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.
The cost of the jobs plan would be in addition to the at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts or new revenue that a bipartisan congressional “supercommittee” is tasked with finding to reduce the country’s spiraling deficit. But the administration said it is open to other ways to pay for its proposal. If the committee settles on a plan to reduce the deficit by more than $1.5 trillion, the tax hikes would not necessarily be needed any longer, White House officials said.
Surrounded by workers who he said would benefit from passage of the plan, Obama said his proposal would put construction workers, teachers and veterans back to work while providing tax relief for small businesses.
Republican leaders offered a dual and at times contradictory response: They were eager to work with the president even as they lamented that his proposal would hurt economic growth.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he feared the president’s plan would mean “a massive tax increase at the end of 2012 on job creators that we’re actually counting on to reduce unemployment.”
Armed with polls that show approval ratings for Congress have plummeted even faster and further than the president’s own declining popularity, the GOP greeted Obama’s package of tax cuts and infrastructure spending with an openness largely absent from Washington in recent months.
Republicans have said there is promise in Obama’s proposal to slash payroll taxes for small businesses and employees. They have also applauded advancing free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.