President Obama stopped by a Washington sandwich shop Wednesday to pick up some hoagies for a lunch with Capitol Hill leaders at the White House — and to make his latest pitch for Congress to support his economic agenda.
Obama chose Taylor Gourmet, at 14th and T Streets NW, to tout his five-point “to-do list” for Congress, a series of economic initiatives aimed at boosting small businesses and allowing homeowners to refinance at lower interest rates.
Though the president has been pushing the proposals on the list for months, they have met with resistance among Republicans, and Obama has tried to use Congress as a foil to highlight his administration’s efforts to stimulate growth.
At the deli, Obama tried out the pitch he plans to make at lunch Wednesday with House Speaker John Boehner and other Capitol Hill leaders at the White House.
“My message to Congress . . .is let’s go ahead and act to help build and sustain momentum for our economy,” Obama told reporters before ordering his sandwiches. “There will be more than enough time for us to campaign and politic, but let’s not lose steam at a time when folks like these feel optimistic and ready to go.”
At the deli, Obama held a roundtable with Small Business Administrator Karen Mills and the owners of three small businesses: Casey Patten and David Mazza of Taylor Gourmet, Brian J. Smith, founding principal of the Francis Lee Contracting construction firm, and Kathy Rachels, president of Yes! Organic Markets.
The president highlighted one of the proposals on his to-do list: offering a 10 percent income tax credit to firms that create new jobs or increase wages in 2012.
“That gives them an incentive, as they’re expanding, to say, ‘Maybe we hire an extra two people, maybe we hire an extra three people, maybe we hire an extra 10 people’,” Obama said. “That way, they will have additional resources to continue to grow and expand. That’s something that in the past has been an idea that has garnered support from Democrats and Republicans, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t act on that right now.”
But Boehner said the president is focused on the wrong priorities at a time when Republicans are calling for deep spending cuts to tame a mounting federal debt burden.
“Where’s the president’s plans to tackle our looming debt crisis?” Boehner asked. “Where’s the president’s plan to tackle the largest tax increase in American history that will occur on Jan. 1? Where’s the president’s plan to replace the indiscriminate cuts to our military which will devastate their ability to keep America secure? It’s time to deal with the big issues that are affecting our country and our society. We’ve spent enough time playing small ball.”
According to the press pool report, Obama ordered a 12-inch Spruce Street hoagie, which has roast turkey, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and sharp provolone. It remained unclear what he picked up for his Congressional lunch mates, but the tab totaled $62.79.