As President Obama took center stage in a joint session of Congress Thursday night, he called on Congress to act immediately on a $447 billion economic plan to increase jobs and boost the economy. Now that the foundation of plan has been laid out, our reporters took on the question "Now what?" at our reporters' roundtable discussion.
"Pass this jobs bill" is a phrase President Obama chanted more than a dozen times, but National Journal's Major Garrett says that is not going to happen.
"The bill will not be passed the way the president put it in his speech or sent it up in legislation language next week," Garrett said. "Some components might be but that will be on Republican terms much more than on President Obama's terms."
In order to get components from the bill to pass, President Obama urged voters to notify their congressional representative to pass this bill. New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny thinks this is a way to rally not only Democratic voters but, strategically, independent voters as well.Continue »
House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote to President Obama today and said that his American Jobs Act provisions "merit consideration." The top House Republicans maintained their conciliatory tone of the past week in the letter, but did not endorse any of the President's proposals, demanded more details and made clear they won't just sit back and "pass the bill" as the President urged Congress to do so many times last night.
After receiving legislative text and a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the president's bill, "the House and our committees will immediately begin the process of reviewing and considering your proposals" they wrote. But Boehner and Cantor warned that House members will also "identify modifications and additional ideas that could achieve economic and job growth in a manner that may be more impactful or effective."
They wrote that in addition to reviewing Obama's proposals, the House will continue to move forward with its fall agenda which includes removing regulations that they say are a burden to American businesses.
Mr. Obama began his tour of the country today in Richmond, Virginia, the home district of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, to sell his plan that would include tax cuts to small business for hiring new workers, an extension and expansion of the payroll tax holiday, new infrastructure spending and the passage of free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama so that more American goods could be sold in those countries.
With the exception of the House Republican conference chairman, top leadership Republicans have held their fire on the American Jobs Act so far saying that they are waiting to see the actual legislative language and the President's deficit reduction proposal.
But the letter from Boehner and Cantor makes clear that House Republicans will likely cherry pick items from Obama's proposals that Republicans can stomach, like some of the business tax breaks, but leave most of the new spending out.
"As we are certain your advisers have told you, not all your ideas should be packaged in a single legislative vehicle" they wrote. "We share your desire for bipartisan cooperation, and assume that your ideas were not presented as an all-or-nothing proposition, but rather in anticipation that the Congress may also have equally as effective proposals to offer for consideration."
Underlying President Obama's strict message for Congress last night was hope in the greater good. Beyond the real policies he laid out to help put Americans back to work, his plan is full of hope. Hope that Washington can fix itself to provide much needed confidence to the economy.
The American Jobs Act he said, "will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and if they hire, there will be customers for their products and services." He acknowledged that while Washington will not drive the economy, it can help and he laid out the game: "The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy," he stated.
While many of his plans will have direct impact on many Americans, by preserving the payroll tax cut or extending unemployment benefits, and economists are weighing on the greater impact, the immediate impact of his plan will reassure the country that Washington can get anything done to address its concerns.
Americans are scared. The economy is struggling and talk of a double-dip recession is prevalent. Daily headlines suggest serious economic calamity in Europe and fear of another global meltdown. At the same time, all headlines about Washington focus on gridlock, political struggles, and an inability to tackle the problems facing the country. Remember the downgrade of the nation's credit rating by Standard & Poor's was as much about the political gridlock preventing a serious plan to deal with the nation's looming debt as it was about the debt itself.
For the president, his push is to restore the confidence in Washington. Regardless if you think government is the answer or not, some government is a natural cure. Government action to tackle a problem begets confidence that things will get better because it gives Americans hope that the system can work and that its elected leaders feel their collective pain. And can get something done to address it.
Mr. Obama is hoping any action can break the partisan deadlock and restore the hope that something can be done. He's accomplished a lot in his term, most of which he gets little credit, but he campaigned on hope and right now hope is the best thing he can get.
Republicans, as party of no, have absolutely succeeded in eroding the confidence of government. Opposing the president succeeded in eroding the confidence of his policies as well. The Republican party took some policies it had once believed in, stimulus spending and many aspects of health care, and opposed them for political gain. That worked. Without confidence in the economy, the biggest stimulus package would fail because for people to spend money, they need to feel confident in their lot, without that confidence, consumer spending grinds to a halt. Even the president's plan to restore confidence in the financial system with unprecedented reforms was derided as more government. If government can't instill confidence in a free market that nearly destroyed the global economy by hoping to prevent it from happening again, who can?
