Eric Cantor: Not Washington's Role to 'Jack Up the Economy'
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said at a jobs forum Monday that Washington is shackling growth-oriented entrepreneurs and frustrating bipartisan efforts to spur job growth by stoking class warfare.
Washington should focus on creating business-oriented policies, he said, but "it's not Washington's role to somehow pick another way to go and jack up the economy."
Cantor said that he and Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), pegged early by leadership as an up-and-comer in the 2010 freshman class, would be introducing a bill to give a 20 percent tax cut to small businesses.
"That sends a signal that Washington is really trying to encourage small-business activity," Cantor said at the YG Network Summit on economic growth and job creation in the 21st century at DC's W Hotel.
"The goal isn't really as much to protect the citizen as to unleash the individual," Scott said. "What are the remedies we can bring to the table? Most of the remedies that business owners want have nothing to do with Washington."
"We can destroy jobs," Scott stressed. "We simply cannot create jobs." But legislators can bring forth bills that help entrepreneurs "move the ball forward," he said.
Revolution Chairman and CEO Steve Case urged greater bipartisan cooperation on the Hill to spur business growth, but Cantor countered that both sides of the aisle clearly have said they want growth. "It's just the words have not matched the actions and we're trying to force that," the congressman said, noting that efforts at bipartisanship have been stymied by "the sort of rhetoric that has been so omnipresent in this town" -- pitting rich against poor.
"Successful people can help people who are not," Cantor said, urging that Washington "set aside that sort of nonsense" that takes the "very dangerous" route of stoking class warfare.
"It really has been much more about dividing than multiplying," he said. "When Washington says, no, I want to tax you because you're too successful … that's anti-growth."
Scott said cross-aisle negotiating should only go so far as both parties do have ideological differences. "The Keystone pipeline is a wonderful area for us to start the discussion," he said.
"I used to be a Democrat, too," said Tom Stemberg, who founded Staples in 1986. "Then I started a business."
This was the first event of the YG Network, sharing its name with the Young Guns Program helmed by Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) that helped propel Republicans back to a House majority in 2010. YG Network President John Murray said that the group would hold a number of events through the year and beyond the election to drive debate.