“I know this is an election year, but it’s not an excuse for inaction. Six months is plenty of time for Democrats and Republicans to get together and do the right thing, taking steps that will spur additional job creation right now,” the president told students at the State University of New York in Albany.
The president is using his “handy little to-do list” to portray Republicans in Congress as standing in the way of his economic agenda. “Just saying no to ideas that we know will help our economy isn’t an option. There’s too much at stake,” he said. “So even if Republicans are still saying no to some of the bigger proposals… there are some additional ideas that could help people get to work right now and that they haven’t said no to yet. So I’m hoping they say yes.”
Flanked by screens broadcasting an image of his checklist on a Post-it note, the president seemed to mock gridlocked lawmakers. “Every member of Congress should have time to read it and they can glance at it every so often. And hopefully we’ll just be checking off the list, just like when Michelle gives me a list, I check it off,” he said to laughter from the audience.
The five items on the president’s wish list are all measures he has previously proposed but that have failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill. The list includes eliminating tax incentives to ship jobs overseas and tax credits for clean energy and small businesses.
Obama is also asking for help to create a “Veterans Job Corps” and for lawmakers to act on his latest plan to help homeowners refinance mortgages at lower interest rates.
In the weeks to come, the president said he will continue to urge Congress to act on these measures, which he said “will help accelerate our economy and put people back to work — not in November, not in next year, but right now.”
While today’s speech was an official presidential event, Obama managed to sneak in his new “forward” campaign theme.
“We’ve got a long way to go if we’re going to make sure everybody who wants a job can find one and every family can feel that sense of security that was the essence of America’s middle-class experience. But we can’t just go back to the way things used to be. We’ve got to move forward to an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, everybody plays by the same set of rules,” he said.
“That’s what you guys are doing here in Albany. You’re investing in your future. You’re not going backwards. You’re going forward,” the president said.