Signs of Bipartisanship Surface from Illinois Congressmen
Crain's Chicago Business
September 12, 2011
By Greg Hinz
I wouldn't want to overstate matters, but this Monday actually is bringing sounds of bipartisan cooperation from Washington on the crucial issue of job creation.
In separate events today, three Republicans and a Democrat — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, and U.S. Reps. Randy Hultgren, Robert Dold and Dan Lipinski — are proposing steps that echo portions of President Barack Obama's jobs speech last week.
Advisories announcing the events specifically quote the participants as wanting a "bipartisan" approach in Washington — believe it or not.
Mr. Dold, in a morning conference call, was joined by two businessmen from his north suburban district to promote his call for up to a one-year holiday on payroll (Social Security) taxes for any firm that hires an unemployed person.
The president's proposal was somewhat different — for instance, limiting the credit to long-term unemployed and small businesses. But Mr. Dold said he could back Mr. Obama's proposal to limit the credit to a maximum of $5 million for any one company.
Overall, Mr. Dold the Republican said he was "pleased" with the Democratic president's payroll tax plan. Beyond that, Mr. Dold said he likes the president's call to pass trade pacts with Korea and other countries and to boost spending on infrastructure, and suggested he even could support an extension of unemployment benefits as part of the right package.
Meanwhile, Messrs. Kirk, Hultgren and Lipinski, joined by major building industry and labor officials, are holding a press conference on the Wacker Drive reconstruction site to call for extending the federal surface transportation funding bill and passage of a new, multiyear transit plan.
The group said their call is being made "in a state of bipartisan, bicameral unity."
The call disguises big differences between the Democratic Senate and Republican House over how much to spend and on what to spend it. For instance, Mr. Kirk is big on public-private partnerships. Democrats want more money for things like transit, while Republicans prefer to focus on roads.
But the Kirk-Hultgren-Lipinski group is prominently noting that tens of thousands of jobs just in Illinois will disappear if funding is allowed to die at the end of the month, when the current transit bill is scheduled to expire.
Perhaps these proposals are a start. We'll see.
Contribute Volunteer Lawn Sign Get Updates