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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid