The American Jobs Act, which Senate Republicans successfully filibustered recently, could have done some good in Nevada. The infrastructure project spending was projected to create approximately 3,300 local jobs; the teacher, police, and firefighter provisions were projected to stabilize some 3,600 jobs; another 2,200 jobs were estimated to be associated with the school modernization and retrofitting funding; that’s a total of 9,100 jobs. [AJA pdf] And, Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) voted with his GOP cohorts to prevent the bill (S. 1723) from getting a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate. [roll call 177]
Let’s assume that the average teacher salary in Nevada is close to the nationally estimated $43,394. Saving 3,600 jobs would have injected approximately $156,240,000 into the Nevada’s state and local economy. That’s money which might have been spent paying for housing, food, clothing, and for paying state and local taxes. But, Senate Republicans didn’t want to vote on it.
Nevada has a 13.4% unemployment rate, [DETR] But, Senate Republicans didn’t want to vote on adding some 3,330 local infrastructure jobs, nor on approximately 2,200 jobs repairing and retrofitting schools in Nevada. The average (median) hourly wage of a person in “construction trades” is $23.28. [DETR] The loss to the state from Obstructionism in the Senate is harder to quantify in this area because we don’t know the duration of the infrastructure and maintenance/retrofitting projects. [EM] What we can estimate is that if a school retrofit project to enhance energy use took 30 days to fully complete one construction worker could have earned $5,587. But, Senate Republicans didn’t want to vote on it.
Another factor, harder to quantify but no less important, is that by retrofitting school buildings local districts can enjoy savings on energy costs. Recommissioning air filtration and conditioning units can save about $10,000 to $16,000 in a 100,000 sq.ft school building annually. Installing T8 lighting can reduce energy consumption by as much as 35% compared to older T12 fluorescent lighting systems. [EnergyStar] Not only would the retrofitting funds contribute to immediate economic needs in the community (creating Demand), but the local school districts could have enjoyed the savings associated with reduced energy costs. But, Senate Republicans didn’t want to vote on it.
We could have received up to $585,600,000 to assist refurbishing and rehabilitating foreclosed properties in Nevada. [AJA pdf] That would have meant more paychecks for more families in the construction trades, and the suppliers, and the contractors…but the Senate Republicans didn’t want to vote on it.
Rehabilitating property isn’t simply a matter of improving the lives of construction workers — there are the neighbors to consider as well. Every foreclosed property results in an average loss of about $7,200 in the value of neighboring properties. [CRL pdf] One study found that a foreclosed property brought the value of adjacent properties down by some 8.7%, and that the “effects” lasted for nearly 5 years. Another found that for 1 or 2 years after a foreclosure there was a 0.9% price drop for all residences within an eighth of a mile. Still another study found that for every 1% rise in the default rate there was a 14% reduction in home value within a census tract. [UTDallas pdf] While the studies cited vary in terms of scope and variables, one thing remains consistent — foreclosed property in a neighborhood brings everyone’s home values down. But, Senate Republicans didn’t want to vote on it.
What’s Their Excuse?
## Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered the “It’s not my job excuse.” [TPM]
“I certainly do approve of firefighters and police,” said McConnell. “The question is whether the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom firefighters and police work. They are local and state employees.”
Note the Minority Leaders loaded language. “Raising taxes on small businesses…” and “bail out states.” It’s time for a reality check. The “tax” the Minority Leader is talking about was a 0.5% increase in the taxes on millionaires and billionaires. [CNN] Senator McConnell obviously hasn’t read the information from the Office of Tax Analysis in the Department of the Treasury [Technical Paper 4, August 2011 pdf]
## “It’s a tax on small businesses excuse.” It’s time to look at the reality on the ground. “Of the 3,808,000 returns with small-business employer income, only 126,000 were filed by employers with an adjusted gross income of more than $1 million. ” [AmPro] Here’s what the reality looks like in graph form:
In short, in order to protect the income of only 4% of all 3,808,000 small business owners in the entire United States, Senate Minority Leader McConnell and his Republican cohorts in the Senate were willing to filibuster a major jobs bill.
## “It’s another failed stimulus excuse…” Some conservative sounding boards are trotting this one out. [WE] And the Republican policy committee is raising the allegation yet again. Merely because an argument is repeated doesn’t make it any more valid.
