President Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs package appears to be dead on arrival at Capitol Hill, where House Republicans say no way will it pass, and Senate Democrats are looking the other way, ignoring repeated requests to schedule a date and vote on the bill.
Obama repeated his plea to lawmakers on Monday to pass his jobs plan that would continue unemployment payments to millions of Americans and raise taxes for infrastructure and construction jobs.
“It’s been several weeks now since I sent up the American Jobs Act, and as I’ve been saying on the road, I want it back. I’m ready to sign it,” Obama said before convening a Cabinet meeting.
“My expectation is, now that we’re in the month of October, that we’ll schedule a vote before the end of this month,” Obama said.
The President said he’d be calling Democratic leaders in the House and Senate as well as Republicans to put pressure on them, “insisting that we have a vote on this bill.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) and Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin from Obama’s home state of Illinois have said they don’t have enough votes in the Senate to overcome a filibuster and pass the plan.
Following Obama’s comments, Reid declined to set a date, but said on the Senate floor the matter would be considered sometime this month.
House Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy said Obama is engaged in “pure politics” by attacking Republicans for not supporting the White House measure while ignoring the lack of support from within his own party.
House Republican Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia said the President should stop targeting Republicans through “campaign-style tactics” and instead seek compromises on issues that both parties agree upon.
“The President continues to say, ‘Pass my bill in its entirety,’ and as I’ve said from the outset, the all-or-nothing approach is just unacceptable, and I think from a purely practical standpoint, the President’s got some whipping to do on his own side of the aisle,” Cantor said.
Republicans meanwhile will move forward on legislation to reform Environmental Protection Agency regulations that they say will promote job growth, including two measures this week they are urging Obama to support.
In a letter to the President on Monday, Republican House leaders said their legislation represents “opportunities for common ground between Democrats and Republicans.”
“It is our hope that in the spirit of putting country before party, you will call on the Senate to follow the House in passing these measures, and commit to signing them into law should they reach your desk,” the letter said.
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