jobs

House Approves Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone XL cartoon

After months of waiting President Barack Obama to stop sitting on his hands, the House passed a resolution last night in a 241 to 175 vote to bypass the White House and approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline:

The House passed a bill Wednesday that would approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline by an act of law, and take the decision out of the hands of President Obama.

Members voted 241-175 in favor of H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act. Republican supporters were joined by 19 Democrats, much less than the level of Democratic support in the last Congress.
[…]
The House also accepted a lone Republican amendment from Rep. Randy Weber (Texas), which highlights State Department findings that say the Keystone pipeline is environmentally sound. Weber’s language passed 246-168.

President Obama has promised to veto the measure. That generally means that the Senate won’t even bother taking up the measure. But the upper chamber did pass an amendment to its budget back in March that approved Keystone XL.

Restaurant Franchisees Feel ObamaCare’s Bite

There have already been a number of stories written on the effects of ObamaCare on many small businesses. Perhaps no enterprise has felt the impacts of the law worse than the restaurant industry.

ObamaCare requires employers with over 50 employees to offer insurance coverage to those who work 30 hours or more, which is considered to be “full-time” under the law, or otherwise pay a $2,000 fine per worker. This is known as the “employer mandate.” Opponents of ObamaCare warned that this mandate would hurt investment and many workers, who would either lose their jobs or face scaled back hours. Supporters of the law obviously didn’t care enough listen.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the plight of restaurant franchisees who are struggling to remain profitable as the realities of ObamaCare hit their businesses:

Sam Ballas, chief executive of ECW Enterprises Inc., owner of East Coast Wings & Grill, a 26-unit chain in North Carolina and Texas, in March imposed a three- to five-unit limit, for the time being, on the number of restaurants that franchisees can own, because of worries about health-care costs.
[…]
Mr. Ballas said several East Coast Wings franchisees are up against that limit now and that one is considering selling a restaurant to remain below the threshold.

ObamaCare Headlines Tell an Interesting Story

Capitalizing on the frustration congressional Democrats have recently expressed over rising health insurance premiums and the Obama Administration’s implementation efforts of ObamaCare, the House Republican Conference rolled out a new video on Thursday that highlights the headlines showing slashed hours and job losses that have come as a result of the law. This is the primary reason, outside of the recent IRS scandal, that House Republicans have pursued repeal of ObamaCare.

After rolling though the headlines, the video asks, “How many more jobs will ObamaCare cost?” It’s a question worth asking because, to this point, ObamaCare has been a nightmare for employers and there are no signs that the consequences of the law are letting up.

House Parodies “Arrested Development” to Highlight Democratic Dischord

Arrested Economic Development

With all the excitement over the comeback of the TV show, Arrested Development, the trailer for which was just recently released, the House Republican Conference has come up with a humorous parody of the show featuring a “dysfunctional Democratic majority.”

The video features President Barack Obama, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), all of whom pushed for passage of ObamaCare, and notes that the law is causing insurance premiums to rise and causing employers headaches. It also highlights the doubts about ObamaCare now being expressed by members of their own party:

Nearly Half of Small Businesses Believe ObamaCare will Hurt Them

ObamaCare

The White House and leading congressional Democrats are still trying to fight back against critics of ObamaCare, but their specious case isn’t convincing skeptical small business owners. According to a recent survey from Gallup, only 9% believe that the law will help them, while 48% of small business owners believe ObamaCare is going to be bad for business:

To show how deep the concern over the law goes and the messaging problem before apologists of the law, only 13% of small business owners believe that ObamaCare will improve quality of healthcare.

FreeEnterprise.com, the official blog of the United States Chamber of Commerce, also points to a separate poll of business owners showing the confusion over ObamaCare and points to the fact that “41% said [of sma held off on hiring workers, and 38% said they’ve pulled back on growing their businesses because of the law.”

Voters Want Action on the Economy, Not Guns

Vice President Joe Biden has telegraphed his plan to make another push for new gun control laws and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is still pushing to gain support for his completely pointless background check proposal. But the public has other priorities. According to a recent Gallup poll, 86% of Americans rank job creation and the economy as their top priorities:

A new Gallup poll released Wednesday finds 86 percent of voters saying Congress should make its top focus job creation, with 86 percent saying Congress should prioritize work on improving the economy.

Those two issues are the top concerns for voters, with gun violence and an overhaul of the nation’s immigration reform laws at the bottom of the list of 12 priorities.

