I’ll forgive you in advance for being skeptical of what I’m about to tell you. But there’s finally a glimmer of evidence that officials are beginning to talk about that long-promised pivot to jobs that seemed to get snuffed out by the nonstop deficit chatter that has dominated Washington for months and months.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing has been holding extensive meetings with officials in both parties, but particularly the Democratic party, about some new polling the group released finding overwhelming public support for prioritizing job creation over deficit reduction. The group’s executive director, Scott Paul, says he’s been cautiously encouraged by the interest lawmakers are showing in his pitch, in which he suggests that they embrace an array of pro-manufacturing policies.
That poll found that when given an either/or choice, 67 percent, or more than two thirds, want job creation favored, while just 29 percent want Washington to focus on deficits. The poll also found increased support for government action to bolster the manufacturing sector.
Two of D.C.’s best known pollsters, Dem Mark Mellman and Republican Whit Aryes, have been briefing lawmakers in their respective parties, including party leaders, on the poll’s findings, and have urged them to seriously consider a real pivot to jobs after the deficit deal is finalized, Paul tells me. Paul also says that a surprising 120 House Dems, including Steny Hoyer, turned out last Thursday to hear the group’s briefing.
The argument the pollsters have been making to lawmakers is straightforward: Now that the deficit deal seems to be getting wrapped up, you must use the August recess to talk to constituents in your districts about jobs.
“Lawmakers now realize two thing,” Paul says. “First, the debt ceiling consumed all the oxygen in Washington while the economy stalled. Second, voters are most concerned about the economy and jobs. They shouldn’t expect pats on the back when they head back to their districts in August.”
Indeed they shouldn’t. While there’s good reason for skepticism that there will be serious and ambitious Congressional action on jobs anytime soon, we should all be using the completion of the deficit deal as a hook to demand that lawmakers finally make good on that pivot to jobs they keep promising is right around the corner.
UPDATE: Steny Hoyer, a longtime proponent of pro-maufacturing policies, actually hosted the meeting with House Dems and the pollsters to discuss pivoting to jobs, which is even more encouraging.