Already tasked with reining in $1.5 trillion from the federal budget, a freshman Congressman says it is dangerous for the country and wrong for President Barack Obama to saddle the committee with a jobs bill that adds nearly $450 billion more to the deficit.
Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman criticized the president for making a tough job in cutting the budget even more difficult with the unveiling of his “American Jobs Act,” which is a jobs bill and stimulus package.
“It really makes the job harder because it adds more than $450 billion to the deficit because the $1.5 trillion amount is a substantial amount and that will be a challenge for this committee to find deficit reduction at that level, which has never been done before — it is the biggest deficit reduction ever in the history of the Congress,” Portman said Thursday during a weekly media teleconference. “He has added to it and he has told us that he is going to make our job harder.
“I am very skeptical that his jobs bill will get the economy back on track by putting us even further into debt,” the Congressman from Ohio said. “There has to be ways to pay for it that makes sense, that doesn’t hurt the economy. There is some obvious things we can do right now that will not cost anything — regulatory relief, export agreements and tax reform — I think we can make the same money we are spending, by consolidating, streamlining and making government more effective.”
Obama unveiled his American Jobs Act bill Tuesday at Fort Hayes High School in Columbus. The bill includes spending $60 billion to rebuild schools and hire teachers. The White House proposes to pay for the plan through limiting itemized deductions for families earning more than $250,0000 per year and ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies, hedge-fund managers and corporate jet owners.
Portman said Obama should be encouraging the committee to meet its current goals of trimming the budget by $1.5 trillion instead of adding more to the budget deficit and debt. He explained the president should be pushing for and leading Congress to pass regulatory and tax reform in an effort to “get the Ohio economy and the national economy going again.”
Closing loopholes in the tax code without reforming the tax code will likely have a negative impact on the national economy, Portman said. He proposed letting the the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, of which he is a member, take on the task of reforming the tax code to make it simpler and tax revenue neutral.
He updated news media on this week’s actions of the supercommittee, which held a hearing earlier this week, a meeting and discussions on Thursday and plans to meet again Friday.
“We will continue discussions on how we will address these record deficits and these long-term debts that are affecting our economy in fundamental ways,” Portman said. “The president, of course, has been in Ohio touting his jobs plan and one of the concerns I continue to raise is how are we going to continue to deal with the economic problems if we don’t also deal with the deficit problems.”