House Republicans dispute report that federal spending plan would cost jobs
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Monday pushed back against a report projecting that House Republicans' proposed government funding measure would result in significant job losses, saying that the report does not distinguish between private- and public-sector jobs.
In disputing the report, Cantor also took aim at its author, Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, as "a chief proponent of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi stimulus bill that we now know has failed to deliver on the promise of making sure unemployment did not rise above eight percent."
"Is he talking about government jobs? And if so, why is the government hiring people it can't afford to pay?" Cantor asked at his weekly roundtable with reporters. "This is obviously an unsustainable situation and something that we're trying to address through our approach in the [funding resolution] we passed two weeks ago."
In the report, released Monday, Zandi projects that House Republicans' proposal to cut $61 billion across federal agencies over the next seven months would reduce economic growth by half a percentage point in 2011 and one-fifth of a percentage point in 2012, resulting in 700,000 fewer jobs created by the end of next year.
Cantor on Monday also contended that Zandi, who has advised members of both parties, has said that the stimulus "somehow saved states from a terrible fiscal and budget woes," when in fact the opposite is true.
"When Virginia received, I think it was a little over $3 billion in the winter of '09 to plug a budget hole, what happened the subsequent year, last year, was that the state had to go back and cut the positions and the programs that that $3 billion paid for, essentially leaving us with the debt in the prorated amount that Virginia could claim was belonging to it," Cantor said.
Democrats have touted Zandi's analysis in making the case that the House Republican plan would do more economic harm than good. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) office sent out a release Monday calling the report "more bad news" for Republicans after a report last week by a Goldman Sachs economist projecting that the House GOP plan could reduce the country's economic growth by as much as two percentage points.
House Republicans have pushed back with an analysis by Stanford University economist John B. Taylor that they said debunked both Zandi's report and the Goldman Sachs analysis.
As the battle over a longer-term government funding resolution continues to intensify, both sides appear to be reaching agreement on a shorter-term measure to keep the government funded through March 18.
The White House on Monday gave its blessing to the two-week plan but warned Congress against keeping the government funded through a series of short-term measures.
"If we keep returning to this process every couple of weeks, that will be bad for the economy, because of the uncertainty it creates and the tension around that," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Also at his pen-and-pad Monday, Cantor said that he stood by House Speaker John Boehner's (R-Ohio) statement that House Republicans will challenge Obama's recent call for the Justice Department to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, probably before the week is out.
"I do believe that this is a case that is distinguishable on its merits, and to have ... the president take the position that he's not defending the law of the land is something very troubling, I think, to most members of the House," Cantor said.
| February 28, 2011; 4:07 PM ET
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