WASHINGTON -- House Republicans are circulating talking points in advance of President Barack Obama's jobs speech to Congress, urging their members to play up the GOP's own economic plan and oppose a second stimulus and "job-crushing regulation."
The GOP does not plan to offer an official rebuttal to the president's speech on Thursday night, but the four-page document being passed around by the House Republican Conference gives an indication of what Republicans will be saying to their constituents and on cable TV in the following days.
Primarily, they will be opposing more stimulus spending, more regulations and a payroll tax extension. But the House Republican Conference, led by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), notes there may be room for cooperation on permitting for construction projects, infrastructure spending, free trade agreements and a jobs program for the unemployed being eyed by the White House.
"It's our hope that the president will take this opportunity to move past his failed short-term stimulus measures and offer policies to remove the barriers of uncertainty and to help job creators do their job by getting the government out of the way," states the document, passed along to The Huffington Post by a Democratic aide.
One of the central points of Obama's plan will be extending a payroll tax cut for workers. The Obama administration wants the tax to stay at 4.2 percent, instead of going back up to 6.2 percent. The tax applies to annual earnings up to $106,800.
While Republicans typically embrace tax cuts, they're not very enthusiastic about this one.
"Now the White House is calling for an extension when there have been no signs that the temporary measure worked in the first place," the GOP talking points state. "While it's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn, not all relief is created equal for the purpose of helping to get the economy moving again."
Obama is expected to push for more federal spending to help jump-start the economy, although he may avoid the word "stimulus," which has become a bogeyman for Republicans.
The GOP document makes clear that Republicans will continue to oppose anything resembling the last stimulus.
"At the time, House Republicans argued that a large, deficit-financed government spending bill was not the best way to improve our economic situation or create sustainable growth in employment. With these serious concerns in mind, House Republicans voted unanimously against the stimulus bill. Given the current unemployment and deficit numbers, we believe our concerns have been validated," the document says.
Members are also encouraged to play up the "House Republican Plan for America's Job Creators," which they unveiled in May. The plan contained few new ideas, mostly rehashing points from past conservative wish lists: lower tax rates, pass pending free trade deals, get rid of regulations and increase domestic energy production.
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