Today, the President will call for bipartisan cooperation on areas where the White House and Congress can work together. Since the beginning of last year, Leader Cantor and House Republicans have been working on bipartisan bills to help our nation’s small businesses to access capital, grow and hire again. We know that small businesses create more than 60% of the new jobs in this country. Let’s work together to help them to help them succeed.
In the coming weeks, the House will put forward a package of bipartisan measures to empower small businesses and entrepreneurs, including the JOBS Act and a 20% tax cut for small businesses. On Fox News Sunday, Leader Cantor said, “Over the last three years, there has been a 23 percent decline in small business startups, which is indicative when you look at the job growth numbers. We know small business is the job growth engine in this country. This package represents the first opportunity for us post the payroll tax holiday extension to work together in a bipartisan manner and get something done.”
Today In History: In 1885, The Washington Monument, built in honor of America's revolutionary hero and first president, was dedicated in Washington, D.C.
Birthdays: Rep. John Shimkus, Rep. Charles Boustany, Rep. Steve Palazzo, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Rep. John Lewis, Ashley Greene, Ellen Page, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kelsey Grammer, and Alan Trammell
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: Cantor Unveils Major Initiatives To Boost America’s Engine Of Growth
Leader Cantor Announces Two Major Small Business Growth Initiatives, Challenges President Obama & Senate Majority Leader Reid To Work With House Republicans. Still, Cantor said there is a "window of opportunity for us to get something done." He pointed to two items that Republicans are pushing to increase jobs. First, congressional Republicans are working on a new proposal to help start-ups businesses get off the ground. The "Jumpstart Our Business Start-ups," bill, which Cantor said has won bipartisan support, calls for reducing regulations on small businesses and expanding access for financing. The second item, which Republicans would be hard-pressed to get passed, is a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses, which Cantor called the engine of growth for the economy. The legislation, which would apply to businesses with 500 employees or fewer, would be given to companies even if the taxes are filed under individual returns. Cantor said the suggestion that individuals making more than $250,000 a year shouldn't be entitled to a business tax cut flies in the face of efforts to grow the economy. "I shouldn't be going home to my district in Richmond, Virginia, and telling a small business person that I can help by providing a tax cut for them so they can grow their business and hire more people just because maybe someone else benefits. In the end of the day, we are all in this together," he said. "It's up to the president and Harry Reid if they want to join us," Cantor added. Fox News
• Cantor: A 20% Tax Cut For Small Business Will Boost Job Growth From Richmond To Redding. "We'll be bringing forward a bill that brings a 20 percent tax cut for small businesses knowing full well that small businesses create 60 percent of the lobs in this country," Cantor said. But some Democrats have argued that plan could simply provide a huge tax cut for wealthy businessmen without doing anything to guarantee the money would go to creating job growth. Cantor dismissed that argument, saying that all Americans were "in this together." "That suggestion is somehow that I shouldn't be going home to my district in Richmond, Va. telling a small businessperson that I can't help by providing a tax cut for them so they can grow their business and hire more people just because someone else might benefit. At the end of the day we are all in this together," Cantor said. The Hill
Right Now, Small Businesses Are “In A Holding Pattern” On Job Creation. Small-business job retention rates in New Jersey match national reports showing no drastic reduction in work force numbers, but on the flip side, job creation remains low. According to the National Federation of Independent Business' Small-Business Optimism Index for January, job growth improved from the previous month, but only to net no new workers, as 78 percent of the 2,155 small-business owners polled nationally indicated they made no net change in employment. … "Everyone seems to be in a holding pattern," said Laurie Ehlbeck, NFIB's New Jersey state director, in prepared remarks. "Our members still say they're just getting by. There's nothing in the economy or the news that can create any momentum for small businesses." New Jersey Business
• WATCH Leader Cantor Go On Offense For Small Businesses; Discusses The JOBS Act and Small Biz Tax Cut HERE
State Of Play (2): President Obama’s Energy Policies Are Hampering Economic Growth
