Obama sends jobs bill to Congress, urges "no games, no politics, no delays"
Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET
President Obama is sending this $447 billion jobs bill to Congress today, with a forceful message to Republicans to put politics aside.
"The only thing that's stopping it is politics," Mr. Obama said from the White House Rose Garden on Monday. "We can't afford these same political games... Let's get something done. Let's put this country back to work."
Mr. Obama unveiled his plan to jump start the economy, called the "Americans Jobs Act," before a rare joint session of Congress last week. The plan is larger than many expected. More than half of the plan is comprised of tax cuts for working Americans and small businesses, and it also includes spending initiatives in areas like infrastructure.
The president Monday morning stood surrounded by the type of workers he said his bill would support -- such as teachers, firefighters, construction workers, veterans, policemen and small business owners.
The bill includes various tax cuts for businesses, including a payroll tax cut and tax credits for companies that hire veterans or those who've been unemployed for more than six months.
"Instead of just talking about America's job creators, let's actually do something for America's job creators," he said.
The legislation also includes aid for states and local governments to keep public workers like teachers and firefighters on the payroll.
"This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country," Mr. Obama said today. "Let's pass this bill," he repeatedly appealed to Congress, asking for "no games, no politics, no delays."
In the face of the worst recovery from a recession in the nation's history, a stubborn unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent and zero job growth in the month of August, the pressure is on the president to take action. Mr. Obama's own 2012 job prospects could also hinge on the success of his legislation, as voters grow skeptical of his handling of the economy.
Yet as the 2012 election season gets under way, it's unclear whether Republicans -- who have already this year taken a combative stance against the president's economic policies -- will be willing to cooperate.
In a statement today, House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans appreciated the president's efforts to get the bill to Congress swiftly, and that the House will begin reviewing its various elements once the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office gives its official cost estimate for the bill. Still, Boehner suggested Republicans will look at the plan with a skeptical eye.
"The record of the economic proposals enacted during the last Congress necessitates careful examination of the president's latest plan as well as consideration of alternative measures that may more effectively support private-sector job creation," Boehner said. "It is my hope that we will be able to work together to put in place the best ideas of both parties and help put Americans back to work."
In the meantime, the House will continue moving forward with the GOP agenda of scaling back regulations they say hinder job growth.
Mr. Obama said today that voters don't have the "luxury" of waiting until the next elections, 14 months from now, for solutions.
"The notion there are folks who would say we're not going to [support these economic initiatives] because it's not convenient for our politics... that's exactly what folks are tired of," he said. "It's not OK in a time of great urgency and need across the country."
While he called for Republicans to put politics aside, the Democratic party is employing robust political efforts to build support for the bill.
The president has taken his message on the road, starting with a stop in Richmond, Virginia last Friday -- the district represented by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Tomorrow, he'll travel to Columbus in Boehner's home state of Ohio.
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee today rolled out a multimedia effort, including television ads, online ads and a website, to sell Mr. Obama's bill in key states.
The TV ads, which start airing tomorrow and will continue for several weeks, will run in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, D.C. At the website AmericanJobsAct.com, people can sign a petition in support of the legislation or find information about how to call their congrsesional representatives to advocate for the bill.
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