Live Blog: President Obama’s Address on Job Creation to a Joint Session of Congress
A word cloud of the speech from wordle.net:
7:41 – “Lets Meet the Moment!” the President says.
7:39 – the People, says Obama, don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months. So they have to work together. Biden stands up behind him. Beohner does not.
The people, he says, need help.
7:38 – Every proposal he’s suggested, he says, is bipartisan, will be paid for, and will help Americans.
7:37 – the divide between Republicans and Democrats is always on display at these speeches. One side thinks government can help. The other side thinks government is in the way.
7:35 – Mentions that America shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom by doing away with pollution regulations. “We should be in a race to the top.”
Many in the Green Community are piping hot mad at the President for undoing plans for the EPA to institute new greenhouse gas emission regulations. More on that and Al Gore specifically, here.
7:34 – Moving on from ‘work together’, the President turns combative. Says he won’t let the downturn be used to turn back protections for workers, regulations… “ i reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy.”
7:31 – Calls for trade agreements, butt with a nod to labor. Says if Americans can drive Kias, he wants people in Korea driving Fords too. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told ABC News Top Line today that he wants the president to “go to the mat” for workers.
7:30 – And what about people having trouble with their mortgages? Previous programs have not done well. “We’re going to work with Federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4%”
7:29 – Obama’s three words for tonight: “Pass this bill.” The bill itself will not come to Congress until next week.
7:27 – Its not class warfare, its “simple math,” he says. We can employ teachers or give money “to millionaires and billionaires.” This is the contrast Democrats will seek to make through election day 2012.
7:25 – Obama talks about Warren Buffett. Says “we need a tax code where everyonee gets a fair shake” and “everyone pays their fair share.” Democrats stand. Republicans stay seated. He also promises to reform the corporate tax code by stripping loopholes and lowering the rate for everyone. Says right now the loopholes go to the companies with the lobbyists.
7:24 – Obama says we have to “reform Medicare to strengthen it.”
Wealthy, says Obama, need to be asked to “pay their fair share.”
7:22 – The pledge from Obama – this bill, he says, will not add to the deficit. He wants to make modest adjustments to Medicare, he says, and wants to ask the wealthiest Americans “to pay their fair share.” Republicans will have a harder time with that. Its a real tax hike.
7:22 – On the Payroll tax, Obama argues to extend a partial holiday, appealing to the tax pledge that many Republicans have signed. Its a tax hike on the Middle Class, he says, not to pass his bill.
7:21 – President makes a bid for bipartisanship with the Georgia Works unemployment program.
7:19 – From the need for infrastructure to the need to protect teachers by giving money to states. Obama argues that laying off teachers here helps kids in Korea.
7:18 – Here’s what Boehner said to Biden before the speech, per @jaketapper: Boehner 2 Biden before speech: “7 birdies, 5 bogies, 2 under, next day 2 pars, 3 birdies, missed a 4 ft straight in birdie on the last hole”
7:16 – Obama refers to a crumbling bridge between Ohio and Kentucky. House Speaker John Boehner is from Ohio. Senate Minority Leader
7:15 – Still in generalities on jobs and infrastructure, but the only specific thing we’ve heard is that President Obama wants Congress to pass it now (3x)
7:07 – Rick Klein notes that Education Secretary Arne Duncan is not in the chamber tonight – tradition that someone is not there in case of catastrophe.
7:06: Entering the chamber, Obama is embraced by liberal Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who is from Northern California. He starts moving away, but she grabs him and says, “Be Bold!” or some derivation of that.
7:04: Jon Karl notes on ABC News’ live coverage that the President’s plan is being called stimulus part 2 by some Republicans. Its falling with a thud among them.
7:03 – President Obama with his economic team – Gene Sperling of National Economic Council, Jack Lew of OMB, Chief of Staff Bill Daley. An entirely new team. Gone are the people, like Larry Summer, Christina Romer, Rahm Emanuel, Austan Goolsbee, who followed him into office.
6:58 – Jill Biden in Red and Michele Obama in purple. Sitting with her – Jeffrey Immelt of GE and Steve Case and others. the mic on the dais for Biden and Boehner is still hot.
6:57: Biden and Boehner look chummy at the dais. They talked about golf, we are told. And they could be seen waving into the House gallery.
Setting the scene for Obama’s jobs speech: President Obama will address a joint session of Congress tonight on his plan to spur job creation in the United States.
The flailing economy has been the top subject of concern both in Washington, D.C. and on the campaign trail. Republican Presidential candidates debated in California on Wednesday night and there was general agreement among them that President Obama’s previous attempts to spur the economy, most notably with the more than $800 billion stimulus law in 2009, have failed.
Only three Republicans in Congress supported his stimulus proposal back in 2009, and the partisanship in Washington has only gotten worse.
Obama’s proposal tonight will include measures to help the unemployed, extending unemployment benefits and building off some state programs. It will also propose new ways to invest in America’s infrastructure. He will also propose extending a payroll tax holiday for American taxpayers and also, for the first time, for businesses.
Total pricetag: more than $400 billion. The White House says that it will be paid for, but it is not yet clear how.
There is more agreement on long-stalled trade agreements favored by moderates, many Republicans and the Chamber of Commerce. Read more about whether trade agreements could spur job growth.
But those have angered labor unions, a bastion of support for the President. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told ABC News Top Line today that he wants the president to “go to the mat” for workers.
A flower shop owner told Tapper on ABC’s World News tonight that the prosposals sound good, but might not help him hire workers. He said the best thing President Obama could do is come to his shop to buy flowers.
There are no easy answers for lawmakers trying to deal with the stubborn economy.
“If I were Barack Obama, what I would do right now is go into the Mon Valley of Pittsburgh, where there was once a steel mill, and open up a steel mill myself just to put people back to work,” said Jim Bonner, 32 , of Pittsburgh. “Direct government spending to hire people, to get people working again, that’s what has to happen.”
But direct spending is not likely to happen with cost-conscious Republicans now in charge of the House of Representatives. Read more on how President Obama plans to spend money on infrastructure.
A White House official tells ABC New’s Jake Tapper: “This afternoon, the President called Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell and said he wanted to work with them to pass the American Jobs Act as soon as possible.”
While the Republican presidential candidates continue to hit the president, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor struck a more conciliatory town today.
He sounded optimistic about a new program for the unemployed modeled on a state program in Georgia that pairs the unemployed with business owners for a sort of apprenticeship program. Some on the left have already criticized that proposal.
Not everyone is keeping such an open mind. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the upcoming speech more “re-election plan” than jobs plan.
At least two House Republicans will skip the speech, but two senators who had planned not to come, now will. Sen. David Vitter now won’t attend a party he planned to watch the New Orleans Saints take on the Green Bay Packers at 8 p.m.; he has to make votes right after President Obama’s speech.
And Republicans are making at least one political point with their guests. The President of Gibson Guitars will be on hand. His company was recently raided by federal authorities for potentially breaking trade agreements with India. Republicans say it is an example of over-regulation.
Democrats will have their own political guests on hand sitting with the First Lady. These include GE CEO JeffreyImmelt and Internet billionaire Steve Case, now a financier.