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Obama Jobs Speech: President Outlines Economic Plan (LIVE UPDATES)

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President Barack Obama is delivering a speech to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night to outline a new plan from his administration to create jobs.

With the nation's unemployment rate at 9.1 percent, the president will make his case on how his proposal aims to get Americans back to work. Details on the reported roughly $450 billion package began surfacing earlier this week.

Two new polls released on Tuesday show the president's approval rating, as well as that of congressional Republicans, at an all-time low. The surveys also delivered bad news to Obama on how the public specifically views his handling of the economy and jobs.

Below, a live blog of the latest news on Obama's jobs plan and speech.

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Eric Cantor responded to President Obama's jobs speech in a series of television appearances Thursday night. His office released the following statement:

On Coming Together And Producing Results: “As the President said, people are really hurting out there. It's time for Washington to come together and produce results. It seemed that the President was delivering the message that Congress should take up and pass his jobs bill, all or nothing and if that didn't happen, he would seek to hold us accountable. I don't think that's the right approach. What we should do is go for the things in the package that we both can agree on. I did hear some things, like small business tax relief, reducing red tape, working to try and streamline the infrastructure spending in this country, and looking to reform the unemployment benefits program to get people back to work. These are the kinds of things that can produce results, help clean up the system, and we could do these right away. I'm hoping to peel some of these out of the package, to put them on the floor, to see what we can get done as soon as possible to produce results for the people who so desperately need to see Washington get back to work.” CNBC

On Creating An Environment For Job Creation: “Republicans don’t believe in raising taxes on anybody. We also know right now the imperative is growth, and anything that can provide incentives for entrepreneurs to put capital to work is what we would embrace. As far as the payroll tax holiday on the employee side, it was a provision in the agreement that passed last December, along with the extension of the existing marginal rates, capital gains rates, etcetera, it is something that certainly will be part of the discussions going forward. I think the priority should be getting people back to work and how we can create an environment for job creation.” Bloomberg

On Providing Tax Relief For Small Businesses: “In the area of small business tax relief, we know and the President recognizes that it is the small businesses that are struggling the most. We also know that the small businesses are the job engines of our economy. They're the ones that we need so desperately to get back into the game. We need entrepreneurs to put capital to work again, and any incentive that we can provide these small businessmen and women through tax relief we should go ahead and do that as quickly as possible.” CBS

On Streamlining Infrastructure Spending: “We agree that we ought to be looking at infrastructure spending. Our ideas on the table have to do with trying to fix the current system to free up states and give them flexibility with the monies they do have. We also know there's a significant portion of the stimulus package that has not been spent yet. If the monies that Congress put forward in the stimulus package have not been spent, something is wrong with the system. Our ideas are to try and streamline the system, and the permitting process to try and give some relief to the states, to give them flexibility to fulfill their mission and their needs. There's a lot of area for progress there before we go start spending hundreds of billions of dollars more. We have to be smart about it.” CNBC

On Reforming Unemployment Benefits: “One of the things that we Republicans put forward back in December of 2009 was reforming the unemployment benefit program in this country, and specifically we pointed to the program in the state of Georgia called Georgia Works. The President mentioned that tonight, again that is an area of commonality, something that we should be able to get to work on right away, because we agree that it is important to reform the system so that the goal of getting people back to work is realized.” Bloomberg

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Disgraced former Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), who resigned from Congress in July amid allegations that he had an unwanted sexual encounter with an 18-year-old woman, made a surprise appearance on the House floor Thursday night.

The Hill reports:

Wu was accompanied by a young girl who appeared to be a relative.

His former Democratic colleagues kept their distance, keeping several seats away from him in the minutes before the speech when most took the time to mingle or position themselves to shake the president’s hand.

Wu appeared delighted to be back in the chamber and took care to point out the sights to his young charge.

Read more here.

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HuffPost's Dave Jamieson reports:

President Barack Obama staked his presidency on a 7 billion jobs plan presented to Congress Thursday night, and a surprisingly large chunk of that plan -- some billion -- is devoted to payroll tax cuts for employers.

When it comes to creating an economic turnaround, however, those generous cuts may well be the weakest ingredient in the pot. They may be easier to sell to business-friendly Republicans, but according to some economists, such employer tax breaks tend to offer significantly less value than, say, infrastructure spending or unemployment benefits.

Click here to read more.

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HuffPost's Zach Carter reports:

In his jobs speech before Congress Thursday night, President Barack Obama appeared to call on congressional Democrats to cut Medicare, a politically toxic proposal that undercuts a previous Democratic campaign strategy.

