No-one with a brain expected House Republicans, or Senate Republicans for that matter, to reinstate unemployment benefits for 1.3 million out-of-work Americans without some kind of hostage payment, and although Boehner’s demands will never be paid, it is his contemptible assertion that House Republicans passed even one jobs bill over the past three years. In fact, for three years Republicans deliberately blocked legitimate job creation bills and deliberately killed millions and millions of jobs primarily through hostage taking. Whether it was austerity cuts in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, the sequester, the government shutdown, food stamp cuts, or failing to extend unemployment benefits two weeks ago, Republicans are riding a three-year job-killing frenzy and still, Boehner has the temerity to claim House Republicans passed several job bills that he claims President Obama stood on the sideline to obstruct Republicans.
The so-called three years’ worth of job creation legislation Republicans claim will eliminate the need for unemployment benefits is tantamount to their 2011 promise to focus on jobs; another lie and nothing but substantial gifts to their campaign donors. Boehner even had the audacity to list a few “job creation” bills in an ad campaign where he blamed President Obama for Republican inaction in helping grow the economy and get Americans working again. In Boehner’s ad, he cited five specific pieces of legislation the House passed as “job creation” bills, but like everything Republicans propose, they were gifts to corporations, the energy industry, and financial sector and would have created zero jobs.
One of the bills Boehner claimed created jobs was approving the KeystoneXL pipeline and there is a glaring Constitutional violation with the House vote; only the President of the United States is allowed to approve the pipeline because it crosses America’s international border with Canada. However, for argument’s sake, if the permit to build the pipeline was approved, it would create no more than 2,500 temporary jobs for two years and fifteen (15) permanent jobs. What constructing the pipeline really creates is billions upon billions of dollars in profits for the Koch brothers and Conoco Philips as they refine Canada’s tar and export it to China and Europe. It also boosts John Boehner’s stock portfolio since he bought shares in seven Canadian tar sand companies prior to becoming Speaker of the House and pushing the pipeline as America’s greatest job program. The pipeline actually will kill more jobs than it creates because it will raise the price of fuel that will prevent companies from expanding and hiring new workers.
Many of Republican “jobs” bills entailed rolling back or eliminating renewable energy standards and environment protections that are responsible for creating three times as many jobs as the dirty energy sector for each dollar spent. Eliminating renewable energy and environmental regulations is a gift to the dirty energy industry including the Koch brothers, fracking industry, and the dirty coal sector. Republicans never intimated exactly how killing jobs in renewable energy created jobs, but then their focus was enriching the oil industry; not creating jobs.
Republicans also claimed repealing the Dodd-Frank financial reform and consumer protection law was a job-creating bonanza, but its real intent was giving banks and Wall Street the green light to crash the economy and get bailed out, rip-off consumers’ retirement accounts, and give credit card companies free-rein to charge customers for using their own money. It is an insult to a child’s intelligence to claim deregulating the financial sector is job creation, but repealing financial reform was never about creating jobs, just creating wealth for Republican donors.
The big “job creation” legislation Boehner boasted was the one House Republicans spent over forty times attempting to pass; repealing the Affordable Care Act. Republicans claimed businesses were firing employees because of the healthcare insurance reform law, but they have never cited how repealing the law creates jobs. In fact, repealing the law, like everything Republicans have done for three years, will kill jobs that were and are being created due to more Americans having access to affordable healthcare insurance.
The idea that repealing the ACA is a job creation bill is as absurd as the one and only piece of legislation House Republicans passed that was even remotely related to employment. Eric Cantor’s bill eliminating overtime pay not only will not create one job, it is another Republican effort to kill millions of existing and potential jobs. Why would a business add one employee at an additional cost in benefits and administrative expense when they can force an existing employee to work a double shift without paying overtime wages? Cantor’s so-called “job creation” bill is specifically created to kill potential jobs and reward big business in the process.
It was no surprise that Republicans demanded concessions from Democrats and President Obama in exchange for helping 1.3 million out-of-work Americans that Republicans could have helped if they had not spent three years in a job-killing frenzy. Mitch McConnell reliably held the unemployment extension hostage for repealing the ACA, and John Boehner said House Republicans would consider “emergency” relief if the President signed Republican legislation rewarding the Koch brothers, Wall Street, and banking industry that would kill more Americans’ jobs. Regardless of their machinations to enrich their corporate masters, Republicans are continuing on the path they began in 2011 when they took control of the House with a promise to focus on jobs and then spent the entirety of three years killing them nearly as fast as the Obama economy could create them. Sadly, they are poised to spend another year killing jobs and telling Americans their focus is still creating jobs that in Republican-speak is code for creating wealth for the one percent.