California Senator Barbara Boxer and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood went on the stump today to rally public support behind President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act -- particularly the transportation and infrastructure portion.
According to Boxer and LaHood, in California, the President’s investments for highway and transit projects would mean an immediate infusion of more than $3.9 billion that could support a minimum of approximately 51,500 jobs across the state.
Boxer hammered home the concept of bi-partisanship as a means for passing the American Jobs Act using the word several times in her introductory statement.
“I would use it ten times if I could because bi-partisanship is what we need to get this done and bi-partisanship is what I’ve shown in my committee,” Boxer said.
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Boxer, Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, cited numerous joint press conferences with Oklahoma Republican Senator James Inhoff.
“Although we disagree on many issues, when it comes to infrastructure, there’s really no light between us. And we have a very bi-partisan transportation bill that we’re very excited about which keeps spending at current levels,” Boxer said.
Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonich responded to the stumping.
“The government cannot spend its way out of recession – especially when it’s already trillions of dollars in debt with no viable plan to reduce it,” Antonovich said.
Secretary LaHood says the President’s earlier plan has been revised with practical “Pay-fors”, also known as “pay-as-you-go”, or PAYGO, which is a budgeting colloquialism meaning a spending cut or tax increase must accompany any piece of new spending legislation.
“The idea that the President wants to put it on the debt is simply not true any longer. These are “Pay-fors” the President has thought about, his economic team has thought about. They are the way to pay for this,” LaHood said.
Earlier this month, President Obama crafted the American Jobs Act, which according to Boxer:
- Provides tax cuts to help California’s small business to hire and grow;
- Puts workers back on the job while rebuilding and modernizing America;
- Creates pathways back to work for Californians looking for jobs;
- Cuts taxes for every worker and family in California and across the country
“It’s fully paid for as part of the President’s long-term deficit reduction plan,” Boxer said.
The President is proposing to invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers nationwide, while supporting the hiring of tens of thousands more and keeping cops and firefighters on the job.
According to the White House, these funds would help states and localities avoid and reverse layoffs now, and will provide more than $3.6 billion to California to support up to 37,300 educator and first responder jobs.
Antonovich is not on board with the President’s vision.
“The best way to get Americans back to work is to create a business-friendly environment by reducing taxes and regulations on private enterprise and American innovation. Government does not create sustainable jobs – the private sector does,” said Antonovich.
Still Boxer remains hopeful the American Jobs Act will win passage.
“I think we have a very good chance of moving forward on this American Jobs Act because people want us to do it. People are hurting. Construction workers are hurting. And yeah, I think we have a chance,” Boxer said.