With the failure of the supercommittee looming large, President Obama today urged lawmakers to “keep going” as he praised a rare moment of bipartisanship in Washington, signing a bill intended to help unemployed veterans get back to work.
“My message to every member of Congress is keep going. Keep working. Keep finding more ways to put partisanship aside and put more Americans back to work,” the president said as he signed the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits.
Although Obama made no direct mention of the supercommittee, after the signing he was spotted talking with two Senate members of the committee, co-chair Patty Murray of Washington and Max Baucus of Montana.
Continuing to keep his distance from the issue, Obama shrugged off questions shouted from the press about the supercommittee. Vice President Joe Biden, however, said the panel “is about to throw its hand in the air,” as he thrust his own hands in the air.
“Because Democrats and Republicans came together, I’m proud to sign those proposals into law,” Obama said as he signed the tax credits intended to encourage businesses to hire veterans, the first proposal of his $447 billion jobs bill to become law.
The legislation, which passed with overwhelming support from both parties, will also increase job-training and counseling programs for the nation’s 850,000 unemployed veterans.
“Today the message is simple. For businesses out there, if you are hiring, hire a veteran. It’s the right thing to do for you, it’s the right thing to do for them, and it’s the right thing to do for our economy,” Obama said.
While the rest of the American Jobs Act remains stalled on Capitol Hill, the president said he will continue to urge lawmakers to act, in particular on tax cuts for workers and small-business owners.
“If Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year, then the typical family’s taxes is going to go up by roughly a thousand dollars. That’s the last thing our middle class and our economy needs right now. It is the last thing that our veterans need right now,” said the president, who will take the same message to New Hampshire tomorrow.