So Mr. Obama is hoping for a big jolt of economic confidence. Anything passed by the Republican House and the Democratic Senate to jumpstart the economy would provide it. As CBS News analyst John Dickerson wrote today, the gambit for the White House is that they can either convince Republicans to act, helping to put real policies in place and to help restore that much needed confidence, or take the blame for failure. The White House seems optimistic, but not entirely confident that will work.
UPDATED 12:42 p.m. ET
President Barack Obama on Friday made his first sales pitch for passing the $447 billion jobs bill unveiled Thursday night in the district of one of his chief political opponents.
"I want you to tell your congressperson the time for gridlock and games is over," Mr. Obama said in remarks at the University of Richmond, "pass this bill."
"You have every right to be frustrated here in Virginia. Here in Richmond, people don't have time for political concerns. People have real life concerns," Mr. Obama said.
House Republican Leader Eric Cantor represents Richmond, Virginia.Continue »
This post originally appeared on Slate.
President Obama is the first president to use the word "tweet" in an address to a joint session of Congress. And his message Thursday night was tidy enough to fit in 140 characters: @barackobama Hey @HouseGOP pass my plan or else--BO. The more than 4,000 words the president spoke contained details of his American Jobs Act, a $447 billion program aimed at giving the economy a jolt. Obama promised a continuation and expansion of the payroll tax cut that would give $1,500 a year to working people, tax breaks for hiring veterans and the long-term unemployed, and major investment in infrastructure to rebuild schools and roads, among other measures. Obama said he would pay for it all and made it clear that if Congressional Republicans didn't pass it quickly, he would blame them. If it didn't pass at all, he would blame them in the general election.
A president who started his administration with finessed attempts to find bipartisanship is now relying more on force. He made no extravagant offers to listen to the other side. The president outlined each element of his plan and footnoted each with proof that it had been supported by Republicans in the past. Message: If you don't pass this quickly, it's only because you're being political. Over and over again, the president said "pass this bill" or the equivalent. And he was calling on Republicans not just to pass it but to pass it fast.Continue »
The stakes are high both for the economy and his prospects for a second term.
He used a 33-minute address to describe a collection of tax cuts, subsidies, government benefits and incentives that he said would help to grow the economy, bolster the recovery and create jobs.
At times he talked tough to Congress. At times he cajoled. And at times he ridiculed.
"The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy," the president said.Continue »
UPDATED 10:08 p.m. ET
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he may go along with some of President Obama's proposals to bring down high unemployment outlined in his speech to Congress Thursday, but not all of them.
"We reject the all or nothing approach that he took tonight," Cantor told CBS News in an interview after the high profile remarks.
Urging Congress to "stop the political circus," Mr. Obama called for lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass a a $447 billion package of spending initiatives and tax cuts designed to jump-start the stalling economy.
"The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we'll meet ours," Mr. Obama said in a fiery speech before a rare joint session of Congress. "The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy."Continue »
President Obama is set to make a prime-time televised address to Congress to lay out his vision for creating jobs Thursday night, but an increasing number of Republicans are not going to be there and party leaders have chosen not to give an official response.
Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh last week said the speech, which is meant to provide a high-profile venue for Mr. Obama's vision for creating jobs, is simply a political speech and he does not want to be used as a prop for the president. He also said Mr. Obama was abusing his power by seeking to speak to Congress on a topic that is not a national emergency.
Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who hosted a forum for GOP candidates in South Carolina over the weekend, said he does not think he will attend because he would prefer to read the speech text.
And Republican Rep. Paul Broun now plans to hold a Twitter town hall from his office at the same time as the speech, scheduled to start tomorrow night at 7:00 pm ET.
The Georgia lawmaker plans to use the time "so he can interact with his constituents," spokeswoman Meredith Griffanti told CBS News, adding that "jobs are at the forefront of everyone's mind" and it is a better use of his time to hear from constituents than sit in the House chamber.Continue »
While there are serious disagreements about the role of government, some of the basic ideas for job creation are not that different between the two sides.
On Thursday, President Obama will make his plan known, but today it was top Republican contender Mitt Romney's turn."President Obama's strategy is a payphone strategy, and we're in a smartphone world," Romney said in a speech in Las Vegas. "What he's doing is stuffing quarters into the payphone and wondering why it's not working -- It's not connected, Mr. President." (watch a portion of Romney's speech at left)
In an op-ed that appeared in USA Today this morning, the former Massachusetts governor said the unemployment rate shows a failure of Mr. Obama's leadership on the economy. However, his proposals show some common ground with the current occupant of the White House.Continue »
The California Democrat, speaking in a Tuesday press conference with House Democrats on their jobs plan, sent a clear message to the president on what he wanted to see in the president's remarks: "In two days, be bold... Hit it out of the park."
