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Amid anxiety, jobs bill takes shape on the Hill

By Ben Pershing
The White House jobs summit opens today amid concerns on Capitol Hill that the administration has not done enough to address unemployment and uncertainty over how and when Congress can deliver a jobs bill to the president's desk.

"There's a jobs summit, but nobody in my district knows what that is," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), who recently launched the JOBS NOW! Congressional Caucus. "They see the same faces that created the problem sitting at the table saying they're going to solve the problem. Something is wrong with that picture."

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, agreed that much more needed to be done.

"I think when we did the first stimulus bill, it was a shotgun approach," Grijalva said. "Jobs were a secondary consideration. This next round -- it has to be about job creation."

Labor unions and liberal think tanks like the Economic Policy Institute have released ambitious proposals to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on job creation programs. The Congressional Black Caucus, increasingly vocal with its own concerns about the administration's priorities, has promised to release legislative proposals of its own. But the details of a consensus plan, and the timing of its passage, remain elusive.

Democrats in both chambers are mulling a broad range of ideas, including increased help for the unemployed, a jobs tax credit, additional aid to states, additional infrastructure spending, tax reductions for small businesses and a public jobs program.

In the House, Democrats are cobbling together ideas with a tentative goal of passing a package this month. "It's our hope to have something before we adjourn on Dec. 18," said Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

But neither Larson nor his fellow leaders will commit to such fast consideration until they have the details of a measure in hand. House leaders have toyed with the idea of attaching a jobs package to an end-of-session omnibus spending bill, but it's unclear how much political weight such a measure could bear.

At a minimum, aides said the chamber is likely to consider extending or expanding unemployment benefits, COBRA health-care coverage and food stamps. Whether additional items can be included will depend on whether members can find a way to pay for them. Democrats are studying whether they can re-purpose unspent money from the TARP bailout program, though they have made no decisions on whether to press forward with that option.

Some liberal lawmakers have signed on to a proposal by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) to fund a jobs bill and other spending priorities with a new tax on financial transactions, but that idea has drawn little support from Democratic leaders and staunch opposition from the Treasury Department as well as Wall Street.

In the Senate, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) have been tasked with sorting through ideas submitted by several different committees, including proposals for a boost in lending to small businesses and increased promotion of Build America Bonds to fund infrastructure projects. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is promoting a program that would provide federal funding to supplement the incomes of employees who work reduced hours because of the economic crisis.

And members in both chambers, led by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), are also keenly interested in using a jobs bill to increase transportation funding.

Unless an omnibus spending bill is used as a vehicle, there is no chance of the Senate's passing a jobs measure this month because the health-care debate will eat up most of the legislative calendar. Instead, Democrats hope to pivot in January or February off of what one aide called the "ethereal" health-care measure onto a more concrete and easily explained jobs bill.

Some Democrats have been unnerved by reports that the White House will shift to a more deficit-conscious message in 2010, particularly if that shift means the administration will promote less aggressive measures to boost employment. A long-term commitment to controlling the deficit may be of little help to lawmakers who face the prospect of running for reelection next year with the jobless rate still running high.

"When I went back home, I didn't hear that much about the deficit," Grijalva said. "I heard about foreclosure and unemployment."

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), a key appropriator, said Tuesday she was undecided on whether a new jobs package would have to be offset, despite her concerns about the government's red ink.

"Obviously you have to have a strong economy in order to deal with the debt," Murray said.

Republicans, for their part, are wary of any new proposal that deepens the country's fiscal hole.

"Tax credits are appealing but any proposal we can make has to pass the test: Can we afford it?" said Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), a member of the GOP leadership. "Right now we've got too big a debt."

House Republicans are planning a bit of counterprogramming for the White House jobs summit, scheduling for Thursday a roundtable discussion featuring prominent economists who are critical of the Obama administration's policies, including former Bush administration official Larry Lindsey and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the chief policy adviser to Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) used a speech at the Heritage Foundation Wednesday to present an alternative vision for a jobs bill, including calls for a halt to new federal regulations and tax hikes and for passage of stalled free-trade agreements.

"The contrast between our conservative vision and the policies being pursued by those in charge is stark," Cantor said. "While they push for driving us deeper into debt, we will stand for the virtues of restraint."

By Ben Pershing  |  December 3, 2009; 9:09 AM ET
Categories:  Agenda , Branch vs. Branch  
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The only jobs bill that will work is to place Biden.

