The sequence of event suggests that despite the recent pledges of greater bipartisanship, many of the fiscal and economic stumbling blocks that have left Washington gridlocked in recent months remain firmly in place.
At a Rose Garden ceremony to promote the bill before he formally sent it to Congress, the president urged the public to pressure lawmakers to quickly approve the package.
“This is the bill that Congress needs to pass,” Obama said. “No games. No politics. No delays.”
There was little delay in the GOP response, even if it was relatively measured.
“We remain eager to work together on ways to support job growth, but this proposal doesn’t appear to have been offered in that bipartisan spirit,” said Michael Steel, chief spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).
The White House said Congress should pay for the jobs plan by imposing new limits on itemized deductions for individuals who earn more than $200,000 a year and families earning more than $250,000.
Eliminating those deductions would bring in an additional $400 billion in revenue, aides said. The administration also recommended ending subsidies for oil and gas companies and changing the depreciation rules for corporate airplanes.
Altogether, White House aides said the tax package would raise $467 billion, more than enough to pay for the new jobs bill.
Congressional Republicans and Democrats have already begun to spar over the proposed legislation and tax increases. As 2chambers blogger Felicia Somnez explained:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had some sharp criticism Tuesday morning for President Obama’s jobs package – and the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), in turn had some strong words for McConnell.
The common thread in both of their responses? Each side accused the other of playing politics instead of working in earnest to jump-start the economy.
In a scathing address on the Senate floor, McConnell charged that “what the president’s proposed so far is not serious, and it’s not a jobs plan.”
“The specifics we got yesterday (on the Obama proposal) only reinforce the impression that this was largely a political exercise,” McConnell said. “For one, they undermine the president’s claim that it’s a bipartisan proposal -- because much of what he’s proposing has already been rejected on a bipartisan basis. The half-trillion-dollar tax hike the White House proposed yesterday will not only face a tough road in Congress among Republicans, but from Democrats too.”