Rising Gas Prices Will Stifle Already Weak Growth. Gasoline prices have never been higher this time of the year. At $3.53 a gallon, prices are already up 25 cents since Jan. 1. And experts say they could reach a record $4.25 a gallon by late April. … Higher gas prices could hurt consumer spending and curtail the recent improvement in the U.S. economy. A 25-cent jump in gasoline prices, if sustained over a year, would cost the economy about $35 billion. That's only 0.2 percent of the total U.S. economy, but economists say it's a meaningful amount, especially at a time when growth is only so-so. … High oil and gas prices now set the stage for even sharper increases at the pump because gas typically rises in March and April. The Associated Press
• Surging Gas Prices Are A Major Threat To The Economy. Just as the recovery is finally looking real, surging fuel prices are once again looming as a major threat to the financial health of U.S. consumers and the broader economy. The price surge has been particularly steep in California, in part because of maintenance at some refineries that make the state's cleaner-burning gasoline. Statewide, average pump prices for regular gasoline crossed the $4 mark over the weekend and reached an average of $4.031 a gallon Monday, up 5% in just the last week and nearly 9% higher than a month ago. The Los Angeles Times
Pain At The Pump: Americans Are Just Beginning To Feel The Negative Impact Of President Obama’s Failed Energy Strategy. Here we go again. Gasoline prices are rising rapidly and already have shattered the $4-a-gallon mark in California. Industry analysts say the all-time national average record of $4.11 could be shattered this summer. Some stations in Los Angeles are charging $4.93. Americans hired Barack Obama in 2008 partly in hope of finding relief from that summer’s pain at the pump. … The standard rule is that each penny increase sucks about $1 billion out of the economy, so the financial impact will be felt from coast to coast.
House Republicans Have Acted To Increase Energy Production and Provide Relief At The Pump, But Senate Majority Leader Reid Won’t Hold A Vote On The House-Passed Bills. Last week, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed an energy bill by a vote of 237-187 that would reverse Mr. Obama’s recent decision to block construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. With his December announcement to delay a final ruling on the project until 2013, Mr. Obama, as a favor to his radical anti-business political base, passed up an opportunity to create an estimated 20,000 construction jobs. The House bill grants pipeline developer TransCanada a permit to proceed with the project and allows for expanded oil drilling in offshore reservoirs and in the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sticks to his usual script, he’ll prevent the upper chamber from even voting on the measure, saving the president from the embarrassment of vetoing an economy-boosting measure in an election year. The Washington Times
• View The List Of Bipartisan House-Passed Bills To Expand Domestic Energy Production and Create Jobs That Senator Reid and Senate Democrats Refuse To Vote On HERE
The Road Ahead
The Democrats’ Looming “Taxmageddon.” “On Dec. 31, the George W. Bush-era tax cuts are scheduled to expire, raising rates on investment income, estates and gifts, and earnings at all levels. Overnight, the marriage penalty for joint filers will spring back to life, the value of the child credit will drop from $1,000 to $500, and the rate everyone pays on the first $8,700 of wages will jump from 10 percent to 15 percent. The Social Security payroll tax will pop back up to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent under the deal approved Friday by Congress. And new Medicare taxes enacted as part of President Obama’s health-care initiative will for the first time strike high-income households. The potential shock to the nation’s pocketbook is so enormous, congressional aides have dubbed it “Taxmageddon.” Some economists say it could push the fragile U.S. economy back into recession, particularly if automatic cuts to federal agencies, also set for January, are permitted to take effect.” The Washington Post
Tone Check: Any Time Republicans Try To Get The Budget Under Control, Individuals On The Other Side Of The Aisle Launch Into Personal Attacks That Have Nothing To Do With The Debate. Cantor also responded to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) characterization of him and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as "demons" during a speech to California Democrats. "Those kinds of words are obviously not very helpful," Cantor said. "That's evidence again that any time we try to put forward pro-growth measures or measures to get the budget under control, that's what happens. Individuals on the other side take off in a personal attack that has nothing to do with the debate. The Hill