TEA PARTY revolt will not empower anything Obamaland.
They are gaining ground and unwilling to flinch for any wothless Obamabuck, and another grab at their wallets by the shell games of Obama.

Posted by: dottydo | December 3, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

HabuDeuce wrote:
I find it interesting that the US Chamber of Commerce was not invited. 96% of it's 3 million members are small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Who is speaking for them today?

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 3, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

3 Practical Suggestions to help Jobless family members

1. Buy gift cards in $25, $50 and $100 for food or gas.

Wal-mart cards are especially good since they can buy both at the larger stores, they have cheap prices, and they will not be bankrupt after Christmas making your cards worthless.

Try to have some older trusted family member give the cards if possible.

Better to give 4 $25 cards than 1 $100 card, as they may distribute them to other family members.

2. Set up a job seeking office at a church or community center.

You just need high speed internet, a phone with answering machine, a coffee maker, and some camping folding chairs.

Frequently unemployed people just need somewhere to go to get out of the house that is free.

If you have more than 8 people using the office, consider setting up regular office hours where they answer the phone say one hour a day and people will call with job needs.

Some strip malls will let a church or community group use an empty space free on a month to month basis (you have to agree to leave immediately if they find a paying tenant) to generate traffic and keep the lights on.

3. If you are unemployed, get in physical shape.

Employers judge your age and ability by your weight--not fair, not legal, but true.

You do not need a gym membership, or expensive equipment--the United States Marines perform their Physical tests with only an pullup bar--they test runnning, situps and pullups.

Finally, this is NOT the time to discuss politics or what caused this problem.

These people are depressed or discouraged, Christmas is coming and times are hard.

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 3, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

As usual the Republican nostrums is to lower taxes and add deregulation. It has worked wonders over the last decade so why stop now.
The GOP is hopeless, incapable of absorbing any lessons. The Democrats show more initiative but are incapable of agreeing on a common program. We must face the fact that the US political system is seizing up and no one has figured out yet how to get it moving.

Posted by: serban1 | December 3, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

There are no job for Americans since American companies have been directly exporting American jobs since 2002.

Over 2 million jobs have already been exported and it is the business plan of American companies to directly export every American job that entails sitting in an office using a computer and telephone.

If the nation was starving and American companies simply exported all the wheat of the country would newspapers simply remain silent.

The government could disbar American companies that directly export American jobs from bidding on federal contracts.

But government and the newspapers simply remain silent.
India may get $1 billion in IT outsourcing contracts: report
Reuters November 23, 2009
MUMBAI (Reuters) – Leading Indian outsourcers such as Tata Consultancy, Infosys and Wipro stand to gain contracts worth about $1 billion in the next one or two years as U.S. banks emerge from the troubled asset relief program, the Economic Times reported on Monday.

The newspaper said JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley that received approval to buy back government stake worth $68 billion earlier this year are among the firms seeking operational efficiencies by outsourcing non-core IT and back-office projects to India.

American Express, Bank of New York Mellon and Capital One, which have started repaying government debt, were also considering outsourcing, it said.
IBM to Cut 5,000 Jobs; D.C. Area Largely Not Affected
By Kim Hart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 27, 2009
Officials began notifying employees on Wednesday and throughout yesterday about the layoffs. Technology services giant is in the process of shifting a large number of jobs to lower-cost regions, such as India.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 3, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

How's that "two separate governments deal" working for you righties? The party of NO has the same tired solutions. "Lower corporate taxes and deregulate". That worked wonders in banking and Wall Street, eh? How much does the average large corporation actually pay in taxes anyway? I'd say zero to $100. but then they have those huge bribes to pay in DC...which are probably tax deductions at the end of the year.

Posted by: clairevb | December 3, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The American people mean nothing to Obama until election time. He had no problem giving Wall Street and big banks all the $$$$$$$ they wanted, even when it meant increasing the deficit, but raising the deficit for hard working Americans suffering from unemployment, caused by Wall Street and the banks, is unacceptable. I thought Bush was the worst president we ever had, but Obama attained that distinction in less than a year in office. That must have been the change he was talking about. I hope he enjoys his one term as the POTUS.

Posted by: AugustWest1 | December 3, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

To generate jobs this Congress is going to have to place Biden and put Obama on medical stand down to void his signatures.

