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.

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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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