Obama To Congress: "Pass This Jobs Bill"
His aptly christened American Jobs Act would also provide tax breaks for companies that hire new workers and cut payroll taxes in half for both working Americans and small businesses.
It's total cost: $447 billion or more than half the size of Obama's $825 billion economic stimulus plan passed through Congress in February 2009.
“[The plan] will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services,” Obama said.
Speaking before a bitterly divided Congress fresh off the recent federal budget crisis, Obama urged the nation’s legislature to “pass this jobs plan right away,” and avoid the "political circus" that has plagued the nation.
“The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours,” he said.
“There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation.”
Obama's handling of the economy has been a constant thorn in the side of his presidency since the 2008 economic recession. Currently, the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 9.1 percent, and has emerged as one of the major talking points against Obama's reelection.
Obama said that, if passed, the American Jobs Act would create public jobs for workers to repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools and would jumpstart thousands of transportation projects across the country.
The plan would also extent unemployment insurance for another year.
Republican Congressional leaders remained seated and relatively mute throughout the speech, rising almost mockingly when Obama admitted that some members of Congress may disagree with his plan.
Despite the chamber's division, the President constantly referenced the necessity for bipartisan cooperation to jumpstart the job market.
Obama argued with Speaker of the House John Boehner over the timing of the speech, eventually accepting Boehners compromise of right before the start of the NFL season Thursday night. The speech was originally planned for Wednesday evening, the same time as the GOP debate at the Reagan Memorial Library in Simi Valley, California.
The President's full plan can be viewed below:
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