In Small Burst of Bipartisanship, House Passes Two Pieces of Jobs Bill
For the millions of Americans despondent over the inability of Democrats and Republicans to agree on a single piece of new jobs legislation: Fear not!
On Thursday, the House passed a very modest measure to end a tax withholding program, one that had yet to affect a single American, but which President Obama has agreed should go. No word from the Senate yet — those members are back in their home states this week taking a breather from their legislative labors — but chances are the bill will clear that chamber, too.
The withholding bill, which passed 405 to 16, did not carry quite the significance of potential measures to overhaul the tax code, make sweeping changes to entitlement programs or eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse that lawmakers so often cite as their central legislative goals.
But it was something else that those ideas are not — politically viable.
Representative Eric Cantor, Republican of Virginia and the majority leader, rhapsodized from the House floor on Thursday about the measure, which he called a “bipartisan and common-sense solution to support the small-business men and women of our economy so that they can begin to support and begin to regenerate our ailing economy.”
That a bill repealing a never-implemented requirement on a fairly small number of businesses was celebrated like a hometown team just back from winning the World Series underscores just how big small accomplishments really are these days in Washington, where a long economic crisis and rampant voter disgust are no match for deep-seated partisan gridlock.
Outside of a few recent flashes of light — the passage of three trade bills this month, and an agreement on patent reform — there have been no big bipartisan jobs initiatives in this Congress.
Republicans have broadly rejected Mr. Obama’s sweeping proposal to cut some taxes, raise others and stimulate hiring through government spending, denouncing it is a stimulus measure doomed to harm the economy.
Senate Democrats have largely snubbed Republicans’ measures to repeal government regulations, saying such efforts will not create jobs. Further, the bipartisan Congressional committee charged with eliminating $1.2 trillion in federal debt has made little progress, for now, over how to get there…