Thank you Huffington Post for keeping us up to date with the results. I really hope that people are getting out there to VOTE. This is our country, so damn it MAKE HER PROUD!!!
Thank you Huffington Post for keeping us up to date with the results. I really hope that people are getting out there to VOTE. This is our country, so damn it MAKE HER PROUD!!!
This LIST in NOT COMPLETE…it still needs to be updated but just in case here is some of what our PRESIDENT has done since he has been RUNNING SHIT! Last I checked he wasn’t GOD so I think he has done a pretty GREAT JOB so far. (source)
1. Saved the collapse of the American automotive industry by making GM restructure before bailing them out, and putting incentive money to help the industry
2. Shifted the focus of the war from Iraq to Afghanistan, and putting the emphasis on reducing terrorism where it should have been all along
3. Relaxed Anti-American tensions throughout the world
4. Signed order to close the prisoner “torture camp” at Guantanamo Bay
5. Has made the environment a national priority, and a primary source for job creation
6. Has made education a national priority by putting emphasis and money behind new ideas like charter schools, but speaking directly to school children in telling them they have to do their part.
7. Won the Nobel Peace Prize
8. $789 billion economic stimulus plan
9. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court
10. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles
11. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans
12. Renewed dialogue with NATO and other allies and partners on strategic issues.
13. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force… this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.
14. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops
15. “Cash for clunkers” program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulates auto sales
16. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan
17. Closed offshore tax safe havens
18. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan
19. Ended media “blackout” on war casualties; reporting full information
20. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts
21. . Ended media blackout on war casualties and the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB.
22. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules
23. Ended previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings
24. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports
25. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has created 2.1 million jobs (as of 12/31/09).
26. Ended previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
27. Ended previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back
28. Ended previous policy on torture; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with the Geneva Convention standards
29. . Launched Recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, an unprecedented step to provide transparency and accountability through technology.
30. Ended previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices
31. Ended previous “stop-loss” policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date
32. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources
33. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient
34. Established a new cyber security office
35. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
36. Expanding vaccination programs
37. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses
38. . Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans.
39. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
40. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools
41. Responded with compassion and leadership to the earthquake in Haiti
42. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters
43. . Launched Business.gov – enabling conversation and online collaboration between small business owners, government representatives and industry experts in discussion forums relevant to starting and managing a business. Great for the economy.
44. Improved housing for military personnel
45. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals
46. Changed failing war strategy in Afghanistan.
47. Improving benefits for veterans
48. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants…) after years of neglect
49. Donated his $1.4 million Nobel Prize to nonprofits.
50. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program
51. Provided tax credits to first-time home buyers through the Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 to revitalize the U.S. housing market.
52. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel
53. Increasing student loans
54. Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return “home” to visit loved ones
55. Cracked down on companies that deny sick pay, vacation and health insurance to workers by abusing the employee classification of independent contractor. Such companies also avoid paying Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance taxes for those workers.
56. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000
57. Limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House
58. Protected 300,000 education jobs, such as teachers, principals, librarians, and counselors through the Recovery Act that would have otherwise been lost.
59. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
60. Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act on February 4, 2009, provides quality health care to 11 million kids – 4 million who were previously uninsured.
61. Lower drug costs for seniors
62. Making more loans available to small businesses
63. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration
64. . Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis
65. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans
66. Announced creation of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record for members of the U.S. Armed Forces to improve quality of medical care.
67. New federal funding for science and research labs
68. New funds for school construction
69. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending
70. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices
71. . Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals.
72. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan
73. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions
74. Provided tax credit to workers thus cutting taxes for 95% of America’s working families.
75. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic
76. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
77. . Helped reverse a downward spiral of the stock market. On January 19, 2009, the last day of President Bush’s presidency, the Dow closed at 8,218.22. In February 2010, the Dow closed at 10,309.24
78. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
79. Restarted the nuclear non-proliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols
80. Provided attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles.
81. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters
82. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy
83. Unveiled a program on Earth Day 2009 to develop the renewable energy projects on the waters of our Outer Continental Shelf that produce electricity from wind, wave, and ocean currents. These regulations will enable, for the first time ever, the nation to tap into our ocean’s vast sustainable resources to generate clean energy in an environmentally sound and safe manner.
