Senate GOP Unveils Jobs Bill Retread

Posted October 13, 2011 at 3:27pm

Senate Republicans irritated by attacks from President Barack Obama and Democrats that they don’t have a jobs plan of their own unveiled one today and called for a “conversation” with the president.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced the package, which appears nearly identical to an earlier GOP jobs agenda except it is now in legislative form. McCain said all but a handful of Republicans have signed on.

“Part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal,” McCain said. “We have lots of proposals, and we’ve had lots of proposals.”

The plan would put a moratorium on regulations, repeal the health care and financial reform laws, and streamline permitting for energy exploration and mining — all initiatives the GOP has been proposing all year.

The plan also calls for enacting a tax reform package with a maximum tax rate of 25 percent — far below the current maximum rate of 35 percent, which is scheduled to increase to 39.6 percent in 2013.

The Republicans also embraced reform of the corporate tax code to encourage repatriation of profits, an idea that has support and critics in both the liberal and conservative camps. Repatriation would allow multinational corporations to bring earnings back to the United States at a reduced tax rate. Unlike a Democratic proposal to have a one-time repatriation tax holiday, the GOP plan would permanently reform the corporate tax code.

“We’ll be glad to sit down and talk under any circumstances,” McCain said.

But the Arizona Republican made clear that raising taxes wouldn’t be part of any deal. “Now am I supposed to sit down and compromise and say in the name of compromise, ‘I’m going to raise your taxes?’ No, I can’t do that, because I made a commitment to the people that allowed me to come here and represent them,” he said.

Paul called for a “conversation” with the president on what to do on jobs and for more conversations between the parties, instead of Obama going on the campaign trail asking Congress to pass his bill as he has been doing for about a month now. Paul contended that the GOP plan would create 5 million jobs and said that every time marginal tax rates have been reduced, economic growth has accelerated.

The plan is based on a package put together earlier this year by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a member of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction. Portman said that Obama’s jobs proposal is a “short-term sweetener approach” that has already failed.