The reality looks more like this:
“Yes, the administration also predicted unemployment would peak at around 8 percent. That was obviously very wrong. The jobless rate hit 9 percent in the middle of 2009 and, except for a brief period this year, hasn’t dipped below since. Those are the figures critics always use to make their point. But few mainstream experts doubt that, if not for the Recovery Act, today’s unemployment rate would be significantly higher.” [The New Republic]
Then, there’s the not-so-small-matter of GOP hypocrisy concerning the ARRA (stimulus bill): They’re against it until the money flows into their Congressional Districts — as Rachel Maddow explained during one of her broadcasts. [Video] Perhaps Senator Heller, who joined Senator McConnell in voting against the American Jobs Act (S.1723) would care to explain how the ARRA projects “failed” in his former Congressional District?
Would Senator Heller care to comment on how the $151,190,956 in ARRA funds “failed” to benefit the Nevada Department of Transportation? Or, how Hawthorne didn’t benefit from its 28 contracts, loans, and grants? [ARRA] Or, how government entities in Elko County didn’t benefit from its 45 grants, loans, and contracts? [ARRA]
So, what are YOU offering?
The Senate Republicans offered their own version of a jobs bill — without jobs, (S. 1720) of which Senator Heller is a co-sponsor. What does this bill do? The bill is a potpourri of the usual GOP wish list. [Thomas] The Senator Republicans would have us believe that JOBS will be created if we repeal Financial Regulatory Reforms and Health Care Reforms. That we can create JOBS by being lenient with polluters. That we can create JOBS by enacting tort “reform,” and deregulating everything in sight. Last but not least — it is the fervent GOP believe that TAX CUTS will solve every economic ailment known to mankind. In sum, the Republican “solutions” are the same old tax cut, deregulate, pollute, and union bash… Nothing new here.
For those wishing to see the particulars of this GOP hodge podge the details are provided below.*
S.89 and S. 164 Withholding Tax Relief Act of 2011- Repeals provisions of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 requiring federal, state, and local governmental entities to withhold 3% of payments due to vendors providing goods and services to such entities.
S.102: Amends the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to transmit, within 45 calendar days after enactment of the funding in question, a message to Congress with specified information requesting any rescission the President proposes under the procedures in this Act.
See also: S. 1726 (McConnell)
S.119: Government Neutrality in Contracting Act – Directs the head of any federal agency that awards or obligates funds for any construction contract, or that awards grants, provides financial assistance, or enters into cooperative agreements for construction projects, to ensure that bid specifications, project agreements, or other controlling documents do not: (1) require or prohibit a bidder, offeror, contractor, or subcontractor from entering into, or adhering to, agreements with a labor organization, with respect to that construction project or another related construction project; or (2) otherwise discriminate against such a party because it did or did not become a signatory or otherwise adhere to such an agreement.
S. 1523: Section 10(c) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 160) is amended by inserting before the period at the end the following: `: Provided further, That the Board shall have no power to order an employer (or seek an order against an employer) to restore or reinstate any work, product, production line, or equipment, to rescind any relocation, transfer, subcontracting, outsourcing, or other change regarding the location, entity, or employer who shall be engaged in production or other business operations, or to require any employer to make an initial or additional investment at a particular plant, facility, or location’.
Repeal Health Care Reform
S. 192: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act – Repeals the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, effective as of its enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by such Act. Repeals the health care provisions of the Health Care and Education and Reconciliation Act of 2010, effective as of the Act’s enactment. Restores provisions of law amended by the Act’s health care provisions.
S. 197 (initially sponsored by Senator John Ensign) Medical Care Access Protection Act of 2011 or the MCAP Act – Sets forth provisions regulating lawsuits for health care liability claims related to the provision of health care services. Sets a statute of limitations of three years after the date of manifestation of injury or one year after the claimant discovers the injury, with certain exceptions. Requires a court to impose sanctions for the filing of frivolous lawsuits. Limits noneconomic damages to $250,000 from the provider or health care institution, but no more than $500,000 from multiple health care institutions. Makes each party liable only for the amount of damages directly proportional to such party’s percentage of responsibility.
S. 299 REINS Act: Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011 or the REINS Act – Rewrites provisions regarding congressional review of agency rulemaking to require congressional approval of major rules of the executive branch before they may take effect (currently, major rules take effect unless Congress passes and the President signs a joint resolution disapproving them). Defines “major rule” as any rule, including an interim final rule, that has resulted in or is likely to result in: (1) an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; (2) a major increase in costs or prices; or (3) significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or U.S. competitiveness.
