President Obama made his pitch to Congress this evening for what he's calling the American Jobs Act, a wide-ranging proposal whose centerpiece is an expansion of the payroll tax break (he figures it's worth $1,500 a year to the average family), along with more spending on school and road projects. The biggest surprise, says the New York Times, is probably the total cost: about $450 billion. But "everything in this bill will be paid for," insisted Obama. "You should pass this bill right away." (Politico notes that he repeated the "right away" phrase eight times during the speech.)
Excerpts, with the full text here:
- “The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.”
- The plan "will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed. It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business."
- "There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans—including many who sit here tonight."
- "Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives."
Related: Eric Cantor suggested Republicans are open to extending the payroll tax holiday, notes the Los Angeles Times
, and John Boehner said Obama's proposals "merit consideration," adds Reuters
. (Read more President Obama