It's bully pulpit time. President Obama is pushing for his $447 billion jobs package at a press conference in a few minutes. He's expected to endorse a 5.6 percent surtax on Americans earning more than $1 million. According to a Democratic aide speaking to CNN, the proposal would "more than enough to fully pay for the president's $447 billion jobs bill within the required 10-year window." The counter-proposal is designed to unify Democrats behind the jobs will, which is opposed by many Republicans. You can watch the livestream of his speech, scheduled to start at 11 a.m., below:
Update (12:12 p.m.): On Europe's debt crisis, Obama emphasized that the U.S. could not always be the purchaser of last resort (i.e. the trade deficit is a problem). "We can't just be running up our debt in order to help other folks' economy... Europe is not going to be able to export its way out of this problem." He then ended the conference, noting that he would not stop fighting until Congress passed his jobs bill. "Thank you very much."
Update (12:06 p.m.) When asked about America's tenuous relationship with Pakistan, President Obama gave a lengthy answer. Overall, he said "We will constantly evaluate our relationship with Pakistan based on: is overall this helping to protect Americans and our government interests?" He emphasized that he wasn't interested in cutting off aid to the county in a blunt way. "I would be hesitant to punish aid for flood victims in Pakistan because of poor decisions by their intelligence agencies."
Update (11:53 a.m.) When asked if he was campaigning or negotiating, President Obama said, "I am always open to negotiations. What is also true is that they need to do something."
Update (11:44 a.m.) Getting pressed on why the U.S. clean energy sector isn't producing the jobs many expected, President Obama defended his administration's energy investments. ""For every success there may be one that does not work out well," he said. "Businesses that rely on new technologies... it's going to take awhile before they get take off. There are a lot of upfront investments... a lot of barriers. Clean energy companies are competing against traditional energy companies... If we don't invest now, we're going to be facing, twenty years from now, China and India having a billion new drivers on the road... the impact on the planet increasing... and we're not going to just be able to start when all heck is breaking lose."
Update (11:34 a.m.) The President was also asked about Solyndra and Operation Fast and Furious. Defending his attorney general he said "I have complete confidence in Attorney General Holder....He has indicated that he was not aware of what was happening." On Solyndra, Obama said "I have confidence the decision was made based on what would be good for the American economy." He added that the solar company "did not work out" but that the approval process was conducted "on the merits."
Update (11:31 a.m.): President Obama was asked about his feelings about the Occupy Wall Street movement and responded as such: "I think people are frustrated and the protesters are giving voice to a more broad-based frustration about how our financial system works. Keep in mind... we have to have a strong effective financial sector in order for us to grow."
Update (11:24 a.m.): President Obama did not give a ringing endorsement of the Democrats' 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires. However, he said he was "comfortable" with it. An earlier report suggested he would back the proposal.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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