S. 474: Requires each agency to establish a plan for the periodic review (every eight years) of: (1) its rules that have a significant adverse economic impact on small entities, and (2) any small entity compliance guide required to be published by an agency. Sets forth criteria for review of a rule, including the continued need for the rule, the complexity of the rule, and the impact of the rule on small entities. Terminates any rule if the issuing agency has failed to complete a required periodic review.
S. 1030: Freedom from Restrictive Excessive Executive Demands and Onerous Mandates Act of 2011 – Amends the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) to revise the regulatory process (rulemaking) with respect to small entities (e.g., small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions).
S. 1189: Unfunded Mandates Accountability Act of 2011 – Amends the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 to: (1) require regulatory impact analyses for rules that do not involve a legislative mandate and for final rules that do not have a prior notice of proposed rulemaking; (2) require federal agencies to prepare and publish in the Federal Register an initial and final regulatory impact analysis prior to promulgating any proposed or final rule that may have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or that may result in the expenditure of $100 million or more in any one year by state, local, and tribal governments; (3) require such agencies to identify and consider regulatory alternatives before promulgating any proposed or final rule and select the least costly, most cost-effective, or least burdensome alternative; (4) define “cost” as the cost of compliance and any reasonably foreseeable indirect cost resulting from agency rulemaking; (5) exempt rules concerning monetary policy proposed or implemented by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System or the Federal Open Market Committee from provisions of such Act relating to regulatory accountability and reform, review of federal mandates, and judicial review; and (6) expand provisions relating to judicial review of regulatory impact analyses.
S. 1438: Regulation Moratorium and Jobs Preservation Act of 2011 – Prohibits any federal agency from taking any significant regulatory action until the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a monthly unemployment rate equal to or less than 7.7%.
Repeal Financial Regulation Reform in the Dodd-Frank Act
S. 1615 [see full text here]
Reduce Protections under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts
S. 468: Mining Jobs Protection Act – Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to repeal provisions that require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consult with the Secretary of the Army before denying or restricting the use of specified areas as disposal sites for discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States.
S. 482: Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011 – Amends the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas (GHG) to address climate change. Excludes GHGs from the definition of “air pollutant” for purposes of addressing climate change.
S. 1027: Amends the Mineral Leasing Act to: (1) repeal the requirement that leases be issued within 60 days following payment by the successful bidder of the remainder of the bonus bid and the annual rental for the first lease year, and (2) direct the Secretary to automatically issue a lease 60 days after the date of such payment, unless the Secretary is able to issue the lease before that date.
S. 1226: Offshore Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011 – Amends the Clean Air Act to require any air quality impact of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) sources to be measured or modeled and determined solely with respect to the impacts in the corresponding onshore area.
S. 1292: Employment Protection Act of 2011 – Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prior to promulgating a regulation, policy statement, guidance document, or endangerment finding, implementing any new or substantially altered program, or issuing or denying any permit, to analyze the impact, disaggregated by state, of such requirements, policy statement, guidance, finding, program, permit, or permit denial on employment levels and economic activity. Requires such analysis to include estimated job losses and decreased economic activity due to the denial or issuance of permits, including permits issued under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act).
S. 1528: To amend the Clean Air Act to limit Federal regulation of nuisance dust in areas in which that dust is regulated under State, tribal, or local law, to establish a temporary prohibition against revising any national ambient air quality standard applicable to coarse particulate matter.
S. 1061: Tort Reform – Government Litigation Savings Act – Revises provisions of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) and the federal judicial code relating to the fees and other expenses of parties in agency proceedings and court cases against the federal government to: (1) restrict awards of fees and other expenses under such Act to prevailing parties with a direct and personal monetary interest in an adjudication, including because of personal injury, property damage, or an unpaid agency disbursement; (2) require the reduction or denial of awards commensurate with pro bono hours and related fees and expenses to parties who have acted in an obdurate, dilatory, mendacious, or oppressive manner or in bad faith; (3) limit awards to not more than $200,000 in any single adversary adjudication or for more than three adversary adjudications in the same calendar year (unless the adjudicating officer or judge determines that a higher award is required to avoid severe and unjust harm to the prevailing party)…