Obama Challenges Republicans to Vote on Jobs Bill or Explain Opposition

Oct 6, 2011 11:42am

President Obama assailed Republicans today for failing to act on the American Jobs Act and challenged lawmakers in Congress to vote for his $447 billion bill or make clear their opposition.

“In every instance,” the president said, there has been “games-playing” in negotiations with Republicans but that “our doors are open.”

“I have gone out of my way in every instance, sometime at my own political peril, to work with Republicans to find common ground to move this country forward,” Obama said at a news conference in the East Room of the White House.

After some procedural maneuvering, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will force the Senate to vote on Obama’s original jobs bill today.

The vote will be on the bill as presented by President Obama – without the Senate Democrat’s revision to include a millionaires’ tax. It will be included in the vote as an amendment to the China currency bill.  There will be an amendment vote and no doubt Majority Leader Reid, D-NV., will set a 60-vote threshold.

The president today insisted that Congress vote on the bill before the end of the month, saying it is his “expectation and hope” that lawmakers vote for the bill because it presents ideas that have traditionally had bipartisan support.

Obama was defiant in challenging Republicans to spell out which proposals in the bill they are willing to support and clarify why they are opposed to others, saying they need to explain their objections to him, “but more importantly” to their constituency, as well.

“Any senator out there who’s thinking about voting against this jobs bill when it comes up for a vote needs to explain exactly why they would oppose something we know would improve our economic situation at such an urgent time,” Obama said.

“Our economy really needs a jolt right now,” he said.

“If next week senators have additional ideas that will put people back to work right now … we are happy to consider them,” the president said. “But every idea we’ve put forward are ones that have traditionally been supported by Republicans and Democrats alike. I believe it’s important we have a vote on them next week.”

The president also endorsed a “millionaire’s surtax” proposed by Senate Democrats to pay for his jobs bill, saying he’s  “comfortable with” the idea.

“I’m fine with the approach that they’re taking,” the president said at his first news conference since introducing the American Jobs Act.

The move would throw out the triggers and provisions that the president included in the American Jobs Act and instead include a 5 percent tax increase on Americans who make more than $1 million a year. The tax hike, which would not kick-in until 2013, would last for the next 10 years and would completely fund the $447 billion bill, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Update from ABC News’ Sunlen Miller on Capitol Hill:

After some procedural maneuvering Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., has forced the Senate to vote on Obama’s original jobs bill today.

The vote will be on the bill as presented by President Obama – without the Senate Democrat’s revision to include a millionaires’ tax. It will be included in the vote as an amendment to the China currency bill.

There will be an amendment vote and no doubt Majority Leader Reid, D-NV., will set a 60-vote threshold.

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