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Two "American Jobs Act" bills -- GOP lawmaker swipes Obama's bill name

Obama, Louie Gohmert
Obama and Louie Gohmert CBS/AP

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert is no fan of President Obama's "American Jobs Act," but he does, apparently, think the name is pretty catchy.

The Texas lawmaker introduced his own jobs bill on Wednesday, and he gave it the exact same name as the president's bill. Gohmert says his bill will create jobs simply by taking the corporate tax rate to zero.

"After waiting to see what the president would actually put into legislative language, and then waiting to see if anybody would actually introduce the president's bill in the House, today I took the initiative and introduced the 'American Jobs Act of 2011,'" Gohmert said in a statement. "It is a very simple bill, which will eliminate the corporate tax which serves as a tariff that our American companies pay on goods they produce here in America."

Mr. Obama's bill was introduced in the Senate by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a day earlier.

While Gohmert's bill may steal a bit of the spotlight from Mr. Obama's "American Jobs Act," it can't steal the actual name -- there are no House rules prohibiting two different bills from sharing a name. Bills typically have a long, formal name and a short, informal name -- two different pieces of legislation may share either. It would just be confusing.

Gohmert argues his version of the "American Jobs Act" is better, for one thing, because it's simpler -- it clocks in at two pages, versus 155 pages for Mr. Obama's bill. On top of that, he says it will be more effective, instantly making America "a safe haven for businesses resulting in an explosion in revenue increases."

Those opposed to Gohmert's plan point to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's analysis, which called cutting the corporate tax rate "not a particularly cost-effective method of stimulating business spending."

In an interview with the conservative website Newsmax this week, Gohmert suggested Mr. Obama's bill should be renamed something like "The Save Obama's Job Act." He railed against a provision of Mr. Obama's bill that would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against unemployed job applicants, arguing it would only cause more lawsuits.

Incidentally, Mr. Obama and Gohmert aren't the only lawmakers fond of that patriotic bill name -- several other members of Congress have introduced bills this year with similar names. For instance, there's Rep. Charles Boustany's "American Job Protection Act," Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's "New Jobs for America Act," and Rep. Betty Sutton's "Keep American Jobs from Going Down the Drain Act" (which would require the use of American materials to repair public water systems).

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