President Obama challenges Congress. Last night - the President pitched his much anticipated jobs plan to a joint-session of Congress - calling on Members to immediately pass what he's calling "The American Jobs Act" - a $447 billion proposal - filled mostly with $250 billion worth of tax cuts - with the rest of the money going toward infrastructure spending - aid to states - and an extension of unemployment benefits. The President hammered home the point that these are all proposals that have garnered bipartisan support in the past - and there's no reason why Republicans shouldn't support them this time around.
As for how this bill will be paid for - the President outsourced that decision to the Gang of 12 - calling on them to find an addition $447 billion worth of cuts or revenue raisers in addition to the $1.5 trillion they're already tasked with finding. But the President did say he hopes they looked toward raising revenue from the wealthiest in America - people like Warren Buffett who pay a lower tax rate than his secretary - to cover part of the cost of the jobs bill. He also called for cuts - or in his words "modest adjustments" - to Medicare and Medicaid too. As for the tone - the President was nearly pitch-perfect - and finally showing some of the fight many progressives have been waiting to see.
Now the big question - will Republicans say "Yes"? If they do, they take away the President's ability to play Harry Truman and run against a do-nothing Congress, and the economy will still be in bad shape. If they say "No," they hand Obama a big club to use against them. The worst scenario? They say "yes" to parts of it, he caves in and compromises for a weaker bill, so the economy still sucks next year, but he can no longer run against Congress. This is starting to get interesting.
(What do you think will happen? Tell us here.)