The House soundly rejected a jobs-related bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Murphy, D-5th District, on Wednesday. It didn’t even really get a full-fledged vote. Instead, Republicans squashed it in a procedural motion.
And that’s about as good as it’s going to get, now that Murphy and the rest of Connecticut’s U.S. House delegation is in the minority party. Today’s vote was actually a rare opportunity for Murphy to get his bill a public airing.
It came up during a House debate over a Republican-backed proposal to defund part of President Barack Obama’s health care law. The GOP proposal would kill the Prevention and Public Health Fund, a wellness initiative that allocates $15 billion over 10 years to help detect diseases early and manage conditions before they spiral.
Democrats usually get to offer an alternative measure. And in Wednesday’s debate, they tapped Murphy to offer up his bill, the American Jobs Matter Act.
His proposal would require federal officials to accept and solicit a “jobs impact statement” from businesses seeking government contracts. The statement would state how many American jobs would be retained or created if their bid was chosen. That way, Murphy argued, federal bureaucrats who award contracts would be able to see how their decision might affect the domestic economy.
For House Democrats, it was less about the specific legislation, which they knew would fail, than it was about making a political point. They’ve been arguing that while Republicans are preoccupied with undoing the health care law and pushing an ideological agenda, they’re focused on jobs.
“Every day that goes by, we are missing opportunities to protect and create American jobs simply because the Republicans are singularly focused on rewarding the far right wing of their party,” Murphy said in a statement after the vote. “There is a time to debate social issues and aspects of the health care reform law that may need some tweaking, but now is the time for jobs.”
Of course, for Republicans, the debate over the health care defunding bill was about scoring political points too. Neither proposal will become law anytime soon. Even though the GOP measure passed the House, it will almost certainly die in the Senate.