House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) unveiled the latest iteration of a Democratic jobs plan Monday — while crediting the improving economy on former President Barack Obama.
“In the wake of our recovery, we’ve gotten our economy back on its feet thanks to the policies put in place by Barack Obama,” Hoyer said during his presentation in Washington, D.C. “People are getting by, but they’re not necessarily getting ahead, and that’s what our country is supposed to do, give everyone a shot at getting ahead.”
The Hoyer plan is both intended to complement the House Democrats’ more general “For The People” campaign slogan and is the latest addition to the Maryland Democrat’s Make It In America series of economic proposals, begun in 2010.
Obama entered office during the Great Recession of 2008. The economy did improve under his watch but at an unusually sluggish pace throughout his presidency. President Donald Trump appealed to working-class voters who felt left behind in the Obama years.
Trump won the 2016 election in part due to his appeal to the mostly Democrat blue-collar, working-class voters in the Midwest. Democrats have since scrambled to recapture the working-class vote with various initiates and proposals such as their short-lived A Better Deal plan.
“As our economy continues to strengthen, we must do more to ensure workers can take care of their families,” Hoyer said. “To do that, we need to raise wages, including a long overdue increase in the minimum wage. We need to make health care more affordable and stop government corruption that worsens inequality.”
Hoyer developed the latest iteration of his plan after holding meetings with employers and voters in eight cities across the country to hear about the challenges and opportunities they face. The platform includes a bundle of bills intended to improve economic conditions through education, entrepreneurship and infrastructure.
“In these three areas Congress needs to step up and act,” Hoyer said. “We need to promote pathways to career opportunities and make training and education more affordable and more accessible. We need to encourage entrepreneurship by securing access to workplace benefits like health care and retirement security, and we need to provide stronger tools to allow innovators to grow their ideas into successful businesses.”
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Trump has focused on decreasing regulations and individual and corporate taxes to help businesses grow and create new jobs. The economy has improved significantly under Trump’s watch, but many Democrats insist Trump’s predecessor’s policies, not his, are the cause.
Trump has seen an increase in business fixed investment, a 4 percent annual rate increase in wages, 3 million new jobs and an average of 2.5 percent GDP growth. The National Federation of Independent Business recorded that small-business optimism reached an all-time high since his presidency began.
Hoyer’s Make It In America effort was first focused on boosting a declining American manufacturing sector when it was unveiled in 2010. It has since been updated to reflect the improving economy and new and lingering issues faced by employers and employees, such as expanding entrepreneurship, closing the skills gap, and breaking down barriers to domestic manufacturing.
The Make It In America platform has included 19 bills that have become law since 2010. The bills ranged from cutting middle-class taxes and providing loans for small businesses, speeding up the patent process, training skilled workers, and ending tax loopholes that encourage outsourcing.