RPT-FACTBOX-Obama weighs mix of ideas for U.S. jobs plan
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Aug 25 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, facing sinking approval ratings amid growing fears the U.S. economy could slide into another recession, is crafting a jobs package he will unveil in a September speech. [ID:nN1E77J07P]
The economy's woes could jeopardize Obama's prospects for re-election in 2012. He has come under fire from some in his Democratic Party who would like to see him take bolder steps to reduce the 9.1 percent U.S. unemployment rate.
White House officials are considering a mix of measures they believe can clear the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and others that spell out Obama's vision for fixing the economy that his political rivals may well block, according to analysts close to the administration.
Here are some ideas the White House is reviewing:
SCHOOL BUILDING RENOVATIONS
An initiative to fund school building renovations nationwide is highly popular among Democrats. But it would likely face resistance among Republicans who have vowed to block new spending.
Advocates of the school building initiative contend it would be a highly visible way of creating jobs in the construction sector and might prove popular with middle-class families who might see it as a way of improving their communities.
Republicans argue such "Keynesian" spending initiatives have not helped the economy so far under Obama's tenure.
AID FOR TEACHER HIRING
Another idea strongly favored by Democrats would provide aid to cities and towns to help them put more teachers and possibly also police officers on their payrolls. Former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, championed similar measures during his tenure.
Proponents say the shrinking of state and local workforces has been a big contributor to the rise in the jobless rate nationally.
Republicans say such aid to states and cities encourages budgetary profligacy.
HELP FOR THE AILING HOUSING MARKET
The moribund housing market remains an Achilles heel for the U.S. economy. Some Democrats have long urged Obama to take more aggressive action to shore up housing. Options include working through housing finance agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to grant broader loan modifications, including writedowns of principal for homeowners whose mortgages exceed the value of their homes.
TAX CREDITS TO SPUR HIRING
Tax credits to encourage the hiring of new workers could garner greater bipartisan support than spending measures. The credits could be targeted toward small businesses or made available more broadly.
EXTENDING PAYROLL TAX CUTS AND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
Extensions of unemployment insurance and of a reduction in worker payroll taxes that expires at the end of this year have already been proposed by Obama. The White House remains committed to these ideas and administration officials believe Republicans should be especially amenable to proposals like renewal of the payroll tax holiday, which was enacted with bipartisan support last December. (Reporting by Caren Bohan and Laura MacInnis; Editing by Eric Beech)
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