News / USA

Congressional Reaction Mixed to Obama Economic Proposals

President Barack Obama delivers a speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington. Watching are Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner, September 8, 2011
President Barack Obama delivers a speech to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington. Watching are Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner, September 8, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Congressional reaction has been mixed to President Barack Obama's plan to give a jolt to the stalled U.S. economy and create jobs.  Democrats reacted enthusiastically to the president's proposals to rebuild old and decaying bridges and highways and to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages.  Republicans say they may be able to work with the president on some aspects of the plan, but many expressed doubt that the whole package will be approved.  

The president's speech laying out his "American Jobs Act" came as opinion polls show most Americans have lost faith in politicians' ability to do anything to bring down the nation's stubbornly high unemployment rate.

During the speech to a joint session of Congress, Democratic lawmakers stood up and applauded heartily when the president talked about providing funding to local governments so that teachers do not lose their jobs, and when he talked about strengthening workers' collective bargaining rights.

Republicans rarely rose to their feet, but they stood up and cheered when Obama called on Congress to approve trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea - a moment when most Democrats remained seated and stonefaced.

Some Democrats had called before the speech for the president to "be bold" and to stop focusing on reaching out to Republicans. Most Democrats seemed happy with the $447 billion plan that includes extending the payroll tax for workers and extending unemployment benefits.

Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri echoed the sentiments of many when he said he liked the fiery tone of President Obama's address.

"Clearly the people around the country are excited about something like this, and frankly the tone the president took tonight.  I mean, he stood up and was very tough about where he was wanting to take the country, and I think a lot of people wanted to see that," Cleaver said.

Over and over again during the speech, President Obama challenged Congress to pass the jobs plan now, saying most Americans cannot wait 14 months until the 2012 elections.  Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland agreed.

"I also liked his insistence and his sense of urgency.  People are hurting.  They want results, and they want results now," Mikulski said.

The response from Republicans was more subdued.  Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said the plan merits consideration, and urged to the president to also carefully consider alternative ideas proposed by Republicans.  

Republican Representative Darrell Issa of California said the basic ideological differences between Democrats and Republicans are still there.

"I am perfectly willing to support the president in tax reform, but ultimately government reduction was something he basically said 'No way,' that the kinds of cuts that we are envisioning that get government off people's backs he is only giving lip service to," Issa said.

Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa said he did not believe the whole bill would pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

"I am really doubtful if there is going to be a movement in this House to pick up a package.  There might be a couple of things that we could try to lift out of it.  I am not sure what they are at this point," King said.

President Obama said he would send the American Jobs Act to Congress next week, and vowed to travel to "every corner" of the country to take his case to the American people.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid