February 16,2011

Press Contact:

Scott Mulhauser/Erin Shields (Baucus)

Baucus Discusses Job-Creation Initiatives, Deficit Reduction Measures in President's Budget with Geithner

Finance Chair Examines Ways Tax, Trade, Health Care Policies Can Create Jobs

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) convened a hearing today with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to examine tax, trade and health care proposals in President Obama’s fiscal year 2012 budget and these initiatives’ ability to create jobs and contribute to deficit reduction.  Baucus also made clear that this year he will be closely looking at ways to reform the tax code to make the U.S. more competitive and our tax system fairer.

“Our work to create jobs here in America must continue and must remain our number one priority, even as we turn to the significant task of deficit reduction,” Baucus said.  “We have made real progress in our efforts to save jobs and create new ones, but we still have a long way to go and we need to ensure the initiatives in the President’s budget contribute to this goal.  As the Finance Committee scrutinizes the tax code this year and works to make our tax system as simple, efficient and well-targeted as possible, we will look at every deduction and every credit with an eye toward job creation and economic growth.”

Baucus noted the U.S. economy created more than one million new private sector jobs in 2010, the best year for private-sector job growth since 2006, but that much more work is needed to create jobs.

Baucus touted the new health care law’s significant job-creation measures and deficit reduction steps, projected to reduce the deficit by $230 billion in the next decade and by more than $1 trillion in the following decade.  He also stated his support for tax incentives in the President’s budget designed to spur job creation, including the successful Build America Bonds program.  In 2009, Baucus created the program to create construction jobs through financing of new infrastructure projects across the country that otherwise would have been delayed or abandoned altogether.  In 2009 and 2010, the Build America Bonds program led to over $180 billion in financing for new projects pursued by state and local governments, at a lower financing cost per dollar than tax-exempt bonds.

Baucus noted to Geithner his support for the Administration’s goal of doubling American exports by 2015 as a major job-creating initiative, but stressed this goal cannot be achieved without a smart and aggressive trade policy, including the resolution of the Colombia, Panama and Korea free trade agreements (FTAs).  Baucus asked Geithner to commit that the Administration would resolve the outstanding issues, including a process by which Korea will address its barriers to U.S. beef exports, with all three FTAs and submit them to Congress as soon as possible this year.

The Finance Committee convened a hearing yesterday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to examine in-depth the health care proposals in the President’s budget.  Video of both hearings can be found on the Finance Committee’s website at http://finance.senate.gov/hearings.