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Hoyer slams Cantor on jobs, campaigns for Titus

U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, on Monday criticized Republicans for not doing enough to create jobs as he campaigned in Las Vegas for Dina Titus, the former congresswoman seeking to return to Washington in 2012.

Hoyer dismissed a new set of proposals from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor to give small-business owners a fresh tax break and to eliminate 10 regulations that Republicans contend hamper job growth and business, including some environmental protection rules.

Cantor, R-Va., on Monday offered the proposals as part of a GOP jobs push when Congress returns after Labor Day and as President Barack Obama prepares his own plan to boost employment. With jobless rates high, including 12.9 percent in Nevada, a key issue in the 2012 elections will be which party can cut the nation’s unemployment and re-energize the stagnant economy.

“Mr. Cantor puts forth an agenda that doesn’t deal with the problems that confront our country,” said Hoyer, D-Md., standing beside Titus. “As if that’s a jobs bill. It’s not a jobs bill. And you can call it a jobs bill every hour on the hour, every minute on the minute, and it’s not going to make it a jobs bill.”

Cantor presented his ideas on Monday in a memo to rank-and-file Republicans. The tax break outlined in the memo would let small-business owners deduct 20 percent of their incomes from taxes. Most of the regulations targeted are issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Washington has now gotten in the way, and we’ve got to make it easier, finally, for small-business people to grow,” Cantor said in an interview on Fox News, according to The Hill newspaper.

Hoyer acknowledged that people and businesses are “mad at Congress” because of the political infighting and gridlock, saying, “People think that we’re worth a warm bottle of spit.”

But he placed the blame on Republicans who won the House majority in 2010, calling them, “This crew that took over the House of Representatives … and hasn’t passed much legislation at all.”

Hoyer backed Titus during a news conference at the Clark County Education Association. He said he supports her, though lines for Nevada’s congressional districts haven’t been drawn yet, because he thinks she is the best candidate to represent the state.

He has supported her campaigns before, including in 2010 when she lost the 3rd Congressional District to U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev.

Hoyer’s outspoken support of Titus demonstrates the Democratic Party’s effort to return the former representative to Washington and could give her an advantage over any primary opponent.

Three Southern Nevada Democrats have announced congressional bids, including Titus, state Sen. John Lee and Assembly Speaker John Oceguera. Two other Democrats are expected to make House bids too: state Sen. Ruben Kihuen and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford.

Three of Nevada’s four congressional districts will be based in Southern Nevada, meaning there could be heavy primary competition for the seats among Democrats as Heck runs for re-election.

In promoting Titus, Hoyer cited her past work in Congress on three committees that dealt with homeland security, transportation and education and her 20 years service in the state Senate.

“I think Dina Titus is the perfect choice to return to Congress,” Hoyer said.

Titus said she was pleased Hoyer was supporting her so soon in her campaign. He first tried to recruit her to run for Congress in the mid-1990s, but she put him off for a decade.

“It’s wonderful to have him on my side personally and politically,” Titus said.

The two also met together with Nevada labor leaders. Titus plans to attend a clean energy summit today in Las Vegas. Hoyer plans to travel to Northern Nevada to campaign for State Treasurer Kate Marshall. The Democrat is in an uphill battle against former state Sen. Mark Amodei, a Republican, in a Sept. 13 special election for the 2nd Congressional District, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller’s former seat.

A special masters panel has been given the task by a state District Court to draw Nevada’s congressional districts and its 21 Senate and 42 Assembly districts. Redistricting ended up in court because GOP Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed two Democratic plans that he said were both flawed and unfair to Hispanics.

Contact Laura Myers at lmyers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2919. Follow @lmyerslvrj on Twitter.

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