Obama Won’t Wait For Congress to Act on Jobs

As Barack Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill heads toward its first big hurdle in the Senate, the president today vowed not to wait for Congress to act to jumpstart the economy and create jobs.

At a meeting with his jobs council today, the president backed their recommendations to boost the economy and tasked his advisors with identifying the proposals that his administration can act on immediately without Congressional action.

“We’re not going to wait for Congress.  So my instruction to… all the advisers who are sitting around the table is, scour this report, identify all those areas in which we can act administratively without additional congressional authorization, and just get it done,” the president said at a meeting of his Jobs and Competitiveness Council in Pittsburgh.

If Congress does not pass the bill in full, the president reiterated his plan to adopt a piecemeal approach to pass the American Jobs Act.  ”If they don’t pass the whole package, we’re going to break it up into different parts,” he said.

The president’s council, made up of 27 top U.S executives, has put forward five “targeted proposals that can meaningfully accelerate job creation while beginning to rebuild America’s competitiveness.”

“These days, things don’t move as quickly through Congress as we would like.  But there are certain ideas that are contained in this jobs council report that historically have received bipartisan support.  And the election is 14 months away, or 13 months away.  We can’t wait until another election before we start acting on some of those ideas,” Obama said.

The council’s recommendations include investing in infrastructure and energy, nurturing high-growth enterprises, launching a national investment initiative to attract business from abroad, improving regulatory review and developing skilled talent to fill today’s jobs.

“I think it’s outstanding. I think you guys did extraordinary work,” Obama said, praising the group for identifying areas “where we should be able to generate some strong bipartisan agreement.”

In particular, the president highlighted the council’s recommendation to invest in infrastructure, joking that “when you’ve got the AFL and the Chamber of Commerce agreeing on anything, that’s a sign that it’s a good idea.”

The White House announced earlier today that it is taking action to expedite the regulatory review process for 14 “high-impact” infrastructure projects across the country, ranging from bridge reconstruction to water supply projects to transit line construction.

“Our goal is, if this serves as an effective model for us being able to move those 14 quickly, that we can then replicate that across the board, and the significant investment that was made could have a much more rapid impact than what we’ve seen before,” Obama said.