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

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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Official Pleased With Ebola Containment Measure

Official says three-day sensitization effort will help reduce infection rate of Ebola disease nationwide More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid