WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sent his jobs bill to Congress yesterday and proposed paying for it by eliminating $467 billion in tax breaks for richer Americans and companies, meeting immediate resistance from Republicans.
The White House objective is to put lawmakers in a tight spot: Support Obama’s jobs package or risk being portrayed as doing nothing to improve the economy heading into presidential and congressional elections in November 2012.
The US economy, the world’s largest, is mired in 9.1 per cent unemployment and flirting with another recession as Europe’s debt woes compound fears over the global outlook. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will attend part of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Friday in Poland.
Obama, who pushed through an $800 billion economic stimulus package in 2009, stepped up his campaign to sell his latest recovery proposals to American voters.
“This is a bill that is based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans and this is a bill that Congress needs to pass — no games, no politics, no delays,” he said at a White House event before the text of his jobs legislation was sent to Congress.
But the Democratic president’s ideas to pay for his $447 billion plan will be hard for Republicans to swallow.
Under pressure from anti-tax Tea Party conservatives, Republicans have fought all of Obama’s previous proposals to increase taxes and were hardening their position against the new plan days after sounding conciliatory.
“I hope the president is not suggesting that we pay for his proposals with a massive tax increase,” said Eric Cantor, the No 2 Republican in the House of Representatives.
White House budget director Jack Lew outlined Obama’s proposals for paying for the plan, targeting the rich and corporations, as the president has done in the past to no avail.