A United States Senator is blasting the numbers released this week by the White House that showed that the bipartisan immigration reform bill would create thousands of jobs in Connecticut and even more across the country.
In a conference call with reporters and in an embargoed report, the White House cited an analysis by Regional Economic Models, Inc., known as the REMI model. The state-by-state analysis by REMI projected that the immigration bill would create an estimated 6,904 jobs in Connecticut by 2014 and boost the state’s economy by $3 billion over the next three decades by 2045.
But U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said the numbers are overly optimistic.
“This economics consulting company has a reputation for producing large, positive impact results on behalf of its clients,” Sessions said of REMI. ”City governments, for example, contract with REMI to show huge economic gains from new sports stadiums. The predictions are almost universally more positive than the end results.”
He added, “The White House preposterously argues that this influx of new workers will raise wages, a conclusion not supported by any credible academic evidence or even [the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's] own report, which determined wages would fall for a dozen years.”
Sessions added, “What is the economic gain if the total economy is larger but the average person is less well-off? As the Congressional Budget Office noted, per capita Gross National Product under comprehensive immigration reform would actually be negative, not positive, even though the total size of the national economy would be bigger. Common sense and any logical analysis would show the same result at the state level.”
In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, White House officials said that enacting the U.S. Senate-passed bill would spur economic growth by encouraging workers to come out of the shadows and begin paying more taxes. The bill would expand programs for both high-skilled and temporary workers as it provides a path toward citizenship.
The conference call, which included reporters from The Hartford Courant, The Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers across the nation, was designed to turn up the heat to force a vote in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives.
“It is our intent to continue to put pressure on the House of Representatives … to get them to act,” said Josh Earnest, a deputy White House spokesman.
But Earnest told reporters that the upcoming five-week summer recess, which ends on September 9, makes it uncertain when the House might debate the bill.
“The Speaker of the House controls the floor,” Earnest said. “In terms of when the House will decide to take action, I think that’s pretty unclear at this point.”
Gene Sperling, a top economic adviser to President Obama, said it is important for the workers to become legal citizens “rather than to go back and be competitors of American companies.”
Sperling noted that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the bill would increase the nation’s gross domestic product by 3.3 percent in 2023.