Obama pushed to cut Medicare during the debate over raising the federal debt ceiling, urging lawmakers from both parties to accept a "grand bargain" that involved cutting both Social Security and Medicare. Obama's move upset congressional Democrats, who saw a proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to radically cut Medicare as an attack ad opening going into the Nov. 2012 elections. House Republicans voted for the Ryan proposal en masse, just months after hordes of GOP freshmen were swept into office amid advertisements vowing to protect the hugely popular entitlement program.

Click here to read more.

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@ SenatorReid : Americans are looking at us for leadership, and I hope Rs join Ds in passing the President’s bi-partisan #jobs plan asap

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@ EricCantor : President's speech had policies that both sides can work on: unemployment insurance reform, small biz tax relief, streamlining regulations

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HuffPost's Sam Stein reports:

There was no mention as to how many jobs the president believed his proposal would create. At a briefing before the speech, senior administration officials declined to make such an estimate as well.

Read more here.

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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) released the following statement in response to President Obama's jobs speech:

American families and small businesses are hurting, and they are looking for the White House and Congress to seek common ground and work together to help get our economy back on track. Republicans have laid out a blueprint for economic growth and job creation -- our Plan for America’s Job Creators -- that focuses on one thing: removing government barriers to private-sector job growth.

The proposals the President outlined tonight merit consideration. We hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well. It’s my hope that we can work together to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth and private-sector job creation.

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@ EricCantor : There are certainly goals the President outlined that we can work with him on. We should work quickly to pass the areas where we agree.

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Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) issued the following statement on Obama's jobs plan:

Every day that the economy is stalled is another day that the American people are hurting and another day that the deficit is growing. The quickest, most effective way to reduce the deficit in the short-term is to put people back to work and kick start our economic recovery. And tonight, President Obama laid out a clear path to achieve that goal with the American Jobs Act.

This package will make critical investments in infrastructure that will allow hard-working men and women to rebuild our roads, bridges, and schools, and provide important relief for states so they can keep teachers in the classroom and cops on the beat. It will cut taxes for small businesses to help them hire people and put more money in the pockets of American families. And it does this in a way that does not add a dime to our deficit.  

President Obama has put forward a plan based on bipartisan ideas, and I hope it receives bipartisan support in the Congress. We must unite to put America back to work, to get our fiscal house in order, and to ensure a brighter future for our children and our country.

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@ rickklein : Boehner statement: "The proposals the President outlined tonight merit consideration."

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"We are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work."

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"You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country."

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"I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan – or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.

But know this: the next election is fourteen months away. And the people who sent us here – the people who hired us to work for them -- they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months. Some of them are living week to week; paycheck to paycheck; even day to day. They need help, and they need it now."

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President Obama's jobs plan includes a ban on discrimination against the jobless, according to a briefing document provided to reporters. "The President's plan calls for legislation that would make it unlawful to refuse to hire applicants solely because they are unemployed or to include in a job posting a provision that unemployed persons will not be considered."

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Obama gives a nod to organized labor in the speech, saying, during the portion of his remarks that deal with regulatory reform: "I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy."

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"This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math."

Obama apparently gets boos on this line.

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"We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share. And I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that, if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order."

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"We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it."

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@ rickklein : sounds like the Super-Committee just saw their jobs get 0 billion or so harder

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"The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about trillion over the next ten years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional .5 trillion in savings by Christmas.

'Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan -- a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run."

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'I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away.'

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'We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work. This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted....'

Read all about the plan here.

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'While they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop.'

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Obama: 'No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere.'

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@ samsteinhp : obama bill will be sent to Congress next week as a single piece of legislation

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HuffPost's Sam Stein reports:

Hoping to stem the tide of poor economic news and boost his falling poll numbers, President Barack Obama will propose a 7 billion jobs plan to Congress on Thursday evening.

Titled the American Jobs Act, the proposal includes more than 0 billion in tax incentives for small businesses and employers, according to administration estimates. The rest of the money would be devoted to infrastructure spending, state aid, unemployment insurance, and neighborhood rehabilitation. The president will pay for the proposal by asking the congressional super committee tasked with finding .5 trillion in deficit reduction to offset the cost of the package in their proposal.

Read Obama's full remarks here.

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"Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country...."

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@ markknoller : WH official says Pres Obama today phoned Speaker Boehner and Senate GOP Ldr McConnelll to pitch rapid passage of his jobs plan.

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HuffPost's Arthur Delaney reports:

President Obama will announce Thursday evening a plan to put the long-term jobless back to work by encouraging states to adopt "Bridge to Work" programs that would let businesses try out workers without having to pay them, an administration official told HuffPost on Thursday.

The scheme, which would only be open to workers receiving federal unemployment benefits, would be modeled mainly on a Georgia program designed to reduce hiring costs and make it easier for the jobless to get back to work. The program, called Georgia Works, is voluntary for workers and employers and allows businesses to train workers for eight weeks with no obligation to pay or hire.

Read more here.

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