Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) is convinced that President Obama has no viable plan to revive the economy and reduce unemployment. Two years after the failed stimulus and a year since the administration’s “summer of recovery,” the unemployment rate now stands at 9.1 percent.
Without much hope coming from the White House, Hensarling said lawmakers in Congress are forging ahead with an agenda focused on job creation.
“Issues of spending and jobs are inextricably linked,” said Hensarling, who spoke at this week’s Bloggers Briefing at Heritage. “The greatest impediment to job growth today is not a lack of capital; it’s a lack of confidence. Lack of confidence in all of the president’s policies.”
Hensarling noted the alarming statistic that the median duration of unemployment is nearly 40 weeks, the longest since the Great Depression. With nothing but grim economic news on the horizon, he pointed to the upcoming debate on the debt limit as a seminal moment.
The House Republican Plan for America’s Job Creators, released in late May, includes measures that call for spending cuts that exceed the debt limit hike. It simplifies the tax code and increases competitiveness, and it empowers job creators to help Americans get back to work, which is the first step toward recovery.
More than 150 economists, including a Nobel Prize winner and two former directors of the Congressional Budget Office, have endorsed the plan.
Meanwhile, Hensarling vowed that conservative House members will continue to vote against the Obama administration’s job-killing regulatory agenda, which he called a hidden tax on entrepreneurs and job creators. Hensarling believes Obama has been more effective in keeping the economy from rebounding than he thought possible.
There is one area of possible collaboration with the Obama administration, Hensarling noted. Free trade agreements would open up more markets to American products. Increased competitiveness for U.S. manufacturers would create jobs and “speaks to the fundamental economic liberties of the American citizen,” Hensarling said.
“I’m cautiously optimistic that we may be on the verge of getting these free trade agreements on the floor and passed,” he said. “The president is so desperate he’s actually willing to try something that works.”
Abigail White is in the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. Click here for more information on interning at Heritage.