5 Key Points From President Obama's American Jobs Bill Speech

obama american jobs bill speech On Thursday evening, an impassioned Barack Obama addressed the U.S. Congress to deliver a speech presenting his American Jobs Bill. Long awaited by Americans, the bill aims to simply help America get back to work. National unemployment stands at 9.1 percent, and the monthly figure hasn't been below 8.8 percent since President Obama took office in 2009. As the president begins to take seriously his reelection, the polls are increasingly telling him that jobs and economy are the most important issues on the minds of Americans. President Obama has been criticized on both sides of the aisle for allowing a raft of issues to dominate the national agenda, from health care to the raising of the debt ceiling, while Americans continue their search for work.

His speech, and the bill it announced was his effort to change the narrative. Barack Obama must convince Americans their employment is as important to him as it is to them. "Pass this jobs bill," he repeatedly implored the 112th Congress. He says his bill, if passed, would cost $447 billion dollars, and that it would pay for itself based on the summer's long-term spending cuts deal. He added that in the coming weeks, he would outline further deficit reduction plans. But in the immediate aftermath of the speech, analysts were already saying that they expect congressional dealmaking to settle on a smaller package once a jobs plan became law. Below are five key points from the speech.


1. Cut Payroll Taxes

Topping the president's jobs initiative is a payroll tax cut. The plan is to expand cuts worth $240 billion so that workers could expect to see their share halved through 2012. This provision would also cut the payroll tax in half to 3.1 percent for employers, on the first $5 million in wages. The president returned to the theme of restoring taxes from before the administration of George W. Bush for the wealthiest Americans, to offset any loss of revenue.


2. Transportation Infrastructure

The fact that America has fallen behind Asian giants like China in an area that it once dominated -- think interstate highway system -- has become a national embarrassment. Infrastructure presents another opportunity for Obama -- a chance to get Americans working on the country's myriad eyesores. Among the possibilities that Obama alluded to was modernizing America's railroads and, indeed, high-speed rail plans have been a pet project of Vice President Joe Biden. In total, the president aims to spend $50 billion on immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation. Another $10 billion will be spent on an infrastructure bank. Such spending runs the risk of drawing serious opposition from Republicans, who will view such projects as further stimulus that's unlikely to help.


3. School Infrastructure

Obama also pledged to put Americans to work on construction projects at some 35,000 dilapidated schools. Similar ideas have been batted around in the U.S. Congress, and plans have been put forward by Congresswoman Jan Schakowky (D-Ill.), among others. Obama's version aims to invest $25 billion in school infrastructure. The president also specified the need to rehire teachers who have been laid off, and will look to offer up $35 billion to help protect 280,000 teachers. The president put it bluntly: "How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart?"


4. Get Veterans Hired

The president suggested that the country's greatest embarrassment is the unemployment rate of U.S. veterans. The rate for vets below the age of 30 hovers around 24 percent, and that rate could even grow. Currently, there are 2 million veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns back home. But once those missions fully draw down, that number could easily double, reports say. These veterans often come back without full educations, and severely traumatized. The so-called Returning Heroes tax credit will set aside $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage the hiring of unemployed veterans.


Obama's Job Plan Is...
Right on track462 (26.6%)
Getting closer598 (34.4%)
Off the rails679 (39.0%)

5. Tax Credit for Hiring Long-Term Unemployed

There are some 6.2 million Americans who have been out of work for more than six months. Their ongoing plight has been one of the defining aspects of the Great Recession, and President Obama pitched a plan to give companies a $4,000 tax credit for hiring from this group of 5 million Americans. The president also called on Congress to extend unemployment insurance for those who have seen theirs expire.

Next: Obama's Best Jobs Plan Might Be Status Quo


Obama to Congress: 'Pass This Jobs Bill'



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Dan Fastenberg

Dan Fastenberg

Associate Editor

Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.

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chuck

the biggest problem with the employment situation in amerca, is that all these illegal immigrants from mexico are coming in here and taking all the jobs. they are also getting free medicare. i say send them all back to mexico, thus creating openings for a lot of people who are having problems with getting a job. if u ddon't believeit, check out golden corral restaurants, they hire nothing but mexicans

October 03 2011 at 7:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
watWudUdo

Mr. President, put your J.O.B. on the line. Announce you won't seek re-election 2012 if your
jobs bill doesn't work. Put the office on the line. It's only fair.

