Congress gives Obama's jobs plan mixed reviews
Republicans and Democrats emerged from the joint session of Congress tonight with mixed reviews of the President Obama's speech unveiling the "American Jobs Act."
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, who is the co-chair of the congressional "super committee" tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in savings to reduce the deficit, immediately came out against the president's proposal for the committee to find additional savings to offset the cost of his jobs plan.
"This proposal would make the already-arduous challenge of finding bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction nearly impossible, removing our options for deficit reduction for a plan that won't reduce the deficit by one penny" Hensarling said in statement released after the speech. "It's not the role of this committee to spend more money we don't have on jobs we don't get."
But Democrats largely praised the plan. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., said the speech hit just the right tone.
"He didn't go for the sun, the moon and the stars, but he challenged us to rise above partisan politics and do something for a suffering country right now. And that's what a leader does," Connolly said.
Deficit-wary lawmakers like freshman Republican Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., heard the president's talk about rebuilding America with a national infrastructure bank and jump-starting "thousands of transportation projects around the country" and saw more money going down the drain.
"We already tried the shovel-ready project list that didn't, by the president's own admission, didn't exactly turn out to be quite shovel ready," Huizenga said.
Huizenga also said he's also concerned about the president's proposal to extend and expand the payroll tax cut, which would mean tax breaks for individuals and small businesses but less money going into Social Security and Medicare.
"We need to understand that there's long-term ramifications in the Social Security and Medicare, which are dedicated funds, that those payroll deductions go to," Huizenga said. "We can't eat our cake and eat it too on this. We can't be complaining that Social Security is underfunded and then do additional things to continue that under funding."
But Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said he thinks expanding the payroll tax credit to some employers is one proposal that actually has a chance of passing since Republicans favor tax cuts.
"I mean, that's the kind of thing they love," Cummings said. "He has really put them on the spot. They got to say why they are not helping their constituents with their own ideas. And something that's paid for."
Speaker John Boehner put out a statement that did not endorse any specific proposals, but left the door open for Congress and the White House to continue to seek common ground.
"The proposals the President outlined tonight merit consideration," he said. "We hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well. It's my hope that we can work together to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth and private-sector job creation."
Obama's message: "Pass this jobs bill"
Text of President Obama's jobs speech
Obama's Speech: What are the Best Policies to Help the Unemployed?
Obama Jobs Plan: Some Worthy Ideas, but It Won't Turn the Tide
Popular in Politics
- Obama forgets to salute while boarding Marine One Play Video
- The Ted Cruz conundrum 82 Comments
- Petraeus biographer regrets affair
- As summer approaches, sequestration threatens holiday fun
- IRS' Lerner was asked to resign, refused: GOP Sen. 201 Comments
- Senator: Oklahoma "hit hard, but we're not knocked out"
- Senators lack votes on immigration despite progress
- GOP Rep.: Obama elected because of Reagan's immigration reforms