Tuesday, October 4, 2011
By Aman Batheja and Anna M. Tinsley
President Barack Obama told hundreds of community college students in Mesquite that the time for action is now.
He asked students at Eastfield College to reach out to their congressional leaders - by any means possible - and call on them to pass his $450 billion jobs bill.
He said his bill would shrink payroll taxes, spend money on public projects to help keep teachers, firefighters and police officers employed and extend benefits to those who are unemployed and be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes and boosting taxes on some wealthier Americans. "Republicans say they are the party of tax cuts," Obama said. "Tell them to prove it." He said if his bill isn't passed as of Jan. 1, tax cuts currently in place will expire, ensuring that "virtually every worker (will pay more)," he said. "I'm not about to let that happen, Texas." If it does pass, "the typical family in Texas will have an extra $1,400 in their pockets."
Gov. Rick Perry's presidential campaign issued a "welcome to Texas" statement for Obama, suggesting that he follow the state's lessons on how to handle the economy rather than come here to tell Texans what to do. "If President Obama was serious about job creation, he would use the Texas model of low taxes and limited government that has created almost 40 percent of all jobs in America since June 2009," Perry spokesman Mark Miner said. "Billions of dollars in spending is not the answer to turning around the nation's economic troubles created by the president." After Air Force One touched down about 11 a.m. at Dallas' Love Field, the president headed to two private fund raisers in Dallas to try to raise money for his own campaign and for other Democrats. Introducing Obama at one of the luncheons was retired Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
At the fundraisers, the president told donors that Democrats need to recapture the enthusiasm they had during the 2008 presidential campaign. "In 2008, we were running against something," he said. "Now we're running for something. "It won't be as sexy as 2008," he said. "Back then, I didn't have any gray hair ... Now I'm dinged up ... (but) my enthusiasm and my faith in America is unabated." But as he spoke to students at Eastfield College, he said he was stunned that U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va, said this week that the full jobs bill won't go before the House for a vote. "Well I'd like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill he doesn't believe in. Does he not believe in rebuilding America's roads and bridges? Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help veterans?"
Obama said that Cantor should tell unemployed teachers, construction workers and small business owners why the bill shouldn't come up for a vote. "And if you won't do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where every member of Congress stands." Republicans locally and nationally began criticizing the president before his plane landed in North Texas. "Rather than coming to Texas to lecture us on his failed jobs plan, President Obama should try to learn about the low-tax low-regulation policies that actually produce jobs," said Ted Cruz, a candidate for the U.S. Senate. "There's something surreal about a president who has lost 3.4 million private sector jobs since he took office coming to Texas - which has created 40 percent of the jobs in the nation in that time - and telling us he has all the answers." Fellow U.S. Senate candidate Tom Leppert sent out a statement saying Obama doesn't know how to create jobs. "Looking at the sheer dysfunction in Washington, it is clear that career politicians lack the experience and courage necessary to make the tough calls to get our country back on track," Leppert said. "They think by spending more tax dollars, running up massive debt, and growing the federal government, jobs will somehow magically appear. Our economy does not work that way. "This is what we get when we send folks to Washington whose resumes consist of nothing but big political speeches and one political or governmental job after another," he said. "Speeches filled with empty rhetoric and politicians without ideas will not be enough to get the job done."
And Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said the president should be working with Republicans to find a true solution. "President Obama's Stimulus 2.0 isn't a plan to put our country back to work; it's a rehash of the same failed policies from the first stimulus that didn't create jobs and saddled future generations with soaring debt," said Ryan Mahoney, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee. "Showing just how out-of-touch President Obama has become, even Democrats in the Senate have ignored calls to pass his bill because they know it's full of gimmicks and bad policy."