* Republicans push regulatory, tax reform
* Say they have a better answer than Obama
By Thomas Ferraro
WASHINGTON, Oct 13 U.S. Senate Republicans,
having rejected President Barack Obama's jobs bill, offered a
sweeping and largely repackaged plan of their own on Thursday.
Their "Jobs Through Growth Act" features a fresh call for
tax reform and cuts as well as a number of components
previously proposed, but stalled in the Democratic-led Senate.
They include steps to: require a balanced budget; repeal
Obama's overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system; lift
prohibitions on offshore energy exploration and promote U.S.
"This is a pro-growth proposal to create the environment
for jobs that stands in contrast to the short-term sweetener
approach of the Obama administration, an approach that simply
hasn't worked," Senator Rob Portman, a chief sponsor of the
measure, told a news conference.
Republicans unveiled their measure after complaints by
Obama that they haven't offered a jobs-creation plan.
"We just thought it was time to put this all into a
package," said Senator John McCain, another sponsor. "Part of
it is in response to the president saying we don't have a
McCain said all but a few of the Senate's 47 Republicans
had embraced the measure, whose third and final chief sponsor
is Senator Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite.
But Democratic Senator Charles Schumer called the
Republican plan, "a political fig leaf that would likely add to
the deficit while doing nothing to create jobs."
The bill was unveiled two days after Republicans used a
procedural move in the Senate to block Obama's $447 billion
Speaking at the White House on Thursday, Obama touted the
new strategy he and Senate Democrats have crafted to bring up
parts of his bill for individual votes, likely beginning next
"We're going to say, let's have a vote on putting teachers
back in the classroom," said Obama, whose re-election next year
may hinge on how much he can revive the sagging economy and
boost the jobless rate that has been stuck above 9 percent
"Let's have a vote on rebuilding our infrastructure."
If Republicans vote no, Obama said, they will have to
explain their actions to the American people ahead of next
A new Wall Street-NBC poll shows that the public, by a
2-to-1 margin, backs Obama's plan to create jobs through a
mixture of stimulus spending and tax cuts. It would be financed
by a 5.7 percent surtax on millionaires.
Obama called House Speaker John Boehner, the top U.S.
Republican, on Thursday to congratulate him for helping pass
three free trade bills expected to help create jobs.
During the call, Boehner office said, the speaker rejected
Obama's comment that Republicans had not offered a jobs
creation plan, noting that House Republicans offered one in
In fact, the House has passed 11 bills to ease regulations
on business and make it easier to drill for oil and gas. None
have come up for a vote in the Senate.
Democrats have painted Republicans as obstructionists who
care more about defeating Obama than boosting the economy.
Republicans say the president would rather campaign on the
issue of jobs than find a bipartisan solution.