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Obama: GOP holding middle class hostage

Sept. 22, 2012 at 6:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama Saturday castigated Congress for killing a veterans' jobs corps bill and not taking other steps to create jobs and grow the economy.

"Last week, without much fanfare, members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now. If that frustrates you, it should -- because their work isn't finished," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"When they skipped town, members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table -- actions that would create jobs, boost our economy, and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours," the president said.

Obama said if Congress "had done the right thing" they would have created the veterans' jobs corps to help troops returning from overseas find work as cops and firefighters in communities all across the country.

"These men and women have made incredible sacrifices for our country. They shouldn't have to worry about finding a job when they get home. But last week, Republicans in Congress voted it down. And then they left," Obama said.

"Right now, if Congress had gotten its act together, we would have a farm bill to help farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer. And we'd have made necessary reforms to give our rural communities some long-term certainty. But so far, Republicans in Congress have dragged their feet. And now they're gone.

"Right now, if Congress had acted, thousands of responsible homeowners could be saving an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates. But instead, Republicans in Congress decided that working families could wait. And now they'll have to wait a little longer."

Obama said Congress passed on the opportunity to give 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small-business owners a "guarantee that your taxes won't go up next year by a single dime."

"This is something we all agree on. It should have gotten done a long time ago. But Republicans in Congress have refused to budge. They're holding tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. And now middle-class families and small business owners are left wondering what their tax bill will look like next year.

"All of these ideas would strengthen our economy and help the middle class right now. All of them are supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents. There's no reason to wait.

"That's why, after going home and listening to their constituents for a few weeks, members of Congress should come back in November and do this work. They should do the right thing for veterans and farmers; for responsible homeowners and small businesses; for Americans everywhere who are just trying to get ahead."

Obama asked Americans to tell Congress not to wait any longer.

"If you get an answering machine, leave a message. If you see them campaigning back home, tell them in person. Because there's been enough talk. It's time for action. That's what you deserve, and that's what it's going to take to move this country forward," the president said.

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