Only 55 percent of those surveyed said reducing gun violence should be a top priority, and a similar 50 percent said that Congress should focus on immigration reform.

BLS: 165,000 Jobs Created in April, Broader Unemployment Rate Inches Up

Yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released jobs number from the month of April, which found that the economy created 165,000 jobs — slightly more than the 150,000 jobs the economy needs to produce to keep up with population growth.

Employment rose by 165,000 jobs in April, according to the monthly economic report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And unemployment dropped slightly from 7.6 to 7.5 percent—a minimal change, but one marking a steady, .4 percent drop since January. It’s the lowest unemployment rate in four years.

Employment increases were seen in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, retail trade and health care, according to the report.

The Labor Department also announced revised and more positive figures for February and March: Employment for February was revised from 268,000 to 332,000 jobs gained and for March from 88,000 to 138,000 jobs gained.

There’s definitely some good news there after years of lagging economic growth. But there are still some concerns about another economic slowdown. But it should be noted that the U-6 unemployment rate, which many call the true measure of the jobs picture, inched up to 13.9% from 13.8%. Reuters noted that the “details of the report remained consistent with a slowdown in economic activity.”

House Republicans Expose “Benefits” of ObamaCare

It didn’t take long for House Republicans to hit back at President Barack Obama’s assertion that Americans are “are already experiencing most of the benefits of the Afordable Care Act.”

That was the claim made by President Obama at his press conference on Tuesday as answered a question on the concerns expressed by members of his own party on the administration’s implementation efforts and have begun to voice them to the administration. He touted the “benefits” of ObamaCare, though only mentioned a couple different aspects, and noted that there would be “glitches and bumps” as the administration implements the chaotic state exchanges and costly Medicare expansion.

House Republicans took their message to Twitter on Tuesday and Wednesday linking to a post at their party’s conference website that lists many of the “benefits” that Americans can expect to “enjoy.” Here’s the list from the post:

Twinkie is Making a Comeback Without Big Labor

Hostess

It seemed like the Twinkie was done for at the end of the last year. Due to high-labor costs and a union unwilling to make concessions to end a strike, Hostess was forced to liquidate its assets, including the spongy, creme-filled snack. But the Wall Street Journal notes that the Twinkie and other sweet snacks will be make a comeback July — and labor unions won’t have any influence:

The company that bought the Twinkie, HoHo and Ding Dong brands out of bankruptcy is gearing up to reopen plants and hire workers, but it won’t be using union labor.

Hostess Brands LLC—Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC’s APO +3.00% new incarnation of the baking company that liquidated in Chapter 11—is reopening four bakeries in the next eight to 10 weeks, aiming to get Twinkie-deprived consumers the classic snack cake starting in July.

Chief Executive C. Dean Metropoulos said the company will pump $60 million in capital investments into the plants between now and September and aims to hire at least 1,500 workers. But they won’t be represented by unions, including the one whose nationwide strike sparked the 86-year-old company’s decision to shut down in November.

Metropoulos and Apollo, the company that bought Hostess, is opening up bakeries in couple of right-to-work states, including Georgia and Kansas. Illinois and Indiana — neither of which are right-to-work states — will also get bakeries as well. All told, Metropoulos and Apollo will employ some 1,500 workers in the four plants.

ObamaCare Compliance to Cost Businesses $24 Billion

Douglas Holtz-Eakin

During a House Small Business Committee hearing last week, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the Congressional Budget Office from 2003 to 2005, explained that the compliance costs of ObamaCare — passed as the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” — could cost businesses up to $24 billion and 80 million hours of paperwork.

“The [Affordable Care Act] is very costly,” Holtz-Eakin explained to the committee. “It has about $24 billion in reported regulatory compliance costs. These are estimates that come from the administration itself. Eighty million hours of paperwork time spent complying with those regulations. To give you some perspective - that’s 40,000 full time employees filling out paperwork for a year nonstop”

Responding to a question from Rep. Tom Rice about the affects of the bill on the economy and ostensibly the American people, Holtz-Eakin said, “This is a negative; I don’t think there’s anyway around that.”

“Whatever your other objects might be, if you set out to enhance job creation and growth in the United States, you wouldn’t pass a bill with a trillion dollars of tax increases, a large entitlement program, and this amount of regulation,” Holtz-Eakin continued. “That isn’t a good strategy.”

Holtz-Eakin also noted that the insurance tax will be passed onto consumers in their health insurance premiums. He also agreed with Sen. Max Baucus’s recent comments that the implementation efforts of ObamaCare will be a “train wreck.”

 


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