Bureau of Labor Statistics

He wound up the presser with a talking point that's gotten a heavy, largely unchallenged workout from the Beltway media:

"Let's take the 46 jobs bills that are sitting in the United States Senate, that have been held up by the Democrat majority in the Senate, almost all of those passed the House on a bipartisan basis."

Yes, let's take them. I'd like to think that if Boehner hadn't walked off after that question, someone from the Beltway press would have challenged him on that claim, but alas, that task is left to us.

Appropriately enough, if you Google "46 jobs bills," the top result is a page at the Speaker's website that's labeled "Jobs" Bills -- Speaker.gov. Those scare-quotes aren't mine, but they are accurate, because the 46 bills that Boehner lists are a bad joke. Unlike President Obama's American Jobs Act, which the CBO said would reduce he deficit and create over a million jobs, Boehner's bills are a collection of cynical, Orwellian repackagings of terrible Republican ideas that have nothing to do with creating jobs. The "Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act," for example, guts federal protections of federal lands, and promises only to restore employment and educational opportunities" by "ensuring that such counties have a dependable source of revenue from National Forest System Land."

It doesn't actually create any jobs, just a chance for states to plug budget holes (created by tax cuts, in many cases) by selling off federal land resources. There are also a mess of measures to repeal all or part of Obamacare, which would presumably un-kill the hundreds of thousands of jobs Obamacare didn't kill. My favorite of these, though, is the "Hire More Heroes Act," which is supposed to create jobs for U.S, military veterans. Kind of like the tax credit President Obama signed in 2011, and that Congress allowed to expire.

It's not really like that, though, because what the "Hire More Heroes Act" really does is literally make it so vets don't count:

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow employers to exempt employees with health coverage under TRICARE or the Veterans Administration from being taken into account for purposes of the employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Set aside the questionable logic here that job creators love the troops so much that they'd hire them if only they didn't have to give them health insurance, and just consider the maximum practical impact of the law if that were true. This law would only incentivize an employer who had exactly 49 employees, and whose 50th job applicant happened to be a veteran. Any more or less than that, and the bill doesn't reward hiring vets at all. What it does do is reward bosses who have already hired vets, by allowing them to drop those vets' health coverage, and everyone else's.

There are also attacks on welfare, and other standard Republican goodies, but curiously, none of them includes a CBO score explaining how any jobs they'll create. The CBO did score the Repeal Obamacare Act, and even sent Boehner a letter explaining that the repeal bill would increase the federal budget deficit by $109 billion.

You won't hear Boehner selling that with his "jobs" bills.

Here is the full text of the Boehner/McConnell op-ed, via Speaker.gov:

Boehner/McConnell Op-Ed: "Now We Can Get Congress Going"
November 5, 2014|Speaker Boehner's Press Office

By John Boehner and Mitch McConnell
The Wall Street Journal
Nov. 5, 2014 7:12 p.m. ET

Americans have entrusted Republicans with control of both the House and Senate. We are humbled by this opportunity to help struggling middle-class Americans who are clearly frustrated by an increasing lack of opportunity, the stagnation of wages, and a government that seems incapable of performing even basic tasks.

Looking ahead to the next Congress, we will honor the voters’ trust by focusing, first, on jobs and the economy. Among other things, that means a renewed effort to debate and vote on the many bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support, but were never even brought to a vote by the Democratic Senate majority. It also means renewing our commitment to repeal ObamaCare, which is hurting the job market along with Americans’ health care.

For years, the House did its job and produced a steady stream of bills that would remove barriers to job creation and lower energy costs for families. Many passed with bipartisan support—only to gather dust in a Democratic-controlled Senate that kept them from ever reaching the president’s desk. Senate Republicans also offered legislation that was denied consideration despite bipartisan support and benefits for American families and jobs.

These bills provide an obvious and potentially bipartisan starting point for the new Congress—and, for President Obama , a chance to begin the final years of his presidency by taking some steps toward a stronger economy.

We’ll also consider legislation to help protect and expand America’s emerging energy boom and to support innovative charter schools around the country.These bills include measures authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will mean lower energy costs for families and more jobs for American workers; the Hire More Heroes Act, legislation encouraging employers to hire more of our nation’s veterans; and a proposal to restore the traditional 40-hour definition of full-time employment, removing an arbitrary and destructive government barrier to more hours and better pay created by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Enacting such measures early in the new session will signal that the logjam in Washington has been broken, and help to establish a foundation of certainty and stability that both parties can build upon.

At a time of growing anxiety for the American people, with household incomes stubbornly flat and the nation facing rising threats on multiple fronts, this is vital work.

Will these bills single-handedly turn around the economy? No. But taking up bipartisan bills aimed at helping the economy that have already passed the House is a sensible and obvious first step.

More good ideas aimed at helping the American middle class will follow. And as we work to persuade others of their merit, we won’t repeat the mistakes made when a different majority ran Congress in the first years of Barack Obama’s presidency, attempting to reshape large chunks of the nation’s economy with massive bills that few Americans have read and fewer understand.

Instead, we will restore an era in which committees in both the House and Senate conduct meaningful oversight of federal agencies and develop and debate legislation; and where members of the minority party in both chambers are given the opportunity to participate in the process of governing.

We will oversee a legislature in which “bigger” isn’t automatically equated with “better” when it comes to writing and passing bills.

Our priorities in the 114th Congress will be your priorities. That means addressing head-on many of the most pressing challenges facing the country, including:

• The insanely complex tax code that is driving American jobs overseas;

• Health costs that continue to rise under a hopelessly flawed law that Americans have never supported;

• A savage global terrorist threat that seeks to wage war on every American;

• An education system that denies choice to parents and denies a good education to too many children;

• Excessive regulations and frivolous lawsuits that are driving up costs for families and preventing the economy from growing;

• An antiquated government bureaucracy ill-equipped to serve a citizenry facing 21st-century challenges, from disease control to caring for veterans;

• A national debt that has Americans stealing from their children and grandchildren, robbing them of benefits that they will never see and leaving them with burdens that will be nearly impossible to repay.

January will bring the opportunity to begin anew. Republicans will return the focus to the issues at the top of your priority list. Your concerns will be our concerns. That’s our pledge.

The skeptics say nothing will be accomplished in the next two years. As elected servants of the people, we will make it our job to prove the skeptics wrong.

Mr. Boehner (R., Ohio), is the House speaker; Mr. McConnell (R., Ky.) is currently the Senate minority leader.