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All Hope for Jobs Bills is Dead

October 4, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate is currently making progress on bipartisan legislation designed to shrink the U.S. trade deficit with China and restore up to 2.8 million domestic manufacturing positions. Yesterday, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate voted to invoke cloture on the China trade bill, a.k.a. the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, and they’re expected to pass it by the end of the week. But that will be the end of the line for the bill.

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said it was “dangerous” for lawmakers to be seeking to address concerns about China’s currency levels through legislation, saying it was well beyond Congress’ responsibilities.

In the clearest sign yet that the House is unlikely to take up legislation being debated by the Senate if lawmakers there approve it, Boehner said he didn’t support such an effort. Technically, Boehner doesn’t control legislation that comes to the House floor, but in effect his opposition to any measure would doom its chances of being approved by the House.

“It’s a pretty dangerous thing to be moving legislation through the U.S. Congress forcing someone to deal with the value of a currency,” Boehner said at a weekly press conference after meeting with Republican lawmakers in a closed-door session.

Boehner is in the minority here. When the House voted on a similar bill last year, it passed by a wide margin with majorities of both Democrats and Republicans voting in favor. But Boehner decides what gets a vote and what doesn’t. If he doesn’t like it, it’s dead.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor [R, VA-7] has thrown down the gauntlet on Obama’s jobs bill, a.k.a. the American Jobs Act. “Cantor isn’t even pretending the two sides will work something out,” writes Ezra Klein. ‘The $447 billion jobs package as a package: dead?’ A reporter asked him. ‘Yes,’ Cantor replied.’"

Both of these bills are popular among OpenCongress users. The China currency bill is supported by 75% of OC users and the American Jobs Act is supported by 68%. They’re also both opposed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent more money than any other non-party organization, nearly $33 million, in the 2010 elections that swept the Republicans into control of the House.

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