President Obama openly criticized Republicans for blocking the American Jobs Act in his latest stump speech for the bill Tueday in Mesquite, Texas.
Obama singled out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who on Monday said the $447 billion bill will not be brought to the House floor in its entirety.
“Well, I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what in this jobs bill does he not believe in,” Obama said. “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?”
Later in the speech, Obama said: “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 members of Congress stand.”
Obama also invoked a Ronald Reagan quote about how the rich shouldn't pay more in taxes than the rest of the country.
"Last time I checked, Republicans all thought Reagan made some sense," Obama said. He told the audience that when Congressional Republicans said trying to raise taxes on the wealthy was class warfare, they should say, "I'm with Ronald Reagan."
Brad Dayspring, Cantor's communications director, responded by saying: "If House Republicans sent our plan for America's job creators to the president, would he promise not to veto it in its entirety? Would he travel district to district and explain why he'd block such common-sense ideas to create jobs? House Republicans have different ideas on how to grow the economy and create jobs, but that shouldn’t prevent us from trying to find areas of common ground with the president. That is precisely why Majority Leader Cantor has given his word to the president that the House will pass portions of his jobs bill in the next month. President Obama needs to understand that his ‘my way or the highway’ approach simply isn’t going to work in the House or the Democratic Senate, especially in light of his abysmal record on jobs."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday that the president will sign provisions from the American Jobs Act "piece by piece" if it comes to him in this form, but would continue to push Congress to pass the entire bill.
This article appears in the October 4, 2011, edition of National Journal Daily PM Update.