ByÂ Dave Boyer and Sean Lengell-The Washington Times
PresidentÂ ObamaÂ said Monday he will personally lobby congressional leaders to hold a vote on his new jobs-stimulus proposal, but barely an hour later, House Majority LeaderÂ Eric CantorÂ once again pronounced the legislation dead as written.
Both sides continue to jostle for political advantage as they search for solutions to the countryâ€™s 9.1 percent unemployment rate, but middle ground remained elusive asÂ CongressÂ returned from a weeklong vacation and began whatâ€™s likely to be the final chance for major non-spending bills to pass.
The president said he will call onÂ SenateÂ Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat;Â SenateÂ Minority LeaderÂ Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican; House SpeakerÂ John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, and House Minority LeaderÂ Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, in the next few days to urge them to pass his legislation.
â€œWe still have to have congressional action,â€Â Mr. ObamaÂ said at the start of a Cabinet meeting in theÂ White House, where he assembled his top advisers to talk about jobs. â€œItâ€™s been several weeks now since I sent up the American Jobs Act, and, as Iâ€™ve been saying on the road, I want it back. Iâ€™m ready to sign it.â€
His proposal, which he submitted and had introduced as actual legislation, would front-load $447 billion in short-term tax cuts and infrastructure spending over the next several years, offset by long-term tax increases that would net $467 billion over the next decade.
His main obstacle, though, is that thereâ€™s widespread opposition to those tax increases, including within his own party â€” a point underscored bySenateÂ Majority WhipÂ Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, who said last week Democrats donâ€™t have the votes to pass the bill yet.
AndÂ Mr. Reid, who controls the upper chamberâ€™s floor schedule and who is theÂ SenateÂ sponsor ofÂ Mr. Obamaâ€™s legislation, continues to give other bills priority. This week, theÂ SenateÂ is working on a bill to impose compensatory tariffs on imports from countries that manipulate their currency â€” a move that targetsÂ China.
â€œI donâ€™t think there could be a more important piece of legislation right now,â€Â Mr. ReidÂ said ahead of a test vote Monday night, on which it passed easily 79-19.
He did, though, vow to hold a vote onÂ Mr. Obamaâ€™s bill by the end of October.
House Republican leaders wouldnâ€™t go that far, despite pleas from House Democrats to submit the bill to committees for hearings and debate.
Asked whether the presidentâ€™s $447 billion package was dead,Â Mr. CantorÂ flatly replied, â€œYes.â€
â€œThe president continues to say â€˜Pass my bill in its entirety.â€™ And as I have said from the outset, the all-or-nothing approach is just unacceptable,â€Â Mr. CantorÂ said.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/oct/3/obama-signals-impatience-jobs-bill/
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