President Obama has challenged Congress to pass a $447 billion package “right away” to get America back to work. Still the president faces an uphill struggle to persuade Republicans to back his plan, equivalent to 322 billion euros, and restore public faith in his economic stewardship.
There is deep unease at the level of unemployment in the US currently running at 9.1 per cent.
Obama wants urgent action: “The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed.
“It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away.”
The plan earmarks $65 billion for small businesses and $85 billion for state and local appointments, such as teachers.
A number of economists believe that, if passed, the American Jobs Act could elevate economic growth by one to three percentage points in 2012, and create one million new jobs.
All hinges on bipartisan cooperation – something hard to come by on Capitol Hill as an election looms.