Photos: DC Spotlight Newspaper
September 9, 2011
By Jordan Schatz
WASHINGTON D.C.—President Barack Obama delivered his economic speech to Congress on a rainy evening in Washington Thursday, calling on the legislative body to pass his proposed $447 billion American Jobs Act. The proposed bill comes on the heels of a September 2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report stating that unemployment was unmoved in August, finishing out the month at 9.1 percent. Currently, 14 million Americans remain unemployed.
“We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse,” Obama said. “The purpose of the American Jobs Act is to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.” Democrats in attendance responded to the speech with standing ovations, however, most Republicans remained skeptical. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) issued conciliatory remarks indicating that he thought there were places in which Republicans and the president could work together.
“The American people don’t expect Republicans and Democrats to agree on every issue but given the times we’re in the people who elected us expect us to be able to set aside those differences and work towards finding some commonality,” said Cantor.
GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), following Obama’s speech, issued scathing remarks. “I am highly disappointed. The United States Congress not only needs to not pass the president’s plan, but we need to stop the principles and plans that the president has already passed and put into place,” she said.
According to Bachmann, the solution to the county’s unemployment crisis should not come from the pockets of the federal government.
“There was nothing in the president’s speech tonight that shows or addresses that he really comprehends that the solutions need to come both from the private sector and that they need to be grounded in private solutions,” Bachmann said.
Obama’s plan included $245 billion in tax cuts and $202 billion directed at America’s infrastructure, some of which would reinforce unemployment insurance programs and support teachers and educators. Obama also proposed $175 billion to extend payroll tax cuts.
Said the president of the proposed act, “Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.”