84. Signed national service legislation; expanded national youth service program
85. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards
86. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced
87. Successful release of US captain held by Somali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job
88. The FDA is now regulating tobacco
89. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date.
90. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010
91. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying
92. The “secret detention” facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed
93. US financial and banking rescue plan
94. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast
95. . Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system.
96. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
97. Improved relations with Iran
98. Improved U.S. policy on climate change
99. Set timetable for exiting Iraq (already started removing troops)
100. Improved relations with Russia
101. Improved relations with the Islamic World
102. Made progress towards greater cooperation on limiting nuclear proliferation
103. Economic stimulus plan has created jobs. (Unemployment rate decreasing)
104. Drastically slowed down the recession
105. Saved Wall Street
106. Passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act (equal work for equal pay) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilly_Ledbetter_Fair_Pay_Act_of_2009
107. HEALTHCARE REFORM
108. Ordered the military operation that killed Osama Bin Laden
THIS LIST IS NOT DONE / UPDATED. IT IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Once again, this is a lot to accomplish in such a short amount of time. He was elected President, he wasn’t elected Jesus.
“President Obama has his opponent: Mitt Romney. Here are some things we all need to remember about him—and make sure our friends know, too.”-Barack Obama.com
LA Times reports — It may be Mitt Romney’s first full day as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, but Democrats hope the legacy of the hard-edged GOP primary will linger on just a bit longer.
The Obama campaign Wednesday morning had ready a best-of highlight reel of Romney statements made as he courted conservative voters, a YouTube video it titled “Memories to last a lifetime.”
Among the sound bites recycled were Romney saying, “Corporations are people, my friend,” “I like being able to fire people,” and, “I was a severely conservative Republican governor.”
It also shows Romney expressing support for overturning the Supreme Court decision on Roe vs. Wade, applauding the House Republican budget blueprint, and vowing to veto the DREAM Act.
The nearly two-minute video, produced by the Obama reelection squad’s “Truth Team,” closes with onscreen text that reads: “Mitt Romney: A severely conservative nominee. Remember that.”
Once it became clear weeks ago that Romney controlled the path to the GOP nomination, the Obama campaign and Democratic allies became increasingly eager to begin turning the page to the general election fight. As with any presidential reelection campaign, their strategy is to frame the election as a choice between the two nominees, not as a referendum on the incumbent.
The Romney campaign may have played into that trap on its own Wednesday morning. Democrats quickly pounced on the rival outfit for seeming to hesitate when asked on a conference call with reporters whether Romney supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act that calls for equal pay for women in the work force. It was one of the first pieces of legislation Obama signed as president.
“We’ll get back to you on that,” a Romney spokesman said on the call, a portion of which the Democratic National Committee sent out.
Barely an hour later, the Obama campaign put out a statement from Ledbetter herself saying she was “shocked and disappointed to hear that Mitt Romney is not willing to stand up for women and their families.”
After weeks of bitter partisan wrangling, the Capitol emptied for the holidays with no sign of negotiation toward a compromise that would save an expiring tax break. As of Jan. 1, the payroll tax cut that has been in place all year is scheduled to return to 6.2% from its current 4.2%, meaning that biweekly paychecks on average will be $40 smaller.
Long-term unemployment benefits for some 3 million people also are poised to expire, and doctors face an estimated 20% cut in Medicare payments.
Facing that unpleasant reality, Republicans fell into an angry family feud over their strategy. Several GOP senators who face reelection next year accused their House colleagues of acting irresponsibly. The House voted to disagree with the bipartisan bill the Senate had passed to preserve the tax cut for two months so Congress would have more time to work on a full-year extension. <<< really JERKS!!!
Democrats, meantime, were happy to accuse Republicans of voting to block a tax cut and leaving town without finishing their work — the same argument Republicans planned to use on them.
“The issue right now is this: The clock is ticking; time is running out,” President Obama said in a statement at the White House after the vote. “And if the House Republicans refuse to vote for the Senate bill, or even allow it to come up for a vote, taxes will go up in 11 days.”
This was not a fight that seasoned Republican lawmakers, most prominent among them House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, would have chosen. They see no value in having Americans think Republicans are allowing a tax increase, a message the White House continues to broadcast daily. Senate Republicans calculated that it was better to agree to an imperfect compromise, one that extends the tax break a couple of months and buys more negotiating time, than to try to argue otherwise.
