House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., right, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks to reporters outside the White House in Washington. Friday night, Feb. 11, House Republicans called for cuts in hundreds of government programs in a $61 billion savings package, which is expected to reach the House floor for a vote next week. From education to job training, environment and nutrition, few domestic programs are untouched. In it Americorps and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting are targeted for elimination; spending on defense and veterans' programs are protected. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Republicans won sweeping victories last November by taunting Democrats with “Where are the jobs?” Democrats are now throwing those taunts back, saying it’s Republicans who will knock thousands of Americans out of work with their demands for deep cuts in federal spending.
The attacks have caught Republicans at an awkward moment, as they shift their chief emphasis from creating jobs to reducing the size of the government and its deficits. They are finding it hard to claim they can do both at the same time.
Republicans say a smaller government eventually will spur private-sector job growth. Many economists challenge that claim, noting that the government helps pays for research, infrastructure, education and other programs that provide both public- and private-sector jobs. GOP leaders already acknowledge that thousands of government workers would lose their jobs in the short run under the $61 billion cost-cutting bill House Republicans are pushing this week.
If that happens, “so be it,” said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “We’re broke.”
Senate Democrats said Wednesday the House GOP plan would eliminate nearly $700 million in Title I grants to schools with disadvantaged students, and about “10,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs.” Congressional offices circulated White House budget office estimates saying the Republican bill would cut Head Start by more than $1 billion, leading to the layoffs of about 55,000 teachers and staff.
The liberal Economic Policy Institute says that overall, the House GOP plan “would likely result in job losses of just over 800,000.”