- (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
President Obama visited Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday to promote the jobs bill he sent to Congress on Monday. Ohio is the home state of House Speaker John Boehner, who has been critical of the president’s initiative to tax the rich in order to pay for the plan.
The jobs bill's price tag is $447 billion. The president proposes to spend $25 billion of it to modernize schools and infrastructure. He also calls for targeted tax cuts, outlays for highway construction and repair, and new job training assistance for the unemployed. He would pay for his plan, he says, by closing tax loopholes benefiting corporations and ending tax breaks for American families earning more than $250,000 a year.
Congressional Republicans said Tuesday that they would consider some aspects of Obama’s jobs plan, but rejected his proposal to pay for it with what they labeled tax increases.
White House spokesman Jay Carney hinted that the administration was open to allowing the legislation to pass in pieces, rather than all at once, if that’s what it takes.
"If Congress were to send a portion of the American Jobs Act, the president would, of course, not veto it," Carney told reporters. "He would sign it and then he would return to press the Congress to get the rest of the job done."
"We see permanent tax increases put into effect in order to pay for temporary spending," Boehner told CNN. "I just don't think that's really going to help our economy the way it could."
Both sides of the aisle appear to agree on tax breaks for small businesses, but the GOP will probably refuse to have the wealthy pay more in taxes in order to foot the the bill.
"They supported this stuff in the past, but they're saying maybe they don't do it this time because Obama's proposing it," the President said in his speech to high school students in Ohio. "It's not about giving me a win. ... It's about giving people in Ohio a win."
The students then chanted, "pass this bill!”
He told the audience at the Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School to get in touch with their members of Congress any way they can to encourage them to support the plan.
Meanwhile, Carney put pressure on Republicans during a press conference. "Congress will have a lot of explaining to do," he said, "if, come the end of the year, they have done nothing to address Americans' number one priority. We live in a time when we have to make choices."
The bulk of the revenue to fund the president's $400 billion job plan would come from limiting deductions on charitable contributions that wealthy taxpayers can claim. The bill also would raise $40 billion by eliminating tax incentives for oil and gas exploration. Another $18 billion would be raised by hiking taxes on certain income earned by fund managers, and $3 billion from changing the tax treatment of corporate jets.
Obama has said he's asking the wealthy to pay “their fair share.” He told Time Monday, "The only thing that's stopping it is politics. And we can't afford these same political games. Not now."
Republican leaders have questioned Obama’s pledges of bipartisanship. Raising taxes, something the GOP ardently opposes, without large spending cuts, something the GOP ardently favors, does not seem bipartisan, Boehner said Monday.