Hoyer Outlines ‘Make It in America’ Agenda for Dems

The House minority whip says the proposals should draw support from Republicans, but time for legislation is short.

National Journal
Billy House
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Billy House
June 10, 2014, 2:53 p.m.

House Demo­crats led by Minor­ity Whip Steny Hoy­er on Wed­nes­day plan to roll out an up­dated ver­sion of their “Make It in Amer­ica” agenda, a pack­age of pro­pos­als Hoy­er has pushed for much of this dec­ade aimed at cre­at­ing middle-class jobs by re­build­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor.

“We think this is a bi­par­tis­an agenda,” Hoy­er said in an in­ter­view, adding seconds later that he be­lieves it is even “a uni­fy­ing agenda.”

Hoy­er de­flec­ted a ques­tion about why the up­date is only now — so late in the ses­sion — be­ing un­veiled. But he in­sisted there is genu­ine hope that some of its pro­vi­sions could at very least be in­cor­por­ated in­to some lar­ger Re­pub­lic­an bills.

In fact, some of the pro­pos­als be­ing high­lighted in the pack­age are bills from new­er House Demo­crats. In­clu­sion of those meas­ures will al­most cer­tainly provide these law­makers with cam­paign-trail am­muni­tion to counter claims that House Re­pub­lic­ans corner the mar­ket on con­cern about jobs and the eco­nomy.

Those bills in­clude one called the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Jobs for Vet­er­ans Act, sponsored by Rep. Su­z­an Del­Bene of Wash­ing­ton. Her bill is de­signed to ac­cel­er­ate skills-train­ing for vet­er­ans for man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­reers.

An­oth­er is the Edu­ca­tion for Jobs Act, sponsored by Rep. Michelle Lu­jan Grisham of New Mex­ico, which would ex­pand fed­er­al stu­dent-loan pro­grams to work­ing pro­fes­sion­als and oth­ers who may have dif­fi­culty meet­ing cur­rent re­quire­ments.

And a third is the Work­ers Op­por­tun­ity and Re­train­ing Com­pet­it­ive Grant Pro­gram, sponsored by Rep. Bill En­yart of Illinois, which es­tab­lishes a man­u­fac­tur­ing grant pro­gram to provide schol­ar­ships to un­em­ployed work­ers for man­u­fac­tur­ing job re­train­ing.

But among pro­vi­sions of the Demo­crats’ agenda is one cer­tain to grab at­ten­tion: a call for re­new­ing the charter of the little-known Ex­port-Im­port Bank later this year. The bank makes tax­pay­er-backed loans to help over­seas en­tit­ies buy U.S. products, au­thor­iz­ing roughly $27 bil­lion in fisc­al 2013 to back about $37 bil­lion in ex­port sales.

House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor had teamed with Hoy­er to put to­geth­er a bill in 2012 that raised the bank’s lend­ing lim­it and ex­ten­ded its charter through this year. But the fate of the bank ap­pears very much in the air as con­ser­vat­ive law­makers and groups such as Her­it­age Ac­tion and the Club for Growth have come out against re­new­ing its charter, which ex­pires on Sept. 30.

Hoy­er said he knows that Can­tor and oth­er House GOP lead­ers are wrest­ling with the is­sue. But he pre­dicted that, ul­ti­mately, “I think the busi­ness com­munity is go­ing to push Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship very hard on this,” and that the charter will be re­newed once again.

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