On Thursday (September 8), President Barack Obama delivered an impassioned speech to Congress detailing his American Jobs Act and urged that Washington get to working again.
“The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed.”
The president’s $447 billion proposal “that [Congress] should pass right away” includes a combination of tax cuts, jobs programs, construction projects and state aid used to improve the high unemployment rate, help rebuild the economy and restore the middle class. In his speech, President Obama pointed out that “everything in this bill will be paid for”. Building upon the plan to cut spending, the President asked Congress to increase the amount to cover the cost of the American Jobs Act in order to avoid adding to the deficit.
With a sense of urgency, President Obama also called on the American public to do its part and take action: “I ask every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option. Remind us that if we act as one nation, and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.”
Following the president’s speech, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters “as majority leader, I certainly would like to see us be able to peel off some of these ideas, put them on the floor, vote them across the floor and get the Senate to join with us so we can actually get something to the president and make some progress as quickly as possible.”
However, Cantor added that the president’s message was “either accept my package as it is, or I will take it to the American people. I would say that that’s the wrong approach. What we’re here to do is try to transcend differences, not let them get in the way in the areas we can make progress on.”
Speaker John Boehner was also receptive, acknowledging that the plans laid out Thursday night “merit consideration”. In a statement issued, he added: “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.”
President Obama Presents the American Jobs Act