Obama Challenges Congress on Jobs Package

Economic Stimulus PlanRepublican PartyBarack Obama

President Barack Obama challenged Congress on Thursday to enact a $447 billion package of tax cuts and new spending to revive a stalled job market but he faces an uphill fight with Republicans.

With his poll numbers at new lows amid public frustration with 9.1 percent unemployment, Obama called for urgent action on a broad set of proposals he laid out just 14 months before voters decide whether to give him a second term.

"You should pass this jobs plan right away," he said in a forceful tone in the televised speech to a rare joint session of Congress.

"The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy," Obama said, taking a swipe at Republicans who have consistently opposed his initiatives.

Obama, who pushed through an $800 billion economic stimulus package in 2009, said his new plan would cut taxes for workers and businesses and put more construction workers and teachers on the job through infrastructure projects.

FOX 4's John Holt and former Democratic Missouri House Rep. Jason Grill watched Thursday night's speech. Grill says that the speech at times resembled a State of the Union address, but despite the pressure Obama put on Congress to pass his job plan there likely won't be an up-or-down vote on the measure.

"At the end of the day I don't think all of it gets passed," said Grill. "You have campaigns, egos, personalities, and you know it is an election year. I wish it wasn't. We all wish we could pass all thes things and not raise taxes and fix our roads and compete with China. But the devil is in the details and we'll see what happens."

Obama promised to unveil details about his jobs plan next week.

(Reuters contributed to this report.)

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