For some time now, Dems have been trying to find a way to get the new Congressional “super committee” on deficit reduction to also focus on jobs. The idea is that job creation — in addition to being urgently needed — can also help with deficit reduction.
I’ve now got some new detail on how Dems will try to make this happen — a plan that’s likely to intensify pressure on Republicans to go along with the idea. Dem Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, who’s been spearheading this plan, just laid out the game plan for me.
Larson had previously been pushing for a second super-committee on job creation to be set up independent of the committee on deficit reduction.
But now, Larson and other senior Dems are also gravitating towards several new proposals to get the current super-committee to adopt job creation as a core mission, along with deficit reduction. This basic idea already has broad support among Congressional Dems.
Larson and Dems plan to introduce several proposals next week along these lines to amend the current law creating the super-committee — and they will ask Congress to pick from among them. One proposal would simply amend the super-committee’s current mission to include job creation. The second would ask each of the four Congressional leaders to appoint one more person to the committee, bringing its membership to 16 — and create a sub-committee on job creation that would produce a jobs proposal as part of the final deficit reduction package.
Here’s the interesting part: Both those proposals would require that the “trigger” also kick in if the committee fails to agree on a jobs proposal as part of the overall deficit deal. And both would set a clear goal: The proposal has to represent a credible effort to bring unemployment down to 5.5 percent by 2014. If the committee can’t pass such a proposal, the “trigger,” which contains defense and non-defense cuts to discourage the committee from failing, gets pulled.
Larson and Dems will next week also introduce his original idea of a separate super-committee. And then, in September, Dems will present the super comittee itself with all three of these proposals, have the committee debate it, and state a preference. Then there would be a full Congressional vote on it.
Larson tells me that both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are on board with this plan.
Obviously, it’s very possible that Republicans will say No to all of these proposals, claiming they don’t want to reopen debate over the super-committee and that the real way to create jobs is with more spending cuts. But if they do, they will be saying No to the very idea that Congress should make active proposals to reduce unemployment to a targeted rate a core mission.
Says Larson: “This will call their bluff.”