PEOSTA, Iowa — President Barack Obama accused Republican Tea Party activists of holding back the economic recovery Tuesday, hiking pressure on Congress to pass his yet-to-be unveiled jobs plan.
On the second day of a three-day bus tour of Midwestern states, Obama expanded on his theme that political brinksmanship in Washington was harming America’s capacity to speed up the slowed recovery.
“The only question is if, as a nation, we’re going to do what it takes to grow this economy and put people back to work right now,” Obama said as he opened a Rural Economic Forum in a small town in northeastern Iowa.
“Can we get our politics to match up with the decency of our people?” he asked, renewing his push to extend a payroll tax cut, secure jobs help for returning war veterans and develop new generation fuels.
“The only thing that’s preventing us from passing the bills I just mentioned is the refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party.
“And that has to stop. Our economy cannot afford it. Our economy can’t afford it.”
Obama was referring to a band of conservative Republicans mostly in the House of Representatives who drove the United States to the brink of economic default in a dispute over raising the government’s debt ceiling.
He has promised to put forward a new jobs plans in September but it faces uncertain prospects in the House, where Republicans argue Obama strangled the private sector with over-regulation and wants to raise taxes on small businesses.
Obama warned on Monday that he would ask voters to punish lawmakers at the polls if they, as he put it, put politics before country, and failed to pass job-creating measures.
One of the men who wants to replace Obama, Texas Governor Rick Perry, planned to campaign on Tuesday in Iowa just a few miles from the president after announcing his bid for the Republican nomination on Saturday.
Perry seized on a report that the White House was considering forming a new government Jobs Agency in a bid to stimulate the employment market.
“What is this president’s plan to fix the economy? Apparently to create a new jobs agency,” Perry said.
“Mr President, we have tried two-and-a-half years of government creating jobs, it’s time to let the private sector get to work. Americans need work, not symbolism.”
Obama was taking part in a series of breakout sessions with small business owners at the rural economics council in Peosta, eastern Iowa, Tuesday, before wrapping up his bus tour in his adopted home state of Illinois on Wednesday.