American Revolutionary freemason, politician, and publicist, James Otis said, "Taxation without Representation is Tyranny"

When the US Chamber of Commerece is not willing to attend any Obamaland summits, and has a growing membership , the jig is up on the NPD sociopath's shell games.

Posted by: dottydo | December 3, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse


Under Bush unemployment was hitting record lows. What don't you understand about job creation?

Regardless of how much sympathy the corrupt democrats say they have, they are killing the economy, and the class envy nitwits are too ignorant to get it.

Government doesn't create jobs, unless it's to add twenty assistants for Mrs. Odumbo. That doesn't help the rest of us.

Posted by: LarryG62 | December 3, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Most of the politicians in Washington, both Republican and Democrat, desperately want to avoid dealing with the fact that our immigration policy is bringing in 125,000 new foreign workers EACH MONTH -- while allowing 8 million illegal alien workers to keep their jobs.

Also being ignored is that each and every one of these 8 million illegal aliens has used a fraudulent SSN to file their I-9s, W-4s, etc. since the figure does not include day laborers. The SSNs these illegal's use could be yours or your child's or your parents and if so it will RUIN your life.

Those who come here illegally, steal our IDs and ignore our laws have already demonstrated they lack the honesty and decency to ever become American citizens.

Posted by: hunter340 | December 3, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Tax companies that outsource labor at a significantly higher rate than those who use domestic.

Use the revenues to grant a tax credit for those who employ Americans.

Make it really hard to import and exploit foreigners who do jobs on the cheap that Americans could and would do. Right now, it is a manipulated joke.

Label products x% home grown.

I'm not sure how much longer these greedy people who worship the God of Cheap Labor, the ones with the gall to say they are doing God's work, think they can continue to operate at the top of a Ponzi scheme while they decimate the middle class. At some point, it is all going to collapse.

Posted by: SarahBB | December 3, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

It really doesn't matter what Republicans have to say.

Democrats are in charge and it is up to them to something about the unemployment problem.

Posted by: maritza1 | December 3, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

of course........

most jobs in the usa are generated by small businesses

so, of course, obama excludes small businesses chamber of commerce from the summit

capitalism, and only capitalism, generates private sector jobs

so, of course, obama embraces socialism

business persons understand what motivates hiring and creates jobs

so, of course, obama excludes business persons from his cabinet

so, of course, we have record unemployment

depression obama--thats why YOU may lose YOUR job

before christmas

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 3, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

tax cuts for the wealthy coinciding with funding two foreign wars and the GOP never mentioned concern for the debt or deficit spending...

create jobs for working people unemployed as result of the GOP's economic and foreign policies and suddenly the GOP and too many alleged Democrats are worried about the debt and deficit spending and not one word about repealing those ill begotten tax cuts...

the Democratic Party had better get it straight, they aren't in power to represent Wall Street they are in power to represent Main Street...

Posted by: hughmaine | December 3, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

HabuDeuce wrote:
I find it interesting that the US Chamber of Commerce was not invited. 96% of it's 3 million members are small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Who is speaking for them today?

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 3, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse


TOO bad the US Chamber of COmmerce does not represent ANYWHERE close to 3 million businesses.

I just love when the people spout figures based on FAUX News and Glen Beck.

The chamber in fact has membership of around 10% of that number. (Approximately 360,000 paying dues members.)

But of course don't let FACTS destroy a good falsehood rant/

Posted by: kare1 | December 3, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The problem is Americans who will accept anything.

If millions of Americans were dying of starvation and American companies were exporting all the wheat, Americans would remain silent.

If Americans were short of electricity and American companies were exporting all the electricity to Canada and Mexico, Americans would remain silent.

No one thinking that we have already lost our lead in computer technology with the jobs of the 21st century being simply directly exported.

Over 2 million American jobs have been exported since 2002.

No one thinking that the jobless recovery from the 2001 recession was because of directly exporting jobs.

No one thinking that both the economic ideas of both the Democrats and the Republican will not work in a new environment where American companies are simply allowed to directly export American jobs.

This is a nation of acceptors. Woe is me, I am powerless and afraid to say anything.

Export all the jobs and I will remain silent and pretend that there are other reasons for the lack of jobs.

Let me to speak to someone with a thick foreign accent regarding the American computer I bought, or about my account in an American bank, and I will simply pretend I am speaking to a naturalized American, and not speaking to someone in a foreign country.

