In a sunny meeting room at Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel yesterday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) addressed a select group of Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce members about what the House is doing to stimulate the economy. Even with fresh news that Virginia’s economy seems to be recovering, the folks in the room are at the mercy of the national economy. They want to know what Congress is doing to clean that stable.
Cantor gave them a three-point plan. One of them has already passed the House — the Jobs Act. Another, which Cantor is set to roll out next week, is a proposed 20 percent tax cut for small businesses. The third is likely to be a series of bills aimed at curbing what Cantor called “overly aggressive” regulation, particularly environmental strictures that conservatives view as being motivated by ideology, not science.
But this being Congress, even the issues the parties agree upon are fodder for dispute. Take the Jobs Act.
The measure, which would ease some of the Sarbanes-Oxley rules for start-ups to ease their access to capital, passed the House 390-23. It earned praise from the White House and even murmurs of assent from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). But that was last week. Since then, Reid has toyed with the idea of adding an extension of the Export-Import Bank to the legislation. The cover is that the Ex-Im Bank helps spur American exports. The reality is that many Senate conservatives see the bank as corporate welfare and want it eliminated. Attaching this extension to the Jobs Act gives Reid leverage over the rest of the bill and a nice talking point (see, Democrats really are on corporate America’s side) and splits the GOP between its corporatist and populist wings.
That’s quite a trifecta. But it gets better. If the Jobs Act grinds to a halt in the Senate, as so many other House-approved economic measures have, it’s Republicans who will be saddled with the blame.
When I asked Cantor about this yesterday, he said the bank’s renewal was a separate issue and should be dealt with as such.
But that, too, was yesterday…
[Continue reading Norman Leahy’s post at Bearing Drift.]
Norman Leahy blogs at Bearing Drift. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.