Jobs Bill Plus Bipartisan Support Plus Chamber of Commerce Plus AFL-CIO Equals Nothing

Bill Scher

If this jobs bill can’t pass today’s Congress, and apparently it can’t, then nothing will.

Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) teamed up to introduce a bill creating an independent infrastructure bank.

To allay conservative concerns about spending, the proposed bank would only issue loans that would get paid back.

The bank would need $10 billion of public funds to get things going, but that’s less than 1 percent of the federal budget.

$10 billion in loans could leverage $600 billion in private investment over 10 years. As every $1 billion in infrastructure investment is estimated to generate 36,000 jobs, $600 billion would create more than 21 million jobs.

In fact, as Fareed Zakaria noted, by relying primarily on private investment, the Kerry-Hutchison bill would take a huge step away from our current "socialist" approach to infrastructure.

And the new approach is good enough to satisfy both the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce.

No addition to the federal debt. No big government bureaucracy. Corporations get to profit. People get jobs. America gets infrastructure that works.

So what’s the problem?

Politico reports:

Bbipartisan backing has proved to be a mixed blessing. In a hostile political climate, lawmakers care less about cooperating and more about denying possible victories to each other.

“Congress doesn’t see much incentive to pass bipartisan legislation,” said Janet Kavinoky, executive director for transportation and infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We’re in an environment where neither side wants to give the other one a win.”

That’s not exactly the whole story.

As anyone paying the slightest bit of attention knows, Democrats in Congress would just love to work with Republicans to pass pretty much anything.

There is not one example of a Democratic proposal that Republicans expressed interest in passing, let alone one where such interest prompted Democrats to recoil out of fear of giving Republican a share of the victory.

Whereas Republicans have routinely run away whenever Democrats have embraced their ideas: individual mandate, cap-and-trade, expanded trade agreements and deficit reduction without new income taxes.

House Speaker John Boehner and his fellow Republicans are fond of asking, "Where are the jobs?" Well, here are 21 million staring at them in the face. Yet not one House Republican will even sponsor this bipartisan, business-friendly bill, let alone give it a committee hearing.

If you had any doubt that the congressional Republicans would much rather chant "where are the jobs" than actually create some while a Democrat resides in the White House, doubt no more.

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