Obama to Congress: Pass My Jobs Bill Immediately

Slated to send his bill to the Capitol tonight, the president stumped for it in a White House Rose Garden speech

President Obama on Monday urged Congress to pass the jobs bill he introduced last week, saying "this is a bill that will put people back to work all over the country."

Obama, flanked in the Rose Garden by Vice President Joe Biden as well as firefighters, teachers, and construction workers, said he would send his proposal to the Capitol on Monday evening.

"I'm sending this bill to Congress today, and they ought to pass it immediately," Obama said, reiterating the points he made when he announced the "American Jobs Act" last week. The bill would provide $447 billion in the form of spending and tax cuts that the president pointed out have received bipartisan support in the past.

Despite three years of government-led efforts to jumpstart the economy, the unemployment rate has yet to fall below 9 percent, and the approval ratings of both the administration and Congress are at record lows.

Sending legislation to Congress marks a turn in strategy for the administration, which in the past has only sent its recommendations on such items as the stimulus, health care reform, and the debt ceiling to Congress to be formalized. The bill would increase spending on projects such as schools and infrastructure refurbishment, extend payroll tax holidays, and credit employers who hire the long-term unemployed.

"The only thing that's stopping it is politics," Obama said.

Republican leaders have hinted that they are willing to consider the bill but expect Obama to negotiate in return.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told CNN on Friday morning, "I think there's a lot of room for commonality and we can get something done quickly." Cantor cited the plan's initiatives benefiting small businesses and putting the unemployed back to work as areas where the parties could move forward, but he raised concerns with the idea of an infrastructure bank and impermanent tax cuts.

The president said he will also roll out his plan to reduce the nation's deficit next week.

Video credit: National Journal

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Julia Edwards is a reporter at National Journal.

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