Washington (CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama released his proposed $447 billion jobs bill Monday, stressing that it is urgent for Congress to act on the legislation. Obama said the bill is deficit neutral as long as Congress does not amend his proposal to capture $467 billion in revenue mostly through the elimination of tax deductions.
In a Rose Garden speech on Monday, flanked by firefighters, school teachers, police officers and veterans – all constituencies that get financial assistance from the legislation – Obama called the bill bipartisan, and said Republicans who opposed it would be playing politics. While the legislation includes tax credits for employers and for keeping the recent payroll tax cut in place, Obama announced he would call for a tax hike on the wealthy to cover the cost of the plan.
“There are some in Washington who’d rather settle our differences through politics and use the elections to resolve our differences rather than resolve them now,” Obama said with Vice President Joe Biden standing beside him.
“That’s the attitude in this town. ‘Yeah, we’ve been for these things before but I don’t know why we’d be for them right now,’” Obama said of Republicans. “The fact of the matter is the next election is 14 months away. The American people don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months for Congress to take action.”
The $447 billion proposal includes $4,000 tax credits for companies that hire people who have been unemployed for longer than six months. It also includes spending for construction, including work on 35,000 schools.
“Folks are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck,” said Obama. “They need action. And the notion that folks who would say we’re not going to do what’s right for the American people because we don’t think it’s convenient for our politics -- we’ve been seeing that too much around here.”
“That’s exactly what folks are tired of,” said Obama. “And that’s okay when things are going well -- to play politics. It’s not okay at a time of great urgency and need all across the country. These aren’t games we’re playing out here, folks are out of work. Businesses are having trouble staying open.”
Obama stressed that the plan is fully paid for.
“It’s not going to add a dime to the deficit,” Obama said. “Next week, I’m laying out my plan not only to pay for this jobs bill but also to bring down the deficit further. It’s a plan that lives by the same rules families do. It cuts out things that we can’t afford to do in order to afford the things we really need. It’s a plan that says everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share.”
Jack Lew, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, told reporters on Monday that the legislation would pay for itself by raising $467 billion in revenue through closing tax loopholes and special tax breaks.
The bulk of the revenue would come from limits on itemized deductions and certain exemptions on individuals who earn more than $200,000, and families that earn more than $250,000, which would apparently raise $400 billion over 10 years. Another $18 billion apparently would come from taxing interest earned by investment fund managers as income rather than capital gains. The elimination of tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies apparently would raise $40 billion, while changing how corporate jets are taxed would also apparently raise $3 billion.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he will ask the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan accounting arm of Congress, to score the bill, which will detail its costs and explain whether it adds to the deficit or is deficit-neutral.
“Once we receive CBO’s analysis, we can begin the important work of reviewing the various elements of his proposal,” Boehner said in a statement. “The record of the economic proposals enacted during the last Congress necessitates careful examination of the President’s latest plan as well as consideration of alternative measures that may more effectively support private-sector job creation. It is my hope that we will be able to work together to put in place the best ideas of both parties and help put Americans back to work.”