US President Barack Obama on Monday piled new pressure on Congress to pass his $447 billion jobs bill, saying he wanted Congress to vote on the measure this month.
The president said in a cabinet meeting that it was time for lawmakers to act on the plan, a mix of tax cuts and infrastructure spending, which Obama says could create 1.9 million jobs and cut the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent.
“It’s been several weeks now since I sent up the American Jobs Act, and as I’ve been saying on the road, I want it back. I’m ready to sign it,” he said.
“So my expectation is, now that we’re in the month of October, that we will schedule a vote before the end of this month.”
Obama said that he would talk to House Speaker John Boehner and the chamber’s top Democrat Nancy Pelosi and the Senate’s Democratic leader Harry Reid and his Republican minority counterpart Mitch McConnell about the need to pass the bill.
The president said that Republicans should make clear what aspects of the bill they did not like: “they should tell us what it is that they’re not going to go for.”
“I’m very much looking forward to seeing Congress debate this bill, pass it, send it to my desk, so we can start putting hundreds of thousands of Americans back to work.”
Senior administration officials say that Obama will relentlessly push the jobs bill until the end of the year, seeking to push Republicans into a dicey political corner should they decide to block action on the measure.
Republican leaders have said that they favor some aspects of the legislation, but are unlikely to pass the bill as one piece of legislation.
Some senior Senate Democrats have also expressed concern at aspects of the measure, which has yet to be taken up either in the Democratic-led Senate or the Republican-led House of Representatives.