U.S. President Barack Obama says he is still hoping for bipartisan support for his program to bring down the nation's unemployment rate. The president met Wednesday at the White House with top lawmakers from both major political parties.
Republicans in Congress have opposed almost all of President Obama's economic initiatives, sometimes refusing to give him a single vote in the Senate or House of Representatives.
Still, the president met with Republican and Democratic leaders to campaign for his jobs program. Afterward, he said he hopes lawmakers will put partisan politics aside.
"It is appropriate that I met with leaders of both parties," said President Obama. "Spurring hiring and economic growth are not Democratic or Republican issues. They are American issues that affect every single one of our constituents."
Mr. Obama says Republicans should be especially supportive of his proposal to stimulate hiring by giving additional tax breaks to small businesses.
"Small businesses, for example, are the engines that drive much of the hiring in our economy," said Mr. Obama. "So we should be able to forge a consensus around a series of steps to help small businesses grow and hire new employees."
The president said he also spoke with congressional leaders about the other parts of his employment initiative. He wants to spend more to rebuild the nation's infrastructure and to encourage Americans to make their homes more energy efficient.
Mr. Obama has not said how much the jobs package would cost, but says he will work with Congress on deciding how to pay for it.
The president says he believes Democrats and Republicans can work together to help bring down the nation's 10 percent unemployment rate.
"I am confident we can put our economic troubles behind us," he said. "But it is going to require some work and cooperation and a seriousness of purpose here in Washington, and I hope that, as we enter into the holiday season, the leaders that I just met with will feel the same way."