"Clearly, the president is trying, yet again, to get Americans back to work... he essentially announced a 'stimulus II' program," House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) said at a press conference today, CBS News Capitol Hill Producer Jill Jackson reports. However, he added, "I absolutely disagree that we can spend the way out of recession."
Cantor was joined by freshman Republican members of the House today to criticize Mr. Obama's plan. They said it would be more effective to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, permanently eliminate the death tax, pass free trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, and to reduce the deficit.
The president's proposals today included new spending for infrastructure projects like highways, deeper tax breaks for small businesses and tax incentives for energy-efficient home improvements.
"Instead of passing another big spending bill, we should keep government out of business, keep taxes low and expand trade," said Rep. Lynn Jenkins (Kansas). "It's time to empower entrepreneurs and small businesses instead of the federal government."
Rep. Aaron Schock (Ill.) said the president's jobs plan would simply lead to more government debt and more taxes.
"I would submit to the administration that there are three ways, three bills that we can bring forward that don't cost us money, that don't add to our nation's debt, that create free jobs here in our country for manufacturing, for agriculture, and for our service sector base," he said. "And they are Panama, Colombia and South Korea."
The Republican criticisms of the president's plan came after Mr. Obama himself took a few jabs at Republicans for supporting tax cuts and spending that inflated the deficit. At his speech at the Brookings Institution today, Mr. Obama said he and congressional Democrats had to take "a series of difficult steps" to pull the economy out of a deep recession.
"And we were forced to take those steps largely without the help of an opposition party which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision-making that led to the crisis, decided to hand it to others to solve," he said.
Yet after exchange sharp words today, Mr. Obama has invited Republicans to join him at the White House tomorrow, along with congressional Democrats, the Wall Street Journal reports.