Rep. Eric Cantor. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) announced on Monday that his party is planning to unveil a “growth agenda” later this week that will include initiatives to grow the economy and boost job creation. Over the past several weeks, Democrats have attacked Republicans for focusing more on deficit reduction and making draconian cuts that would harm the nation’s most vulnerable populations instead of jobs. House Republicans have also been getting some pushback from their constituents who have voiced their opposition to a GOP proposal to reform Medicaid and Medicare and tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.
“This is a plan for America’s job creators. This plan to make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses and families in America to see a better future through growth,” Cantor told reporters during his weekly press briefing. “It includes tax reform [and] an insistence that Washington stop being an adversary, as far as a regulatory role, and start being a partner for small business folks.”
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, speculated that his Republican colleagues may be trying to avoid the mistakes Democrats made two years ago that cost them their majority in the House.
“I made a speech this weekend during which I said that Democrats made a tactical error two years ago. I would come to Washington each week and we’d talk about health care. I’d go home on the weekend and all my constituents would talk about was jobs,” he said. “We paid the price for not understanding the disconnect and I think Republicans are making the same mistake.” Now they want to “change the conversation,” he added.
Cleaver mused that he should be encouraging Republicans to continue their focus on the federal budget, but acknowledged that they may finally be listening to pollsters who’ve been reporting that job creation is the number one concern of the American public who are less interested in reducing the federal budget.
The Missouri Democrat predicted that the Republican’s upcoming plan will center more on tax cuts for corporations and small businesses rather than actual jobs because, he said, “they really believe that tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the country will produce jobs,” even though there is no evidence that that is true.
When asked whether Democrats should be doing more by creating their own job creation bill, Cleaver told BET.com that perhaps the party’s leadership should present proposals to show voters that they’re at least trying, but they would be wasted efforts that would never pass in the House.