President Obama with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo at SUNY in Albany
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
President Obama announced Tuesday in upstate New York that his springtime “to-do list” to rev the economy and create more jobs amounts to five easy pieces small enough to hand to Congress on a three-by-three-inch piece of adhesive paper.
“It’s about the size of a Post-It note, so every member of Congress will have time to read it,” he said with evident scorn during a speech in Albany at SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering…
The president’s expression suggested he was delighted to tout the “simple ideas” he said Congress could pass right away to help the middle class…a miniature list of ideas that would demonstrate, as he described it, how a gridlocked Congress could “put the economy ahead of politics…”
Obama’s roster of familiar proposals includes legislation to permit struggling mortgage borrowers to refinance their loans at lower interest rates; an extension and expansion of existing tax breaks for clean energy manufacturers; a tax break for small businesses that hire more workers or raise wages in 2012; creation of a Veterans Jobs Corps to employ returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan in various public-sector jobs; and the elimination of tax incentives that permit U.S. companies to deduct the costs of moving jobs overseas.
The president, who deployed his “going forward” campaign slogan in Albany, added two other pending items to his entreaties to Congress: pass the surface transportation reauthorization bill before it expires June 30, and extend reduced student loan interest rates before they double on July 1.
Before Obama could finish speaking, Senate Republicans, objecting to Democrats’ budget offsets for interest revenues, blocked legislation that would have extended the current loan rates. Partisan skirmishing will continue over whether higher taxes on the wealthy or money from a federal health-care fund should be tapped as offsets. Democrats expect Republicans to reach an accord, probably late in June.
“We’re pleased that despite failing to address it in their budget, Republicans in Congress now profess to be concerned about this coming rate hike,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement Tuesday. “But now it’s time for them to stop refighting old political battles and prove they’re serious by proposing a real solution to keep rates low for students without burdening middle class families or undercutting preventive health care for women.”
As I mentioned earlier in the week, Republicans told Leon Panetta to stop worrying about their efforts to pass a military budget larger than his request. They voted that the government could pay for it by cutting food stamps.