But as has happened so many times this year, those voices were drowned out in the House by hard-charging conservatives and their newly arrived tea party partners, who pushed the GOP to instigate one last round of brinkmanship as the year ends. Boehner took up their cause, and is now withstanding grumbles from within his ranks and the arrows of Republican allies in the Senate who view this as a no-win battle.
The difference between this stalemate and the many others that have defined the year in Washington is the role of Democrats, who have played defense in the year’s bruising budget battles, including the summer’s fight over raising the debt ceiling. This time, Obama and his fellow Democrats believe the public is on their side, and have expressed no interest in reviving talks they predict would yield little gain.
Finding compromise on a full-year deal would require consensus on the tax and spending debates that have jammed budget talks all year. Democrats will not agree to steep cuts the GOP has demanded to pay the $200-billion costs of a yearlong tax cut package that both parties say they want. Unlike past tax deals, Republicans insist this one be paid for — a position Democrats now share.
Because Republicans refused to consider Obama’s proposal to cover the costs by imposing a surtax on those earning more than $1 million annually, Democrats see the GOP in the uncomfortable position of blocking a tax increase on the affluent while allowing one on 160 million American workers. If the tax benefit lapses, they calculate that Republicans will get the blame.
“I saw today that one of the House Republicans referred to what they’re doing as ‘high-stakes poker,’ “ said Obama, who appeared at the daily White House briefing. “He’s right about the stakes, but this is not poker. This is not a game — this shouldn’t be politics as usual.”
Obama, whose family is in Hawaii for the holidays, delayed joining them by another day, with aides saying he held out hope that House Republicans would reconsider the Senate measure.
Boehner also used his megaphone. At a news conference with lawmakers lined up on a riser like a church choir, the speaker urged Obama to call the Senate back into session.
“Now it’s up to the president to show real leadership,” Boehner said. At one point, the lawmakers cheered.
Republicans believe they are fighting the good fight. They say they prefer the traditional process of merging differing House- and Senate-passed bills into one.
The founding fathers might have appreciated the GOP’s effort to stick to the constitutional rules, but it is unclear that the public will find it compelling. Democrats are readying campaign lines of attack and using the stalemate to raise campaign funds.
The GOP appointed eight negotiators to work over the holidays in hopes that the Senate would return to the bargaining table. Some other House members planned to remain in Washington as a show of support, even as most of their colleagues defended decisions to head home for the holidays.
“I don’t think the public insists we sit around here fiddling our thumbs,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who was planning to spend Christmas with his five grandchildren at home. <<< of course NOT enjoy your holiday don’t worry about the small people at ALL!!!
But with senators long gone, Democrats showed no signs of budging. House Republicans also remained adamant.
“Democrats need to be careful — the president seems to be going on a scorched-earth policy,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). “But if they think there’s not going to be collateral damage on their side, they’re out of their minds.”
Seeing the difficulty this Congress has had finding compromise, and wanting a break from a year of fierce partisan battles, GOP senators thought it best to approve the stopgap measure for now.
“I’m not going to argue with the House of Representatives, but do they want taxes to go up on January the 1st, or don’t they?” Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), who voted for the compromise, said in a radio interview Tuesday. “If they don’t do anything, the chances are taxes would go up.”
That is a gamble both sides appear increasingly willing to take.
I couldn’t agree more our infrastructure is falling apart, imagine if we hit 50 million people; we are already at 40 million & our infrastructure was built to support 25 million people. It has been 21 years, now if the price of gas continues to rise than I foresee this being a problem but if not I am all for it. Something has to give, and if we CALIFORNIANS need to give back & help out by a boost in gas tax than so be it!!!
LA Times reports — California urgently needs more money to rebuild its public facilities. Increasing the gas tax, last boosted 21 years ago, would let the state pay for much-needed transportation projects without costly borrowing.
There are three main reasons why the state has not been rapidly rebuilding California’s public facilities, despite an urgent need. Two of them I’ve written about recently: gubernatorial ambivalence and bureaucratic inertia.
But the third is a more long-term problem. The state simply does not have enough money to build all that it needs. A massive public works program is essential to stimulate the stagnant economy, create tens of thousands of jobs and — over the long haul — restore California to greatness after decades of sweeping its decaying infrastructure under the political rug.
There have been fits and starts. In 1990, then-Gov. George Deukmejian led a campaign for voter approval of a gas tax increase to finance a major highway construction program. But the Loma Prieta earthquake devoured much of that new money.