The government should disbar American companies that directly export American jobs from bidding on federal contracts.

Banks with government insured deposits should be forced to stop directly exporting American jobs.

But no Americans are a joke and a docile nation who will accept anything.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 3, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Let's be straight about this subject. The main concern many Democratic Senators and Representatives have about jobs is they are concerned people next November will vote some of them out of office. This is mostly about maintaining political power, secondly about helping the unfortunate masses.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 3, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Only the left comes up with this kind of punitive tax crap. And yet young people vote for the Left because of race or gender or some irrelevant bond of identification.

Why vote for someone who is going increase your taxes, sneer at you, and lay a guilt trip on you all at the same time?

Posted by: RealTexan1 | December 3, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

The unpleasant truth that all Americans must face is that the things we want cost money. National Security, the Armed Forces, health care, highways, transportation, social services, pay and benefits for goverment all cost money. Sooner or later we are going to reach an end to how much we can print and borrow. And then what? To me, taxes isn't necessarily a dirty word. My problem is how they assessed. Our regressive tax system is fast reaching the point where the working people is carry all the burden while upper-income and lower income are receiving the benefits but not contributing to their maintenance.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | December 3, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

karen1 got confused

from NOT listening to Fox--Fair and Balanced

and babbled:

HabuDeuce wrote:
I find it interesting that the US Chamber of Commerce was not invited. 96% of it's 3 million members are small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Who is speaking for them today?

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 3, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse


TOO bad the US Chamber of COmmerce does not represent ANYWHERE close to 3 million businesses.

I just love when the people spout figures based on FAUX News and Glen Beck.

The chamber in fact has membership of around 10% of that number. (Approximately 360,000 paying dues members.)

But of course don't let FACTS destroy a good falsehood rant/

Posted by: kare1 | December 3, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse


The Chamber of Commmerce has a website.

The White House and the DNC can access it without a spy program. The Chamber website says:

"Representing your ideas—and interests—in Washington for nearly a century.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations. More than 96% of U.S. Chamber members are small businesses with 100 employees or fewer."

the website address is:

see, you can copy the address and go to the site.

karen1 continued:

"But of course don't let FACTS destroy a good falsehood rant/"

see, we don't use chicago thug math like the white house "jobs saved".

but cheer up--the way obama is persecuting small businesses.......

you are wrong now

but soon you may be right--a prophet

there will only be 360,000 small buisness due to

depression obama

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 3, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The job market should have been the focus all along. We've wasted time and money trying to rescue Wall Street fat-cats and Corporate goons. People with JOBS buy houses and cars. People without JOBS lose houses and cars (see: At least the Government is finally waking up to this.

Posted by: MikeDudical | December 3, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

We have a good democratic president, an able democratic congress, we are in complete control. Let's try to not self destruct. lets join in the White House's lead, we need to paint a much rosier picture! We are not sending good money after bad in Afghanistan, we are 'finishing the job'. We are not throwing money around, we are 'targeting job positive incentives'. If we can't quit fighting among ourselves, we may lose some of the spectre groups under our tent. we have not adressed any gay rights issues?
environmently, dropped the ball. Unions?
no, nothing positive for them. Minorities?
Women? No. No. But remember our greatest
It took us 8 years to get him out.
but WE DID IT!
We are the change we waited for!!

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 3, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The non-proposals from the republotards are just blather.

Could they appear any more stupid?

Methinks not!

Posted by: Heerman532 | December 3, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

2 low-cost, quick and easy ways to reduce unemployment:

1) Mandate use of E-Verify by all employers to weed illegal aliens out of the workforce. This could free up 7+ million jobs immediately,

2) A moratorium on all non-essential immigration and guest worker visas until unemployment falls back below 5%.

Posted by: pmendez | December 3, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

2 low-cost, quick and easy ways to reduce unemployment:

1) Mandate use of E-Verify by all employers to weed illegal aliens out of the workforce. This could free up 7+ million jobs immediately,

2) A moratorium on all non-essential immigration and guest worker visas until unemployment falls back below 5%.

