WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s top critic in the US Senate on Tuesday blasted the White House’s new $447 billion blueprint for battling high unemployment as “more of a reelection plan than a jobs plan.”
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also rejected Obama’s call for raising taxes on the richest Americans and wealthy corporations to pay for the legislation, a key to the president’s reelection bid in November 2012.
“The specifics we got yesterday only reinforce the impression that this was largely a political exercise,” charged McConnell, who has said his party’s top goal must be to defeat Obama’s bid for a second term.
“It’s now obvious why the president left out the specifics last week. Not only does it reveal the political nature of this bill, it also reinforces the growing perception that this administration isn’t all that interested in economic policies that will actually work,” said McConnell.
The senator, who on paper at least has the votes to block legislation, denounced the president’s call for raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for the plan.
“The president knows raising taxes is the last thing you want to do to spur job creation. He’s said so himself,” said McConnell, apparently referring to Obama’s warning in August 2009 that “you don’t raise taxes in a recession.”
“Yet that’s basically all he’s proposing here: temporary stimulus to be paid for later by permanent tax hikes, so that when the dust clears, and the economy is no better off than it was after the first stimulus, folks find themselves with an even bigger tax bill than today,” said McConnell.
“If the president is truly interested in growing the economy and putting Americans back to work, then he’ll leave the temporary proposals and the half-measures — and the tax hikes — aside,” he added.
McConnell pushed Obama to seek instead “a permanent reform of our broken tax system, reducing out-of-control federal regulations” and to push ahead with passage of free trade deals with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
“All of this is doable, all of it should attract bipartisan support, and all of it would create jobs. That would be a jobs plan worthy of the seriousness of the moment,” he said.
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