President Barack Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night, touting his new American Jobs Act and urging Congress to “pass this bill”.
Despite President Obama wanting to see this bill passed immediately, it’s not likely that the entire package will see agreement quickly.
However, the speech and the reactions to the speech from both parties seemed to be less about American jobs and more about President Obama and Congress both wanting to keep their jobs in 2012.
Immediate reactions from the speech showed that President Obama struck a more aggressive chord, urging Congress to “pass this bill” seventeen times according to CBS News. Obama also warned Congress that he’s taking this message to all corners of the country, asking voters to “lift their voice” to ask Washington to take action.
This aggressive tone showed that President Obama wants to take the situation to Republicans, not happy to simply allow Republican Presidential candidates be the only politicians presenting economic plans.
The timing of the speech made it feel much more like grabbing campaign momentum than simply pushing new legislation. And the threats to get American voters to add pressure to pass the act doesn’t seem like a move urging a compromise. Rather, it feels like a candidate drawing a line in the sand.
Regarding the details of the Jobs Act, expect Republicans to come out vociferously against any tax increases for anyone. The same people that Obama calls the “wealthy”, Congressional Republicans will call “small business owners”. If those tax increases can’t be separated from the American Jobs Act, it will not get to the President’s desk.
The reason that this speech is more about jobs in Washington than jobs in America is because it focused on what currently divides parties, taxes and spending.
By insisting to Congress that they “pass this bill”, the President created a stump speech for his entire re-election campaign. He can either say, “I told them to and they did”, or he can say, “I told them to help you and they refused”.
Congressional Republicans realize this potential political Catch 22. If they simply refuse to even consider the majority of the bill, they could look like the villains in the situation.
But they also cannot capitulate on the entire package. If they did, can you imagine the reception GOP incumbent candidates would get at Tea Party events? Congressional Republicans can wiggle out this tight squeeze, but they will need to use some finesse.
A version of the American Jobs Act may indeed be passed and get Americans back to work. Or, it may be killed in Congress, being labeled as “Stimulus II”. But the only thing we know for sure is that this Jobs Act is about our elected leaders trying to keep their jobs just as much as it is about our neighbors who need jobs on Main Street.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.