WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2011 -- White House senior advisor David Plouffe says he expects President Obama's American Jobs Act to reach the Senate floor in October, stressing the need for bipartisan support to pass the legislation.
"We expect to have a vote on the American Jobs Act in October," Plouffe told "This Week" anchor Christiane Amanpour. "We need action. The American people know that the economy is too weak; too many of them are suffering. So the question for Washington is, are we going to continue to play political games or are we going to say we can do something right now to create jobs?"
Plouffe added that he believes the October vote is "not too late" and would have a "very good chance" of passing in both the Republican-dominated House and Democratic-controlled Senate.
"This has tax cuts for every small business and every worker, rehiring teachers, modernizing our schools, helping rebuild our infrastructure," Plouffe said. "And they traditionally have had bipartisan support."
Despite Plouffe's apparent optimism about the bill's prospects, Republicans have slammed the plan. Last week on the Senate floor, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called it "a hodge-podge of retread ideas aimed at convincing people that a temporary fix is really permanent."
The $447 billion jobs plan would be a two-pronged approach of spending initiatives and tax cuts, such as payroll-tax cuts for employees and employers. Plouffe described it as part of both a short-term and longer-term strategy to stimulate the economy, and called on Congress to act urgently.
"The economy is too weak right now. We need to jump-start it," he said. "The American Jobs Act will provide that jump-start, to help us into next year and the year after that.
"What Congress ought to do is act in a little bit more panic fashion, because people need action right now on the economy," he added. "We have to get our fiscal house in order, and we have to really focus on the things we know are going to make a difference, education, innovation, investment."
Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, agreed, calling for the U.S. to refocus its economic strategy given the mounting fiscal crisis in Europe.
"We should be focusing on trying to shift to exports, shift to investment, and get ourselves growing, because we shouldn't be looking for help coming from Europe," Goolsbee said.
Last week, the European debt crisis and a potential default by the Greek government left Wall Street with its worst week since October 2008.
Goolsbee said economic default in Greece would have dire consequences for the United States.
"For Americans, at the least it's going to be another bad blow to the economy," Goolsbee said.
Goolsbee compared the handling of the European banking crisis to a "bad Monty Python sketch," saying, "They're actually not doing anything. They just keep on agreeing that they're going to work in concert."
Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO, one of the world's largest investment firms, called for action by Europe to stem the crisis.
"Greece started as an infection in the toe and was allowed to spread," El-Erian said. "We're going to have to have actions by the Europeans."