Thursday, October 06, 2011

President Presses For Vote On The American Jobs Act

Oct 6: President Obama held a press conference on his $447 billion American Jobs Act (AJA) which he proposed after Labor Day [See WIMS 9/9/11]. The proposed package includes $245 billion in tax cuts; $140 billion in investments in infrastructure ($60 billion + $30 billion for school rehab) and local aid; and $62 billion in continued unemployment benefits.
    There has been no action on the proposal to date. However, the President announced that, "Next week, the Senate will vote on the American Jobs Act. And I think by now I've made my views pretty well known. Some of you are even keeping a tally of how many times I've talked about the American Jobs Act. And the reason I keep going around the country talking about this jobs bill is because people really need help right now. Our economy really needs a jolt right now.
    "This is not a game; this is not the time for the usual political gridlock. The problems Europe is having today could have a very real effect on our economy at a time when it's already fragile. But this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn if the situation in Europe gets any worse. It will boost economic growth; it will put people back to work. And by the way, this is not just my belief. This is what independent economists have said -- not politicians, not just people in my administration. Independent experts who do this for a living have said this jobs bill will have a significant effect for our economy and for middle-class families all across America. And what these independent experts have also said is that if we don't act, the opposite will be true. There will be fewer jobs; there will be weaker growth.

    So as we look towards next week, any senator out there who's thinking about voting against this jobs bill, when it comes up for a vote, needs to explain exactly why they would oppose something that we know would improve our economic situation at such an urgent time for our families and for our businesses. . .

    "The proposals in this bill are not just random investments to create make-work jobs. They are steps we have to take if we want to build an economy that lasts, if we want to be able to compete with other countries for jobs that restore a sense of security to middle-class families. And to do that, we've got to have the most educated workers. We have to have the best transportation and communications networks. We have to support innovative small businesses. We've got to support innovative manufacturers. . .

    ". . .this jobs bill is fully paid for by asking millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share [i.e. 5% surcharge tax]. Some see this as class warfare. I see it as a simple choice: We can either keep taxes exactly as they are for millionaires and billionaires, with loopholes that lead them to have lower tax rates in some cases than plumbers and teachers, or we can put teachers and construction workers and veterans back on the job. . ."

    The President said, ". . .if Mr. McConnell chooses to vote against it, or if members of his caucus choose to vote against it, I promise you we're going to keep on going, and we will put forward maybe piece by piece each component of the bill. And each time they're going to have to explain why it is that they'd be opposed to putting teachers back in the classroom, or rebuilding our schools, or giving tax cuts to middle-class folks, and giving tax cuts to small businesses. . . [If] everybody on Capitol Hill is cynical and saying there's no way that the overall jobs bill passes in its current form, we're just going to keep on going at it. I want everybody to be clear. My intention is to insist that each part of this, I want an explanation as to why we shouldn't be doing it, each component part: putting people back to work rebuilding our roads, putting teachers back in the classroom, tax cuts for small businesses and middle-class families, tax breaks for our veterans. We will just keep on going at it and hammering away until something gets done. . ."

    U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) responded to the President in a statement on the Senate floor to what he called "the President's partisan stimulus and tax hike plan." Senator McConnell said, "What this week has shown, beyond any doubt, is that Democrats would rather talk about partisan legislation that they know won't pass, than about actually passing legislation we know would create jobs. "Two and a half years after the President signed his first stimulus there are 1.7 million fewer jobs in this country. And now, he wants to do it again. Why? Because Democrats think it makes for good politics. . .

    "So the real goal here for the Democrats, as far as I can tell, is entirely political — by arguing for a permanent tax hike to pay for a temporary stimulus, they essentially admitting they're not interested in creating jobs–because proposing a partisan tax hike 13 months before an election won't create a single job. So I would suggest that our friends on the other side put away the playbook and work with us instead. . .

    "How can anyone be expected to make plans when the next 'gotcha' tax hike to pay for this President's spending binge is always lurking around the corner? The President has said it's wrong to raise taxes in this weak economic environment. If he meant what he said, surely he'll join me in opposing this unwise tax hike Senate Democrats have proposed. . . "Republicans, along with some Democrats, have pro-growth solutions to help solve this crisis, but we will not stand for a permanent tax hike for a temporary stimulus that is largely a rehash of the same failed stimulus ideas this administration has already tried. . . "It's time Democrats move beyond the political rhetoric and for the President to stop campaigning. It's time for Democrats to reach across the aisle on bipartisan legislation that can actually pass."

    Access the complete text from the President's news conference and question (click here). Access details on the AJA from the White House (click here). Access the statement from Sen. McConnell (click here). [#All]