With Gallup’s recent report that the U.S. underemployment rate now stands at a jaw-dropping 19 percent, Speaker John Boehner wants to know why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats have yet to take action on the 24 jobs bills passed by the Republican-led House of Representatives.
If the president really wants to get the economy moving again, maybe he’ll pick up the phone and call Senator Reid and ask Senate Democrats to get off their rear ends.
Some political analysts believe Speaker Boehner’s comments may forecast the Republican Party’s congressional election strategy. According toReuters, everywhere Speaker Boehner goes, he now carries in his left breast-coat pocket a four by eight card that lists the two dozen jobs bills that have passed the House but lay dormant in the Democrat-controlled Senate. Boehner’s card, says Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report, may presage a broader electoral strategy:
“If they can demonstrate what they are for, they can rebut Obama’s charge that they are ‘obstructionists’ who aren’t for anything,” Gonzales said. “But we have to see to what extent Republicans are willing and able to follow this playbook.”
All 242 House Republicans have been urged by leadership to flash these cards at Washington news conferences as well as town-hall meetings and campaign events back home.
For his part, Sen. Reid has met Speaker Boehner’s jobs challenge with derision:
Reid has called the Republican proposals “subterfuge” and said that cutting regulations would “make people sicker, our air dirtier and our food less safe.”
“That’s what they’re doing to create jobs,” Reid scoffed a day after Boehner touted the jobs bills on a TV talk show.
Speaker Boehner’s move to go on offense about jobs will prove critical in an election likely to center on America’s stagnant economic growth and persistently high unemployment numbers. Democrats need to win 25 seats to regain majority control of the House of Representatives.