Obama Urges Congress to Pass Jobs Bill
Dorothy Rowley | , WI Staff Writer | 9/8/2011, 10:24 p.m.
In a speech Thursday night to a joint session of the Congress, President Barack Obama implored the lawmakers to end the "political circus" and to act "now" on passage of his $450 billion American Jobs Act.
"We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless and a political crisis that has made things worse," Obama said, alluding to what he described as an "urgent time" in America.
Emphasizing that his bill would not add to the deficit because "everything in it will be paid for," Obama said there was nothing controversial about the legislation: The plan calls for cutting payroll taxes in half next year for working Americans and small businesses, putting good teachers back to work, repairing America's infrastructure and, most importantly, creating jobs for millions of unemployed people in their desperate search for work.
The purpose of the jobs bill is simply to put more people back to work and more money into the pockets of those who are working, according to Obama.
"Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans," Obama said of the bill, in a half-hour speech that was repeatedly laced with an urgency for Congress to pass the bill by year's end. "We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless and a political crisis that has made things worse."
Obama said that at this time, Americans don't care about politics, as they have real-life concerns. He said many people have spent months looking for work, while others have done their best to get by, "giving up nights out with the family to save on gas, make the mortgage, postponing retirement to send their children to college."
In the first of several lengthy rounds of applause, Obama also said that while Americans work hard to meet their responsibilities, of great concern is "whether in the face on an ongoing national crisis," Congress would meet its obligation to help the economy.
"The question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning," Obama said. "Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. We can make a difference --- there are steps we can take right now to improve people's lives," he continued. "You should pass his jobs plan right away," he said to the Congress.
Obama, who is currently grappling with low approval ratings and incessant Republican criticism as he revs up for re-election in 2012, said that next week he will present a more ambitious deficit plan to stabilize the country's debt in the long run.
But he said a tax code is needed where everyone gets a fair shake and where everyone pays their fair share.
"And I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order," Obama said.