In 2006, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won voter approval of an unprecedented $43-billion public works program for transportation, housing, education, flood control and water facilities. But five years later, only roughly half the bonds have been sold. And of that money, just 70% has been spent. Too many projects aren’t shovel-ready.
The yellow light for public works was first flashed by Gov. Jerry Brown when he was governor the first time in the 1970s. Unlike his father, Gov. Pat Brown — the legendary builder — Jerry Brown preached an “era of limits” and pulled back on capital outlay. He later admitted it was a mistake.
“I surely didn’t expect California to grow like it did,” Brown told me last year as he was starting to run for governor again. “We had tremendous growth. And when you have growth, you’ve got to build: energy, water, roads, transit, schools, jails.”
But the Democratic candidate added a caveat: “We need a design change. We can’t just keep paving over. We’ve paved over the San Fernando Valley. We’ve got to use the land better. We’ve got to use our energy better — the natural resources, the wind, the sun, geothermal.”
Gov. Jerry Brown II has been promoting renewable energy, but hasn’t gotten around to the “design change” on other public works. He has been focused on truly the state’s No. 1 priority: balancing its books.
In the meantime, as I’ve written, billions of sold but unused infrastructure bonds have been piling up in the bureaucracy. As of last month, the total came to $9.1 billion. Brown protested that he actually had inherited a $13.4-billion stash of idle money and is bent on whittling it to $3 billion by next July. Since then, however, the state has sold another $1.8 billion in infrastructure bonds. And there’s an additional $35 billion in voter-authorized bonds available for selling.
Hoarding borrowed billions that you’re making loan payments on but not spending makes no sense. But borrowing the remaining $35 billion and asking voters to approve still more bonds in future elections — as is a virtual certainty — makes little sense either until the state figures out a better way to pay them off.
Generally, every borrowed dollar costs another dollar in interest; $1 billion costs $2 billion. That’s $1 billion in taxpayers’ money lining the pockets of investors instead of paying for operating schools, clinics, parks or prisons. The state budget already is pinched. The General Fund, which finances 80% of infrastructure bonds, has been slashed by 17% in the last three years.
“If you want to pay for capital outlay, you can’t pay for schools, colleges, parks or something else,” notes Democratic state Treasurer Bill Lockyer. California’s infrastructure was designed for 25 million people, but we’re fast approaching a population of 40 million.
“We’ve got a lot of needs, but we’re never going to be able to finance them with the General Fund,” Lockyer says. “It’s too big a price tag.”
“And we’re going to have to ration,” he continues. “Whatever the bond flavor of the year may be — whatever the politics — there needs to be more discipline figuring out how to divide up the pot of money.”
Good luck with that one. The likes of a bullet train fantasy always seems to attract starry-eyed voters and politicians, governors included. Lockyer long has advocated shifting more bond financing out of the General Fund and into kitties paid for by facility users. The nonpartisan legislative analyst has promoted the same idea. An August report on infrastructure spending suggested more toll roads and charging fees based on miles driven.
Ideally, the state would take a big step toward pay-as-you-go financing for highway construction and borrow less. To do that, it would need to again raise the gas tax, which hasn’t been hiked in 21 years. “It makes no sense to borrow if you can have a cash flow,” says veteran highway construction lobbyist Dave Ackerman, once an official in the Deukmejian administration. “A cash flow comes from increasing taxes. Republicans look at that and say, ‘We can’t go for any more taxes.’ Yet this borrowing is killing us.”
The 1990 gas tax boost long ago lost its punch because of inflation and more efficient engines. Motorists are buying less gas to travel the same distance. But they’re causing the same wear and tear on roads. That’s why there’s a mini-movement toward charging motorists a fee per mile driven.
“We’re using the same concrete that was poured in Pat Brown’s day, and it’s starting to fall apart,” Ackerman says. “His infrastructure is the underpinning that made our state strong. “There are rusty hinges on the Golden State.” The governor needs to get out his grease gun.
President Obama on Monday made an aggressive pitch for his $3-trillion deficit-reduction strategy, promising to veto any proposal that fails to raise revenues by asking wealthy Americans to “pay their fair share.”
“We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable,” Obama said.
Obama said his plan would seek $1 in new revenues for every $2 in cuts. At its core is a plan to raise $1.5 trillion in new revenues through an overhaul of the tax code.
