Barack Obama Jobs Plan Meets Early Resistance From Republicans

Following a few dismal weeks on Wall Street and talk of a double-dip recession, President Obama will soon announce a new jobs plan in September.

Obama's campaign advisor, David Axelrod said on Sunday that Obama will announce a new jobs plan in September. Photo: The White House/Flickr

The plan that is expected to include an extension of payroll tax cuts, new revenue for transportation projects and an extension of emergency unemployment benefits for the 9.1 percent of Americans who still can’t find a job.

The unemployment rate has been stuck above 9 percent and growth was very weak in the first half of 2011, causing many Americans to question whether Obama’s stimulus and bailout measures following the financial crisis worked.

Obama’s campaign advisor, David Axelrod said Sunday that “There’s nothing in there that reasonable people shouldn’t be able to agree on.” Axelrod said extending the payroll tax cut will be “absolutely critical,” as well as rebuilding the country’s roads and bridges.

“In the short term, we need to do some things to accelerate the economy,” he added. “In the long run, we also ought to agree that we need to deal with our debt issue,” he said.

“This is the seventh or eighth or ninth time we’ve heard the president talk about producing a plan,” Republican strategist Karl Rove said on Fox News Sunday. “And each time that he’s gotten around to tossing an idea out on the table, it has included only more spending, more deficit, more debt and the American people are fed up with it.”

Later Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” that Barack Obama next month will outline a short-term plan to strengthen the economy but also discuss long-term debt reduction.

“We have to solve it in the right way, in a balanced way, a way that’s fair,” he said, “in a way that protects the investments we have to make in education, research and development and the things we need to build good, middle-class jobs in the future.”

The stock market fell 11 percent in August, after the U.S. economy took a hit from soaring gas prices, the Japanese earthquake and the debt ceiling drama on Capital Hill. Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandy said on Sunday that the only way to avoid a double-dip recession right now was for Congress to follow through on the debt ceiling deal in a “reasonable, graceful way” and to extend the payroll tax cuts in 2012.

But many of the same Republicans who are fiercely protective of tax cuts for the wealthy have already said they oppose Obama’s plan to extend the payroll tax cut for low income Americans.

Rep. David Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said he opposed the 12-month tax cut because it would cost the government about $120 billion next year if it were renewed.

“It’s always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) told the AP, “but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again.”

Axelrod, talking to Jake Tapper on “This Week,” also hammered home recent points about the motives of the president’s opposition among Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.

“When people don’t support plans that have in the past garnered bipartisan support, when people are willing to walk the country to the brink of default, when people, instead of saying where there’s a will, there’s a way, [say] it’s my way or the highway, you have to assume that politics is at play,” he said.

“It is unthinkable to me that the Republican Party would say we can’t touch — we can’t touch tax cuts for the wealthy, we can’t touch special interest corporate tax loopholes because that will hinder — hinder the economy, but we’ll allow a $1,000 tax increase on the average American come January. How could that be? The only explanation for it is politics,” he said.

Axelrod added that he would expect liberals to ultimately decide for Obama in November 2012: “I think that this is such a profound choice that the president’s supporters and independent voters and people across this country will rally, because the future will be determined by this debate and the path we take.”

President Barack Obama said on Sunday that he expects to be judged in the 2012 election over his governance of the American economy, which he said was still not growing fast enough.

“For me to argue, look, we’ve actually made the right decisions, things would have been much worse has we not made those decisions — that’s not that satisfying if you don’t have a job right now,” Obama told CBS in an interview taped last week and aired during his annual vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, an island near Boston.

“I understand that and I expect to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better,” he said. [via Huff Post, Politico and Yahoo!]

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