Obama ups pressure ahead of Senate jobs bill vote

WASHINGTON Sat Oct 8, 2011 8:41am EDT

President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference at the White House in Washington, October 6, 2011.     REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference at the White House in Washington, October 6, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama maintained his attack against congressional Republicans over his jobs bill on Saturday, upping pressure before it faces a vote in the Senate next week.

Repeating a warning to make them explain to the American people why they oppose his measures, Obama said the country needed it as insurance against a double dip recession.

"This jobs bill can help guard against another downturn here in America," the president said in his weekly address.

Republicans, who complain Obama is more interested in keeping his own job in next year's election than creating work for ordinary Americans, dismissed the steps as more of the same policies they say have missed their mark in the past.

"It's nothing but a rehash of the same failed ideas he's already tried, combined with a huge tax increase," said Republican Senator John Thune in his party's weekly address.

The president has toured the country since he launched the proposal last month in a bid to enlist public opinion to pressure Congress to pass the bill, and he held a short-notice press conference on Thursday to hammer home this message.

"If their plan doesn't measure up, the American people deserve to know what it is that Republicans in Congress don't like about this jobs plan," Obama said.

Senate Democrats will vote on his $447 billion proposal for tax cuts and spending on Tuesday, after replacing Obama's suggestion of how to cover its cost with their own millionaire tax surcharge. However, the Senate is not expected to get enough votes to pave the way for the bill's passage.

If it does fail to win the 60 votes needed to avoid Republican delaying tactics in the Senate, congressional Democrats will likely look at other ways to advance bits of Obama's initiative, either through promoting individual bills or by attaching measures into other legislation.

Obama said action was needed and the latest monthly jobs data, released on Friday, bore him out.

It showed U.S. unemployment remained pinned at a historically lofty 9.1 percent last month -- a rate of joblessness the president must reduce to improve his hopes of winning reelection in November 2012.

Trade pacts between the United States and South Korea, Colombia and Panama that will be voted on by U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday could generate business that Obama says may create tens of thousands of new U.S. jobs.

He hosts South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to a White House state visit on Thursday and they will travel together to Detroit on Friday to discuss the job benefits of the pact.

But Republicans complain that he should have advanced these deals when he entered the White House 2-1/2 years ago.

"It's extremely unfortunate that we had to wait so long for the president to do something so simple, to help promote American exports, and create American jobs," Thune said.

(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Paul Simao)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (30)
JordanWalter wrote:
First post, YAY!

Oct 08, 2011 7:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Lanche wrote:
For once it would be nice if they did not give in to this failure of leadership. Every move he makes soaks more money out of this Country and has had no positive influence on job creation. Solyndra, stimulus packages, Obamacare and all those shovel ready jobs. I think someone is continuing to shovel something down our throats but its not jobs.

Oct 08, 2011 7:38am EDT  --  Report as abuse
mark06gt wrote:
Why this is a bad bill and should not be passed:
• Temporary payroll tax cuts will not be an incentive for employers to hire more people.
• Temporary payroll tax cuts will reduce funding for Social Security.
• All temporary tax cuts in the bill are paid for by permanent tax increases.
• The unemployed will be able to sue potential employers if they feel they were not hired because they’ve been out of work for a long time. Employers will stop looking at resumes of the long-term unemployed for fear of litigation.
• The job sharing portion of the bill is communistic and insidiously like something from Atlas Shrugged
• “Shovel ready” projects do not exist. Engineering analysis, project planning and environmental studies for these types of projects can take years.

This bill is a pack of lies and the President is using it as part of a divide and conquer campaign strategy. He has repeatedly demanded that the bill be passed in its entirety and has gone to great efforts to depict the Republicans as the only obstacle to its passage. He has not said one condescending word about how the Democrats just blocked a senate vote on his bill.

Oct 08, 2011 7:51am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.