Of that, $800 billion would come from the expiration of the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for upper-income Americans; the other $700 billion consists of revenue increases achieved by closing loopholes, limiting deductions for those earning more than $250,000 a year and getting rid of tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
As part of any changes to tax law, Obama is calling on lawmakers to follow a principle the administration calls the Buffett rule: No one earning more than $1 million a year should be taxed at a lower rate than middle-income households.
Speaking in urgent tones from the Rose Garden at the White House, Obama rejected Republican arguments that his proposals amount to “class warfare,” saying it comes down to “math.”
“It is wrong that in the United States of America a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million,” he said, adding that anyone who opposes that principle “should be called out.”
“It comes down to this: We have to prioritize,” he said. “Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount, by $4 trillion. … Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.”
Obama is presenting his recommendations to a congressional “super committee” that is considering a deficit-reduction package of its own. The 12-member committee, an outgrowth of the debt-ceiling negotiations over the summer, is charged with putting out a bill that will go to Congress for an up-or-down vote. The committee must complete its work by Nov. 23.
His plan for lopping $3 trillion from the deficit is on top of the approximately $1 trillion in spending cuts that he signed into law in August, after reaching a deal with Republican congressional leaders to lift the nation’s debt ceiling.
On Monday, Republicans swiftly responded to the president’s proposal with opposition.
“Veto threats, a massive tax hike, phantom savings and punting on entitlement reform is not a recipe for economic or job growth — or even meaningful deficit reduction,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. “The good news is that the joint committee is taking this issue far more seriously than the White House.”
“Pitting one group of Americans against another is not leadership,” House Speaker John Boehner added. “The joint select committee is engaged in serious work to tackle a serious problem. … Unfortunately, the president has not made a serious contribution to its work today.”
I couldn’t agree more with what James Carville said “For God’s sake, why are we still looking at the same political and economic advisors that got us into this mess? It’s not working.”
LA Times reports — Is it time to panic at the White House? The whispers have begun to grow louder both inside and outside the Beltway that the answer is yes, and that President Obama’s West Wing is in need of a good old-fashioned shakeup.
The loudest voice to date is that of James Carville, the boisterous Democratic strategist who helped put Bill Clinton into the White House in 1992.
Writing at CNN.com, Carville said the results of special elections this week in New York and Nevada call for an urgent response from the president to change course.
“We are far past sending out talking points. Do not attempt to dumb it down. We cannot stand any more explanations,” Carville wrote Thursday.
He outlined a three-point strategy that starts with firing “a lot of people.”
“For God’s sake, why are we still looking at the same political and economic advisors that got us into this mess? It’s not working,” he said.
Reports Friday, though, indicate that some are pointing the finger at one of the newest figures in Obama’s inner circle: Chief of Staff Bill Daley. Politico says unnamed “critics inside and outside the West Wing are questioning whether he is the tough, competent manager needed to shake up the operation and propel Obama into the 2012 election year.”
Thursday night, the Huffington Post said “Democrats on the Hill and even in the White House are struggling with a mysterious emotion: They miss Rahm Emanuel.”
This kind of hand-wringing is to be expected given where the president’s poll numbers are. His evening speech to a joint session of Congress was viewed by more than 30 million Americans, but failed to jolt his approval rating. Gallup’s tracking poll showed no “bump” from the speech, and that his job rating is down to 39% as of Thursday.
And the jobs plan he announced, while well received during his campaign-style events in swing states, has yet to gain steam even with some Democrats in Congress.
His advocacy of “green jobs” also is under fire, with questions about whether his top aides pressured budget officials to fast-track a loan to now-defunct solar company Solyndra.
Obama has routinely resisted calls such as Carville’s to shake things up based on what he sees as short-term setbacks. At fundraising events Thursday night, he said he was confident he would weather the storms.
“If you need some inspiration, watch the Republican presidential debates,” he joked at one event.
“This is one of those times where all of you are going to have to be my ambassadors over the next several months, to make sure that people who I think continue to believe in change and continue to believe in hope are mobilized effectively in 2012,” he said at another. “If you’re there with me, then I’m confident that we’ll have an inauguration.”
LA Times reports — In an evening address to lawmakers in a special joint session, Obama will argue that his plans should be supported by Republicans and Democrats alike and he will urge them to set aside the politics that might get in the way.
“There is nothing controversial about this piece of legislation,” Obama said in excerpts released in advance of his speech. “Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for, everything.”
