President Barack Obama, seeking to rally support for his $447 billion jobs plan, is targeting Majority Leader Eric Cantor for saying Republicans won’t give his full proposal a vote in the House.
Obama singles out the Virginia Republican in excerpts of remarks the president will deliver today at an event in Texas. Cantor and other Republicans have been critical of spending portions of the package, and the majority leader said yesterday the House would consider pieces of the proposal.
Cantor “won’t even let the jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives -- he won’t even give it a vote,” Obama says in remarks prepared for delivery at an event later today in a Dallas suburb.
“Well I’d like Mister Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn’t believe in,” Obama says in the remarks, released by the White House. “And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every member of congress stands.”
Cantor responded with a statement saying Republicans have their own ideas about spurring job growth “but that shouldn’t prevent us from trying to find areas of common ground with the president.”
Obama “needs to understand that his ‘my way or the highway’ approach simply isn’t going to work in the House or the Democratic Senate, especially in light of his abysmal record on jobs,” he said.
Campaign for Plan
The president is making his sixth speech on the jobs package in less than a month as he grapples with Republicans over the best way to jump-start the economy and create jobs to reduce the unemployment rate stuck at 9.1 percent. He’ll also hold fundraisers in Dallas.
Since announcing his package Sept 8, Obama’s been traveling outside Washington to urge voters to turn up the heat on Congress. Leaders of a divided Congress haven’t scheduled any action.
Obama is speaking today in Mesquite, Texas, which is in the district of Representative Jeb Hensarling, one of the Republican critics of the jobs package. It’s the fourth time since Sept. 8 that the president has waded into an opponent’s turf to pitch the program.
Hensarling, chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, has dismissed the package as “another round of stimulus” when the U.S. needs “jobs that earn, not jobs that cost.”
Obama has also lobbied for the package Sept. 13 and Sept. 22 in Ohio, the home state of Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and on Sept. 9 in Richmond, Virginia, part of Cantor’s district.
“It’s partly about sharpening differences but it’s also about fearlessly taking the fight right into the belly of the beast,” said Bruce Buchanan, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.
Obama faces resistance from Democrats over provisions of the plan as well. Democrats control the Senate, yet they haven’t set any schedule for action and may not have the votes, according to Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat from Illinois.
Obama said yesterday he “expects” Congress to vote on a plan this month, and that he’ll be talking to top House and Senate leaders of both parties “and insisting that we have a vote on this bill.”
Republicans says some proposals, such as payroll tax cuts, are worth considering. But they object to spending proposals and oppose raising taxes to pay for them.
Taxes and Spending
The president’s plan would reduce payroll taxes for employees and employers, extend jobless benefits, provide $35 billion in aid to states to prevent as many as 280,000 teacher and first responder layoffs, add $30 billion for high school and community college modernization and boost spending on public works projects such as roads and bridges. It also would provide tax breaks for new employers to hire the unemployed.
The package would help avoid a return to recession by maintaining growth and pushing down the unemployment rate next year, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The legislation would increase gross domestic product by 0.6 percent next year and add or keep 275,000 workers on payrolls, the median estimates in the survey of 34 economists showed. The program would also lower the jobless rate by 0.2 percentage point in 2012, economists said.
Obama would pay for it by capping itemized deductions for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and couples earning more than $250,000. The plan would treat carried interest as ordinary income to raise $18 billion, end oil and gas subsidies for a savings of $40 billion and repeal accelerated depreciation on corporate jets to save $3 billion.
Later today, Obama flies to St Louis for two fundraisers. Supporters at one event will contribute $25,000 per person or $35,800 for a couple. They will be hosted by wind-farm investor Tom Carnahan, along with Joyce Aboussie, a long-time Democratic fundraiser in St. Louis and Bob Clark, chairman and chief executive of Clayco Inc.
Carnahan, a member of the prominent Missouri Democratic family, has been tapped by the Obama campaign as its chief Missouri fundraiser, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Carnahan is chairman of Wind Capital Group, a St. Louis- based wind energy company. His sister, Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, lost the 2010 U.S. Senate race to Republican Roy Blunt.
The other event planned for a St. Louis hotel is meant to attract younger voters and will cost $250 per person.
--Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Bob Drummond
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