News / USA

Obama to Address Congress on Jobs Plan

President Barack Obama speaks during a Labor Day event at Detroit's Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, Sept., 5, 2011
President Barack Obama speaks during a Labor Day event at Detroit's Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, Sept., 5, 2011

Against a backdrop of high unemployment and national anxiety over a weak economy, President Barack Obama will go before a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Thursday to propose a major jobs initiative. President Obama will be seeking cooperation from opposition Republicans in a divided Congress who challenge his economic policies.

Several key components of the jobs and economic growth package have been leaked in advance of the president's address.

It is expected to involve $300 billion in tax cuts and new government spending aimed at creating conditions for faster job growth.  Obama will likely urge extending expiring payroll tax cuts, propose infrastructure improvement projects, and take steps to help cash-poor local and state governments.

U.S. unemployment remains stubbornly above 9 percent, threatening Obama's reelection chances next year.  Among the measures to spur hiring, he is expected to urge extending benefits for the unemployed and propose new tax incentives for small businesses.

The president will address the divided Congress that Americans voted for in the 2010 midterm elections, although Obama often makes the point that Americans did not vote for what he calls dysfunctional government.

Obama says he hopes to bring Republicans on board with his plan.  Political analysts see another purpose - to make Congress shoulder more of the political burden for job creation as well as the weight of responsibility if lawmakers fail to act.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says Obama will make clear on Thursday that his plans have enjoyed bipartisan support in the past.

"He is very serious about taking measures that are responsible, that have enjoyed bipartisan support and are the kinds that have direct and quick impact on the economy and on jobs," said Carney.

Carney adds that the president will propose specific, measurable steps and discuss how they will paid for, adding they will be steps that independent economic analysts say will promote job and economic growth.   

Republicans continued to assail the president's economic record, one Obama frequently says prevented a second Great Depression after the 2008 financial system collapse.

Mitch McConnell is Republican Party leader in the U.S. Senate:

"The president can attempt to blame our economic problems all he wants on his political adversaries, or his predecessors, or natural disasters," said McConnell. "But at the end of the day, he is the one - as he said himself - who is responsible for what happens on his watch."

Key Democratic Party leaders in Congress, such as Representative Xavier Becerra want Mr. Obama to present the boldest proposals possible.

"Be bold," said Becerra. "Hit it out of the park [like a home run in baseball].  The American public is waiting for that leadership that tells us once again that we are ready to lead -- not just the United States of America, but [also] the entire world back from this abyss."

Mr. Obama's labor union supporters have made the same appeal to the president, who spoke at a Labor Day rally in Detroit, Michigan on Monday.

"There is work to be done and there are workers ready to do it," said President Obama. "Labor is onboard, business is onboard; we just need Congress to get onboard.  Let's put America back to work."

On the presidential campaign trail, Republican hopefuls have intensified their attacks on the president, even as they jockey for position in their party's crowded field.

As he presented his 59-point plan to create jobs and grow the economy, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said this about Mr. Obama:

"I'm concerned about middle income Americans - the families all over this country that have really suffered under the Obama economy," said Romney. "He is not a bad guy.  He just doesn't have a clue what to do, in part, because he just hasn't ever done it before.  And I have."

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Carney welcomed what he called "the spirit of compromise" in a letter President Obama received from House Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor.  The lawmakers said that differences on how to improve the economy and create jobs should not preclude action in areas where agreement exists.  

It remains to be seen whether a deeply divided Congress that is already facing major decisions before the end of the year on debt and deficit reductions will be able to act on Mr. Obama's new jobs and growth plan.

The White House's Jay Carney has declined to detail the legislative path the president has in mind, adding that major parts of Obama's economic package will require "sensible," "pragmatic" and "bipartisan" action by Congress.

As for how Obama expects his proposals can be paid for in the current austere economic environment, indications are that this will involve proposals he made during the difficult negotiations on debt and deficit reduction.  These include closing tax loopholes, having higher income Americans pay more taxes, and possibly adjusting major government programs such as Medicare and Social Security.  

You May Like

ASEAN Ministers Set to Push for South China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession More

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs