WASHINGTON — There are two bits of jobs-related news from Capitol Hill today:
First, the House of Representatives passed the first bill of the GOP’s regulation repeals agenda. The bill would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from forcing companies to relocate, shut down or move employment for any reason. Minnesota’s House delegation voted down party lines (except for the absent Michele Bachmann).
The legislation, which originated in Minnesota Republican John Kline’s Education and the Workforce Committee, was spurred by a highly controversial NLRB complaint against Boeing that the airline manufacturer violated labor laws by opening production lines in the right-to-work state of South Carolina instead of in Washington state. The complaint alleged the company was punishing its unionized Washington workers.
“Today, the House of Representatives sent a strong message to the American people: We will not stand by while the NLRB destroys jobs and wreaks havoc on our economy,” Kline said in a statement. “The president has had many opportunities to hold this activist board accountable, but he has failed to do so. No government board should tell a private employer where to open a business and hire workers.”
The bill is the first in a string of 10 that House Republicans will take up in order to reduce government regulations and spur private sector job growth. Many of those measures — including this one — face a steep climb in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
As the House was voting, Speaker John Boehner explained the Republican jobs plan in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington D.C.
Boehner said there are a few fundamental things threatening job growth in the United States — government regulation, overspending and an outdated tax code.
Republicans have opposed tax increases in connection with both President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs package and Congress’s session-long focus on reducing the federal debt.
Boehner said tax increases — which he said includes letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire — should be off the table for the debt “super committee,” which must craft a $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan Congress can pass before the end of the year.
“Tax increases are not a viable option for the Joint Committee,” he said. “It’s a very simple equation. Tax increases destroy jobs. And the Joint Committee is a jobs committee. Its mission is to reduce the deficit that is threatening job creation in our country. We should not make its task harder by asking it to do things that will make the environment for job creation in America even worse.”
That “Joint Committee is a jobs committee” motif extended through the rest of Boehner’s speech, with the House speaker contending reduced government spending would lead to greater stability for private sector job growth.
“If the Joint Committee does its work correctly — addressing the structural problems in our entitlement programs that have put us in danger of more job-destroying [credit] downgrades, and setting the stage for fundamental tax reform that will help to support private investment — it will have begun to remove some of the biggest barriers to job creation that exist in our country today,” he said.
Beyond the debt committee, Boehner touched on the Republican’s regulation agenda (details here) and encouraged Obama to begin repealing regulations himself, like he did earlier this month by blocking the implementation of an Environmental Protection Agency regulation on smog estimated to cost up to $90 billion a year.
“I would also urge the president to call a Cabinet meeting, and tell every member of his Cabinet: ‘Until further notice, I don’t want anything that gets in the way of private-sector job creation. And I want you to report back to me in a month with how you’ve done,’ ” Boehner said. “The members of the president’s Cabinet are not doing their jobs if they aren’t constantly focused on removing impediments to job growth. If they’re not focused on that, they should be fired.”
(Note: A previous verison of this story incorrectly stated the nature of the NLRB’s complaint against Boeing. It has been corrected.)