"It's time again that America works for Americans who work for a living," he added.
On Thursday night, Mr. Obama will unveil what is being touted as a comprehensive plan to create jobs in remarks before a joint session of Congress. The president will undoubtedly seek to use the speech as an opportunity to restore Americans' faith in his economic leadership - particularly amid a handful of new polls suggesting that Americans overwhelmingly disapprove of his handling of the economy.Continue »
It was the 498th time since taking office that President Obama set foot aboard Marine One. This time daughter Sasha was with him for what they thought would be a routine 40-minute flight to Camp David.
But the twin-engine VH-3D Sea King, one of a fleet of helicopters that serve as Marine One, didn't make it to the presidential retreat.
Because of bad weather over Camp David, in the Catoctin Mountains of Maryland, the chopper landed at the municipal airport in Frederick, Md., about 42 miles northwest of Washington, better than half way to Camp David. The president and his daughter stepped off Marine One, and boarded a motorcade for the remaining 28 miles to Camp David.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest would tell reporters later that "a bad weather call" had been made about 20 minutes before the president and his daughter took off from the South Lawn of the White House.
It had been decided that Marine One could safely fly the president to Frederick, and the Secret Service had motorcade vehicles ready there to drive him the rest of the way.
Interestingly, Earnest said Mr. Obama had not been informed of the plan until he was aboard Marine One.
The arrangement spared Mr. Obama a drive out of Washington in pre-holiday traffic as the nation's capital began emptying out for the end-of-summer Labor Day Weekend.
Even with a police escort, the ride can take two hours or longer.
Flying to Frederick spared him and Sasha about 90 minutes on the road.
But it'll be a short weekend for President Obama. On Sunday, he leaves Camp David to make an inspection tour of the damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene last weekend on Paterson, New Jersey.
And on Monday, President Obama travels to Detroit to address some 10,000 people at a Labor Day rally in Detroit - where he'll preview some of the proposals he'll unveil in his address to Congress on Thursday evening.
If you thought the kerfuffle over President Obama's speech to Congress was over, you would be wrong.
Rep. Joe Walsh on Friday accused President Obama of abusing his power when he asked House Speaker John Boehner to address a joint session of Congress to outline his latest vision for how he wants to create jobs.
"There is no reason for him to call a joint session of Congress," the Illinois Republican said in an interview with MSNBC, "we reserve that for heads of states from dignitaries around the world and presidents in moments in crisis, and monumental moments."
"I believe he is abusing the position here," Walsh added.Continue »
The White House seemed happy to be rebuffed by the House Republicans who after hitting the lowest approval rating ever recorded, should have done anything in their power to get back in the good graces of the public.
It's clear that the next 15 months will be utterly painful, disgusting and at times distasteful. The election season is nearly in full swing with congressional Republicans and presidential contenders on the warpath and Democrats and the White House on the defensive.
The July-into-August debt debacle left nearly every American with a bad taste in their mouth and angrier than ever that Washington just doesn't get it.Continue »
Updated: 6:45 p.m. ET
After much ado, President Obama's jobs speech has been set for next Thursday at 7 p.m. ET, according statements released by the White House and the House Speaker John Boehner's office.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed the address timing on Thursday evening, noting that "after consulting with the Speaker's office," the president had accepted an invitation to address a Joint Session of Congress at that time.
Carney's statement came just minutes after the speaker's office released a similar note informing of Boehner's invitation to Mr. Obama.
"At his request, the Speaker has respectfully invited the President to address a Joint Session of Congress next Thursday at 7:00 p.m.," wrote Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck.
The news settles an extensive - and contentious - back-and-forth over the timing of the speech, which Mr. Obama had originally attempted to schedule on Wednesday, the same night as a long-since-planned Republican presidential debate.Will Obama jobs speech conflict with NFL season-opener?
CBS' Bob Schieffer calls the speech spat "ridiculous"
While former Vice President Dick Cheney's new memoir has garnered some vociferous criticism from some members of his administration, former president George W. Bush says he's fine with the book -- and "glad" to see that members of his administration are telling their stories.
The book, which paints unflattering portraits of several of Cheney's former colleagues, has already ruffled the feathers of prominent former Bush administration officials like Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell.
Condoleezza Rice blasts Cheney's "attack on my integrity"
Mr. Bush, however, said he wasn't bothered by the memoir.
"I'm glad members of my family are giving their version of what it was like to serve our country," he said in an interview with "Fox & Friends." "I did the same thing."
Mr. Bush noted that regardless of what those in his administration wrote, "objective historians" would record their own analyses of history.Continue »