President Obama challenged Congress’s top two Republican leaders to act on his $447 billion jobs bill from a substandard bridge in the Ohio district represented by House Speaker John Boehner that extends to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.
“Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge,” Obama shouted. “Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work. Pass this jobs bill right away.”
The president’s decision to make his latest jobs bill pitch on the rusty Brent Spence Bridge is part of an ongoing effort to engage the public in the debate and build grassroots support for his proposal. He also is seeking to position himself as a leader who is making every attempt to bridge the differences between himself and congressional Republicans. Democratic lawmakers, who in the past have complained that he has been too concessionary in negotiations with Republicans.
“The Republicans in Congress call this class warfare,” Obama said, referring to their opposition to his proposals for to pay for his jobs bill. “Well you know what? If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as plumber or teacher makes me a warrior for the middle class, I’ll wear that charge as a badge of honor. Because the only class warfare I’ve seen is the battle that’s been waged against the middle class in this country for a decade.”
Indeed, back in Washington, neither Boehner nor McConnell had anything good to say about Obama’s bill or deficit reduction plan.
"At a time when spending is out of control, giving the federal government more money would be like giving a cocaine addict more cocaine," Boehner said during his weekly press conference.
McConnell, in remarks delivered on the Senate floor Thursday, dismissed Obama’s recent trips around the country as “political theater” and accused him of being uninterested in legislative compromise.
“If you’re truly interested in helping our state — if you really want to help our state — then come back to Washington and work with Republicans on legislation that will actually do something to revive our economy and create jobs. And forget the political theater,” McConnell said.
(Photo: Matt Sullivan/GettyImages)