The President traveled to Eric Cantor’s district today in Richmond, Virginia, to reiterate his demand to pass the American Jobs Act as a full bill, not in parts. And he asked the assembled crowd to pressure their representatives to get the job done:
I’m asking all of you to lift up your voices, not just here in Richmond — anybody watching, listening, following online, I want you to call, I want to email, I want you to Tweet. I want you to Fax, I want you to visit, I want you to Facebook. Send a carrier pigeon.
I want you to tell your congressperson the time for gridlock and games is over, the time for action is now, the time to create jobs is now. Pass this bill! If you want construction workers on the work site, pass this bill. If you want teachers in the classroom, pass this bill. If you want small business owners to hire new people, pass this bill. If you veterans to get their share of opportunity that they helped create, pass this bill. If you want a tax break, pass this bill.
Prove you will fight as hard for tax cuts for workers and middle-class people as you do for oil companies and rich folks. Pass this bill! Let’s get something done.
In a parallel move, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership called on Republican committee chairs to move the American Jobs Act forward, with ranking members asking for hearings and markups.
I don’t think anyone expects miracles from this. Republicans aren’t even sold on tax cuts at this point. But I’d rather the President ask his followers to call, fax and tweet in support of a plan that will create at least 1.9 million jobs and bring the unemployment rate down a full point, than in support of a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction, like he did during the debt limit deal.
This is, at root, an extension of the job creation measures of the Recovery Act, which clearly faded too fast. It’s not the most liberal deal in the world. It has too many tax cuts. The job training program modeled on GeorgiaWorks is a losing proposition. Because of the depth of the hole, this plan won’t do the entire job of stabilizing the economy. And yet it’s a step, a legitimate step with some useful programs. We could spend money on infrastructure projects, or do nothing and spend more in the future on the same maintenance. We can do nothing and see demand stagnate, or spend now to increase demand and create growth and knock-on effects in the future. And so on.
It’s worth seeing whether the outside game will work in this context. And it’s worth putting energy into passage of the American Jobs Act, while resisting the more misguided efforts to pay for it in the Catfood Commission II.