Obama Pushes Jobs Plan To Jumpstart Hiring
With the country's job creation engine stalled, President Barack Obama hopes to restart hiring again through a number of initiatives contained within the $447 billion American Jobs Act that he outlined last week.
The legislation contains five key components aimed at helping small businesses grow and hire, putting Americans back to work through key infrastructure projects, worker retraining and social security payroll tax cuts.
The president says the plan is fully paid for and wouldn't add to the nation's ballooning $14.7 trillion deficit.
Obama hopes to get the support of Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress. But GOP lawmakers have balked at some of the bill's provisions.
Among more controversial items contained in the plan are $35 billion aimed at modernizing at least 35,000 public schools and $50 billion dedicated to rebuilding the nation's aging roads, bridges and airports.
One particularly strident voice is that of Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader. Speaking during a recent jobs summit, the Virginia Republican referred to such items as "stimulus spending" and asked "Why would we want to go do something like that again," referring to the president's 2009 economic stimulus program.
Republicans have largely labeled that program as failed. But a report last year from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office credited the stimulus package for increasing the number of working Americans by 1.4 million to 3.3 million.
Whether Obama's latest plan can help to create millions of new jobs and help lower the nation's stubbornly high 9 percent unemployment rate will undoubtedly be source of much debate in the coming days and weeks on Capitol Hill.
Many Americans, meanwhile, just want to get back to work again.
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