WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- President Obama urged Congress to pass his jobs plan and avoid politics because "the American people don't have the luxury of waiting" until Election Day.
The president, speaking at the White House Rose Garden Monday before sending his $447 billion jobs bill -- called the American Jobs Act -- to Congress, called for its immediate passage.
"This is the bill that Congress needs to pass. No games, no politics, no delays," Obama said.
"There are some in Washington who would rather settle differences through politics and elections rather than settle things right now. … The next election is 14 months away and the American people don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months for Congress to take action," Obama said.
Obama was surrounded by people -- teachers, military veterans, construction workers, police, firefighters and small-business owners -- he said would benefit from the bill's passage.
"On Thursday, I told Congress that I'll be sending them a bill called the American Jobs Act," Obama said.
"Well here it is," he said, holding up a sheaf of paper as the audience applauded. "This is a bill that will put people back to work across the country [and] help our economy in moment of national crisis … ."
Among other things, Obama's plan calls for extending and expanding the payroll tax cut, due to expire at the end of the year. Obama also wants to cut the payroll tax businesses pay and extend unemployment benefits.
The bill "doesn't add to the debt. It's fully paid for," Obama said.
Next week, he said, he would outline plans to reduce the nation's deficit even further than the $1.5 billion a 12-member bipartisan, bicameral committee was tasked with doing.
Some matters, such as the troubled economy in Europe, are beyond the control of the United States, Obama said.
"This [the nation's economic situation] is something we can control. … You hear a lot of folks talking about uncertainty in the economy. This is a bit of uncertainty that we could avoid by going ahead and taking action to make sure that we're helping the American people."
As he's done previously, Obama called on the American people to "make sure that your voices are heard" by contacting members of Congress.
"There's no reason not to pass this bill. Its ideas are bipartisan. Its ideas are common sense. It will make a difference," Obama said. "So the only thing that's stopping it is politics."
Obama said he didn't care how people contacted their congressional members -- by e-mail, skywriting, fax or an old-fashioned letter -- just as long as they do so.
Congress must be told to "send me the American Jobs Act so I can sign it into law," Obama said. "Let's get something done. Let's put this country back to work."
|Additional U.S. News Stories|