As President Obama’s jobs bill heads toward its first test vote in the Senate, senior Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod says that members of Congress who oppose the measure willingly defy a majority of American voters.
“Since introducing the American Jobs Act, the American people have rallied around President Obama’s call for Congress to pass this plan,” Axelrod wrote in a memo to “interested parties” distributed by the campaign Monday night. “The more people know about the American Jobs Act; the more they hear the President talking about it; the more they want Congress to pass the plan.”
Axelrod cites recent polling data to argue that support for the bill has gained momentum over the past month, ratcheting up pressure on members — including Democrats — some of whom seem prepared to vote “no.”
The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, for example, found that 52 percent of Americans support the bill with 36 percent opposed.
Polls have also found majorities of Americans supportive of the specific provisions in the president’s plan, including more funding for teachers and first responders, extension of the payroll tax cut for workers and businesses, and new spending on infrastructure improvements. Strong majorities also favor higher taxes on wealthier Americans to pay for the plan.
“While Republicans may claim that this is class warfare, the American people are seeing right through their opposition to asking the wealthiest to do their part,” Axelrod says.
“The American people agree with economists across the political spectrum who are saying that the AJA will immediately create jobs and put more money in the pockets of middle class Americans who are struggling to make ends meet,” he says. “Yet Republican leaders — from Congress to the presidential campaign trail — have been steadfast in their opposition without providing an alternative that would create jobs now.”
While Republicans have opposed aspects of Obama’s plan, and vowed to block passage of it in its present form, many have shown support for the payroll tax cut extension and infrastructure bank, among other elements. Meanwhile, several Senate Democrats have expressed unease over the package of tax increases meant to pay for the deal.
Axelrod focuses exclusively on Republicans, questioning whether they will “put country ahead of party and pass this bill?” But it’s a question he could just as easily put to Senate Democrats, too.