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

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs