Just last week Senate Republicans blocked a $60 billion measure to fund transportation projects and a new infrastructure bank, which would have been fully funded by a tax on millionaires. They’ve also defeated a $35 billion bill to save or create jobs for teachers and first responders, as well as the entire package the president initially introduced.
The millionaires’ tax is a nonstarter for Republicans and the primary reason they’ve been unable to support any of the bills that have stalled in the upper chamber. In addition, they say, Democrats’ proposals are tantamount to a second stimulus program.
“The American people deserve to know why their Republican representatives in Washington refuse to put some of the workers hardest hit by the economic downturn back on the job rebuilding America. They deserve an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now,” Obama said. “It’s time for them to do their job and focus on Americans’ jobs. And until they do, I will continue to do everything in my power to move this country forward.”
House Speaker John Boehner said during his weekly briefing with reporters that the lower chamber will take up a six-year surface transportation bill that would be linked to expanded domestic drilling.
“This is, I think, the opposite of stimulus by linking infrastructure to energy reform and permanently removing barriers to job growth instead of just spending money on short-term fixes,” Boehner said. “The president says he wants more money for infrastructure, and he’s said he supports more American-made energy, so I hope he’ll work with us on this.”
The Senate tried on the same day that they killed the Democrats’ bill to introduce a two-year highway measure that would roll back Environmental Protection Agency clean-air rules by eliminating its authority to cut toxic emissions from cement plants and industrial boilers and preventing it from issuing new pollution regulations, which they’ve derided as “job killing.”