September 10 2011 at 7:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eugenbol

A great speech at least he trying to do something.

September 10 2011 at 1:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rod

Our house is full of KOCH-A-ROACHES, we have to get rid of these little buggers before anything sane will happen. Put them back in the box, the ballot box, so we can get rid of them in '12

September 09 2011 at 8:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John

PASS THE BULL !

September 09 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
invmartyc

The GOP does not like it that it does not include any tax cuts for the rich!

Leave no billionaire behind-Vote GOP 2012

September 09 2011 at 5:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to invmartyc's comment
Welcome MSGT

He cut payroll tax in half up to the first 5 million. To me that is quite rich. I am just short of that by this much. $4,999,999,99.

September 10 2011 at 7:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Thamra

Great news we are still getting screwed after all the promises. My social security check is getting smaller even though I have been getting the same amount for a couple years now. I wonder if our top officials are experiencing the same problem ? Yeah right !

September 09 2011 at 5:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Thamra's comment
mpusairsret

All this talk of taxing the rich and the wage cap on Social Security remains?

September 09 2011 at 5:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Susan

The words 'encourage hiring' does NOT mean anything -- Big Business could and probably will just put the saved tax dollars back into their own pockets. If you really want to increase jobs, you have make it mandatory that IF the businesses get this tax break that it follows that they MUST hire so many new employees.

The above would REQUIRE SOME WORK to implement -- in the meantime, I agree with sickntired, we need to end outsourcing jobs, business and also not hire foreign individuals and sometimes we even help set them in housing, etc. to take away more American jobs. If American BIG Business continues to take jobs and companies to other nations, we also need to heavily tax them and make it very unbearable so that they will decide to develop companies in the USA again. And lastly, we need to let these overseas corporations fail and NOT provide any safety nets -- then these investors and other big business entrepreneurs would think twice about making big investments in American foreign based companies -- I say let China, India, Mexico and South America confiscate these companies. Just let it happen -- it will happen eventually anyway, I say the sooner the better.

Do that and we lose Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, Medicare and Disability -- a large portion of our nation would starve.

What we really need to do is to be a little creative and discriminate in terms which corporations get the tax breaks and which do not. We need to be case specific, if a corporation hires a certain number of people, then it gets a tax break or if a corporation does not hire many new people, that corporation does not get a tax break. This could also be a prorated tax break depending of the number of new employees hired. The size of the corporation may also need to be taken into consideration. Yes, this would require some work but it would be worth it, don't you think to have most of America working again???

September 09 2011 at 5:12 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Rich Johnson

Stop sending all our jobs to other countries and we will be fine. Obama gives a fine speech but is very poor in acting to help the American public. What country is coming to our aid in our time of need? We give aid to all countries when there is a disaster but we do not receive one thin dime when we have a disaster. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

September 09 2011 at 5:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rich Johnson's comment
Welcome MSGT

All these ideas are valid, but there is one missing Obamacare. No company knows how much Obamacare is going to cost them. I am not going to hire someone until I know exactly what I have to pay for Obamacare. If it's to much I will lay them off and we are back to zero The health system needs revamped, but not with Obamacare. Start with tort reform. Some Dr's pay more than a $100,000.00 a year for malpractice insurance. You and I pay for those primiums for them. Then every time they turn around a lawyer is sueing them.

September 10 2011 at 7:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cdavecrz

This will be another in your face tax payer,,, unions will suck up the money,,, state city and fed,,, thousands stand to be laid off as revenues for all governments falls off,,,, who got paid last time? what did the states do with the money? now who still needs more money??? will obama ever see the light? borrowed government money does not create permanent jobs,,,, and it solves no problems,,, we have to cut spending,, and quit borrowing,,, let business go,,, put tarrifs on other countries goods,,, seal the border,,, and bring our troops home. Thats a start at cleaning up our own house first,,,,,

September 09 2011 at 5:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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