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American Jobs Act: Rebuilding the Economy the American Way

Prominent, independent experts have said that the American Jobs Act could create 1.5 million or more jobs, increase growth by as much as two percentage points next year, and lower the unemployment rate.

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Tom Donahue raised concerns about the American Jobs Act, and I’d like to address them here.  

The American Jobs Act includes a series of proposals that will give a boost to the economy and get Americans back to work -- the kinds of proposals that have been supported in a bipartisan way in the past. It’s a plan that not only puts money back in the pockets of middle class families, and puts workers back on the job, but also includes the kinds of proposals that economists agree will help business grow and hire.  And it’s a plan that rebuilds the economy in the American Way – based on fairness, balance and ensuring there is the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street.  

Mr. Donahue questions whether the plan will create jobs.  The answer is simple: yes it will. Prominent, independent experts have said that the American Jobs Act could create 1.5 million or more jobs, increase growth by as much as two percentage points next year, and lower the unemployment rate.    

And the American Jobs Act is fully paid for, not adding a dime to the deficit. We share Mr. Donahue’s concern about cutting spending and reducing our deficit. That’s why the President recently signed into law the Budget Control Act, which locked in almost a trillion dollars in cuts to discretionary spending. The American Jobs Act increases the Joint Committee’s deficit reduction target to cover the full cost of the job creation provisions. On Monday, the President will outline his vision for a balanced approach deficit reduction to the Joint Committee.   

We also share the Chamber’s goals of investing in our nation’s infrastructure. A few weeks ago, the President was joined by representatives from the Chamber and the head of the AFL-CIO – groups that usually don’t agree on much – to come together and call on Congress to extend the surface transportation bill.  And that’s why the American Jobs Act makes the investments in our nation’s infrastructure that will put construction workers back to work and rebuild and modernize our nation.    

We hear a lot from the Republican Leadership and the Chamber on the need to reduce burdensome regulations. We agree. The President ordered a government-wide review of existing federal regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years.The number of rules we’ve reviewed and issued in the first two years of this Administration is actually lower than the number of rules issued in the last two years of the Bush Administration. 

But let’s be clear. The President will continue to protect the health, safety and well-being of American families – keeping their air and water clean, food and highways safe. He fought to ensure American families have the strongest consumer protections in history and protection against being discriminated against for having a preexisting condition. Overturning these reforms might be popular with Republican special interests and donors, but they aren’t good for American families and that’s why we will keep fighting to ensure they are implemented effectively. 

We also agree with Mr. Donahue on the importance of passing three Free Trade Agreements that the President negotiated that will support tens of thousands of American jobs, supporting affordable clean energy and ensuring our visa system is fair.  

The American Jobs Act contains ideas that are supported by both Democrats and Republicans that will put people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. It includes tax cuts. It keeps teachers in the classroom and cops on the beat. It rebuilds our roads and bridges. Bottom line, it puts Americans back to work right now.  

We should all agree is that the economy needs a boost, and that we need to do more to get the American people back to work. We hope that Mr. Donahue and the businesses his group represents will join us in this important goal for our nation.