Freshman Congressman Defends House of Representatives’ Work on Jobs, Says Bills Have ‘Languished’ in the Senate

Oct 5, 2011 6:33pm
Freshman congressman Joe Heck, R-Nevada, said he and his House colleagues are doing their part to move legislation aimed at job creation,  blaming instead the Senate for its sluggish pace.”Republicans have already brought forward and passed out 14 different bills that would spur job creation,” Heck on ABC’s ‘Top Line.’ ”They’ve been sent over to the Senate where they’ve languished with the exception of two of them.”

Heck also introduced a jobs bill that he says has garnered bipartisan support in a very short period of time.

“The president’s job act has been out for about a month now and has got zero co-sponsors. My bill has been out for a week, and we’ve got 11 bipartisan cosponsors on it already,” said Heck.

Heck’s bill focuses on shortening visa processing times for business travelers to drive up tourism to the U.S, a move he says will add 1.3 million jobs and $860 billion to the economy. Obama’s jobs bill is much broader in scope; it aims to cut payroll taxes and boost money for teachers, firefighters, the unemployed and infrastructure.

In the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, Congress got an approval rating of 14%, the lowest in the history of the poll. For Heck and his colleagues, the challenge will be convincing the American public that lawmakers are indeed working to add jobs to the economy.

“We’re back at the district every weekend,” said Heck, who serves Nevada’s 3rd congressional district. “We just came back from the August work period. We just had a district work period last week, and we’re holding town halls in person.”

Heck added he understands “everybody’s frustrated” and noted a lot of that frustration likely stems from partisan gridlock.

Asked if he ever gets together with fellow Nevadan Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., Heck said he and the Senate majority leader do talk about “bigger policy issues” specific to their home state. The freshman congressman said he and the veteran Senator have a phone call scheduled for this Friday.

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