This article was published by the Center for American Progress.
Economists agree that the key to creating good jobs and a strong economy is investments—particularly investments in infrastructure, research innovation, and worker productivity. Nevertheless, House Republicans seem determined to do just the opposite of what America needs to promote economic growth. In the wee hours of the morning on February 19, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution, or CR, to fund the federal government through September 2011 on a party-line vote. This came just five days after President Barack Obama released his own budget request for fiscal year 2012. The contrast in governing styles and priorities for public investment could not be more striking.
Both plans would legislate substantial fiscal contractions and lay off public employees at a time when 14 million Americans remain unemployed and our economy still struggles with recovery from the Great Recession—moves that will inflict unnecessary hardship and slow economic growth. Goldman Sachs economists estimate that the Republican CR will shave 1.5 to 2 percentage points off U.S. economic growth, pushing us dangerously towards a double-dip recession. But while the Republican CR runs a scorched-earth policy over the federal budget, President Obama's budget actually expands critical investments in infrastructure, innovation, and education that will boost competitiveness and productivity of the U.S. economy for the long run.