Obama urges no 'political games' on jobs plan

US president pushes congress to pass his $447bn jobs bill with "no games, no politics, no delays" to revive economy.

    Barack Obama, the US president, has called on Republicans not to play "political games" with his
    jobs plan as he pressed for swift passage of a $447bn package he hopes will revive the US economy and boost his re-election prospects.

    Four days after challenging the US Congress to act in a televised address, Obama stepped up his campaign to sell his proposals to American voters as he prepared to send the jobs bill to lawmakers later on Monday.

    "This is a bill that is based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans, and this is a bill that Congress needs to pass, no games, no politics, no delays," Obama said in an appearance in the White House Rose Garden.

    The president, who pushed through an $800bn economic stimulus package in 2009, will see his re-election chances hinging heavily on his ability to reduce stubbornly high unemployment above 9 per cent.

    Republican 'vision'

    Top Republicans have said they are open to some aspects of the Obama jobs plan but are not convinced the infrastructure and other stimulus spending is a good idea, given it would further swell budget deficits in the near-term.

    They have resisted the White House suggestion that the jobs plan would be "paid for" with longer-term deficit cuts, saying it is important to make fiscal health a priority now and not push it forward for future generations to grapple with.

    "It is my hope that we will be able to work together to put in place the best ideas of both parties and help put Americans back to work," John Boehner, Republican speaker of the House of Representatives.

    Boehner said his party has a "different vision" from Obama on job creation and that the president's ideas will require "careful examination" in light of what Republicans see as wasteful spending in previous stimulus plans.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Gregg Rosen, president of the American 99ers Union, a coalition of groups and individuals who advocate for long-term unemployed Americans, says that efforts to tackle high unemployment levels are being undermined by difference between democrats and republicans.

    "I think sadly what we are dealing with is partisan politics at its finest. You have a republican party that basically said at the beginning of this year that their main goal is to make sure that Obama was a one term president. It is very difficult to try and pass any type of bill that is going to make the president or his administration shine."

     
    'National crisis'

    Obama sought to keep up the pressure.

    "This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country. This is a bill that will help our economy
    in a moment of national crisis," Obama said, flanked by teachers, police officers, construction workers and small business owners he said would be helped by his plan.

    He took aim at Republicans who have resisted many of his economic initiatives in the past.

    "We can't afford these same political games, not now," Obama said.

    Cooperation could be hard to find in Washington's climate of dysfunction where a feud over the government's debt levels this summer brought the country to the brink of default and led to an unprecedented US credit downgrade.

    But Republicans, while not wanting to give Obama any help before the November 2012 election, may have to cede some ground to help boost the economy or risk a voter backlash.

    Obama will take his jobs message on the road again this week to build support for his ideas in battleground states.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and Agencies


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