What's new in the GOP jobs plan?

Republicans are countering President Obama's jobs plan with a GOP jobs plan. But how much of the GOP jobs plan is really new?

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduces a Republican alternative jobs bill with Sen. Daniel Coats, R-Ind., Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., watching.

Republican Senators have had enough of President Obama wagging his finger at them for lack of a jobs plan.

As such, Senators John McCain (Ariz.), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Rob Portman (Ohio) unveiled the “Jobs Through Growth Act” yesterday. So what’s in it?

First, it’s important to note that the bill is four pages long and 3.5 of those are filled up with legislation already introduced by GOPers in either the Senate or the House. As such, it isn’t so much a passel of new proposals as it is an endorsement by the Senate Republican caucus of their best ideas. There’s not very much that’s “new” but what is “new” is that Senate Republicans are putting their imprimatur on a specific package of legislation.

As POLITICO’s Manu Raju writes:

"Senate Republicans are taking on a risk by putting their ideas in legislative language. They could open themselves up to criticism from Democrats if official budget scorekeepers show that the price tag could drive up the deficit and if economists are dubious on whether it would actually create jobs…

In proposing legislation in painstaking detail, Republicans in the Senate are diverging from tactics Minority Leader Mitch McConnell employed during other major policy fights. While individual Republicans have offered specific bills, the overall GOP conference has studiously avoided getting behind a detailed set of policy ideas — even during hugely consequential fights like over health care reform"

Having said that, the plan does call for some new measures: dropping individual income tax rates to a maximum of 25 percent, with only two marginal rates, while reducing the top corporate rate to 25 percent as well.

  • Currently, there are six marginal income tax rates spanning 10 percent to 35 percent. As such, this amounts to a tax break for wealthy and middle income Americans but it remains to be seen what would happen to those who make less than $35,000 per year who currently pay at 15 percent or 10 percent.
  • Both the corporate and individual tax changes would be paid for by the Senate Finance Committee’s recommendations for cutting tax credits and deductions to make it revenue neutral.

The legislation would also likely eliminate or sharply reduce taxes on profits made by American corporations outside the US. This could lead to the so-called “tax holiday” many companies - particularly those in technology - are asking for to bring home an estimated $1.4 trillion in cash held by American companies overseas because they don’t want to pay American taxes on repatriated earnings.

Is that it? Mostly, yes. The plan has its share of sweeping improbabilities (a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, yawn) and some down-in-the-weeds GOP favorites (like “preventing” the EPA from regulating “farm dust” … before the EPA has ever made a regulation about farm dust). But yes, that’s it.

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