But Obama won’t outline how he would pay for the package, putting that off until next week when the White House plans to release legislation detailing the plan. The administration said he would outline a “dollar for dollar” budget to pay for his jobs package.
The plan was almost $150 billion larger than administration officials had previously indicated, helping Obama portray the proposal as bold. Economists said a plan of that scope might have a noticeable impact on the economy very soon after enactment.
But the size of the proposal also could create sticker shock in Congress, where even in advance of the address, many GOP lawmakers were wary of spending money to stimulate the economy, while others may prefer to wait to take action should a Republican become president in 2013.
The White House hopes Americans will rally behind Obama’s plan and spur Congress to pass enough of the measure to have an effect on the 9.1% jobless rate, at least by the time the president’s reelection campaign is in full swing.
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, forecast that if Obama’s plan is implemented in its entirety, the jobless rate would fall to roughly 8% around the time of the election. If no further action is taken, unemployment would be about 9% at end of next year, he said.
Advisors said Obama would not predict how many jobs the plan would create, a noteworthy omission given the sales job he is about to kick off. But the point, along with the speech itself, is fraught with political risk; the president doesn’t want to be measured against an official set of projections as he is running for reelection in 2012.
At the heart of the president’s plan is about $245 billion in tax relief for individuals and businesses, going well beyond the payroll tax “holiday” that Congress adopted last winter. Obama would expand that cut for workers, providing a $1,500 tax cut to the typical American family, up from a $1,000 cut in the first round.
Obama would also cut the payroll tax in half for businesses with payrolls of less than $5 million and declare a complete payroll tax holiday for newly hired workers or wage increases at firms of any size.
“Part of the way you increase growth is you increase demand,” said one senior administration official, noting that other elements of the plan create jobs for as little as $30,000 each. “We think this is the right balance of getting money in people’s pockets” and investing directly in job creation, the official said.
The other major chunk of the proposal is $140 billion that would go directly to putting people to work, largely by updating the nation’s roads, bridges and schools. About $35 billion of that would go to states to keep teachers, police and firefighters on the job.
The president also proposes reforming the unemployment insurance program to prevent 5 million Americans who are looking for work from losing their benefits. Officials say his “Bridge to Work” program improves upon a controversial Georgia state program that helps pay displaced workers who have temporary or voluntary work. Obama says his plan would make sure the workers earn minimum wage.
In his remarks to Congress, Obama will issue a call to move beyond politics and respond to the economic emergency.
“Those of us here tonight cannot solve all of our nation’s woes,” Obama said. “Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.”
LA Times reports — President Obama marked the end of the “long and contentious” debt-limit debate Tuesday afternoon, lamenting that the “manufactured crisis” has stunted the economic recovery and promising a return to a jobs-focused agenda.
The president spoke from the Rose Garden moments after the Senate gave final approval to the deal by a vote of 74-26. The House had voted for it by a surprisingly comfortable 269-161 margin on Monday. Obama signed the measure more than an hour after the Senate vote, ensuring that the nation is able to continue borrowing money to pay its bills.
The president called the deficit-reduction measures paired with the debt-limit increase an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we continue living within our means.” But he also said he would continue to fight for a “balanced” approach when Congress continues the debate this fall.
“I’ve said it before, I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have born the biggest brunt of this recession,” he said.
The months-long debate has sapped all parties in Washington of popular support, including Obama. Last week, his approval rating sank to an all-time low in the Gallup daily tracking poll, at 40%.
At the same time, any sense of an economy in recovery mode seems to have gone out the window because of the uncertainty sparked by the debt-limit debate.
“While Washington has been absorbed in this debate about deficits, people across the country are asking what can we do to help the father looking for work,” Obama said. “That’s part of the reason that people are so frustrated with what’s been going on in this town. … Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.”
Democrats, many unhappy with the terms of the final accord, are eager to move on from the debate and focus on jobs after they return from the August recess. Obama signaled that in his remarks, calling for consideration of various measures, including an extension of middle-class tax cuts, the adoption of trade deals and a new infrastructure bank.
“Both parties share power in Washington. And both parties need to take responsibility for improving this economy,” he said.
A fresh indicator of the nation’s economic health is to come Friday with the release of new monthly jobs data. On the eve of his 50th birthday, Obama is due to fly to Chicago on Wednesday for fundraisers for his reelection campaign.