House advisors to Speaker John Boehner are already preparing for an early battle over jobs and energy once Congress returns.
Officials describe Boehner's American Energy & Infrastructure Jobs Act as the GOP's premier jobs bill in 2012, aimed at boosting long-term hiring of road and bridge builders.
It is to be paid for by new oil and gas leases, providing a one-two punch on key election year issues. According to the speaker's office, the bill would "permanently remove government barriers to American energy production and use the additional revenues to repair and improve America's roads and bridges—both of which support long-term job growth." [Jobs Report is a Belated Christmas Present to Obama.]
A Boehner aide said "we believe this bill offers a bipartisan opportunity to fund our long-term infrastructure needs in a fiscally responsible way while reducing America's dependence on foreign oil."
The package would supplement the GOP's mandate that President Obama OK the new Keystone XL energy pipeline between Canada and Texas that some say will create nearly 250,000 jobs. In fact, U.S. Chamber Vice President Bruce Josten Chamber of Commerce slammed the president Thursday, telling Whispers that Obama should have mentioned Keystone in his Wednesday event on insourcing jobs, since virtually all the jobs it would create would be in the United States. [See the latest political cartoons.]