Posted by: pmendez | December 3, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Going by the past 10-15 years,I would say too little regulation is what has put the country in its present mess. If anything we need regulation RETURNED to where it was 10 or 15 years ago. Deregulation in every area has consisently hurt the consumer and benefited the provider - not the way a free enterprise system is supposed to work. What we need to do create jobs is to close the off shore tax loophole that farm out American jobs overseas. Tax the hell out of corporations that funnel local services jobs offshore and overseas to third world nations. Why should the money I am paying for local ,Internet services, home phone, cell, credit card customer service, utility services be off shored, I make the money I would like to see someone in our country get the job, The only ones that benefit from off shoring are the top 10 fat cats of these corporations do NOT need another 100 million in corporate bonuses to off shore jobs, especially the bank Fat Cats who take our federal tax bailout money.
Also a huge problem is millions of foreigners on H1B, N1B and Student Visas were given out over the last 10 years in this country are taking a lot of the good jobs. Most if not all of the money goes back to Pakistan, India, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Jordan. I bet some of them are muslim extremist who use work here as a conduit to funnel money back in what ever group they think is for their cause. A lot of them do 3rd party goverment contractor work. It’s a security risk also having so many work here, I know for a fact a lot of them dont even get back ground checks because they work for an agency. The back ground checks they do get are just in this country, they dont look into their background in the country they came from or check with Interpool

Posted by: robertb_2002 | December 3, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Now, here are a couple facts you won't hear from Ambinder or almost any major blogger or pundit:
1. Whenever the DHS actually enforces the law, Americans rush in to take the jobs that had previously been taken by foreign citizens who are here illegally. That happened in a recent case, but the DHS didn't deport those foreign citizens; instead it let them back into the labor pool. That means that the Obama administration kept hundreds of Americans from getting a job.
2. At the same time as the stimulus supposedly "saved or created" hundreds of thousands of jobs, the government granted hundreds of thousands more work permits to foreign citizens (green cards, H1B, etc.) (The stimulus supposedly saved/created 650,000 jobs; in the same time period, 1,125,000 work permits were granted to foreigners.)
If someone isn't acknowledging immigration enforcement and reduced numbers of permits as a way to reduce U.S. unemployment, they aren't supporting U.S. workers. Name them, shame them, and hold it against them in the future.

Posted by: robertb_2002 | December 3, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Nothing would boost job creation and the economy more than for the Obamacare and cap and trade scams to fail and for Obama to be impeached.

If the Obamacare and global warming/cap and trade scams fail, we could hope again that our efforts to create and expand companies will not serve only to further benefit Obama and his billionaire friends.

Cap and trade represents huge taxes and cost increases, which will destroy companies and hurt mostly the poor and the middle class. It would give dictatorial powers to Obama and further enrich his billionaire friends (Gore, Soros, Goldman Sachs, Obama’s Chicago Climate Exchange friends, GE, the United Nations, etc.) -- all at our expense and at the expense of our children and grandchildren.

Obamacare and cap and trade scams must fail and Obama must be impeached.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 3, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama's Jobs Summit has NOTHING to do with creating new jobs. It's more lies, manipulation, intimidation, coercion and bribes at our expense to further increase government control and impose socialism/Marxism on us.

That's why the only "business leaders" invited to the summit are those ready to help Obama's plans to force us to swallow socialism/Marxism. Real business leaders who can create REAL jobs, like those represented by the Chamber of Commerce and similar organizations, have been EXCLUDED from the summit!

One of the proposals at the summit is to increase government jobs! That means more money will be stolen from our children and grandchildren to help Obama increase his armies of government ACORN-type "community organizers"!

As we can see, Obama and his accomplices will use this summit to pretend that they care about us and our jobs while they waste more of our children's and grandchildren's money.

The mythical jobs the summit will help "create" will be based on lies, gimmicks and smoke and mirrors, much like the jobs Obama has already "created" with the stimulus money in districts that don't even exist while unemployment soars!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | December 3, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Those who lost their jobs prior to the September 1, 2008 eligibility cut-off date never received any assistance with their COBRA premiums. Many if not most of those same people are not even eligible for COBRA now because their 18 months of coverage has expired. Even those who were lucky enough to receive the subsidy in the first place are starting to loose their coverage and are joining the estimated 50 million uninsured.

According to a Harvard study, uninsured adults are 80% more likely to die from a traumatic injury than those who have insurance. Currently their are two bills working their way through congress that may offer some relief. For more information on these bills and other options to COBRA, please see our website at

Posted by: ReformCobraNow | December 3, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

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