With U.S. job creation a paramount concern for voters, President Barack Obama is hoping that Republicans will feel the pressure from their constituents to approve his newly unveiled American Jobs Act.
The virulent pushback Obama faced during the debt ceiling negotiations has been replaced by a more conciliatory tone, with Republican leadership expressing support for elements of the plan, including tax relief for small businesses and freed-up infrastucture funding. Some of that goodwill evaporated when White House Office of Management and Budget Director revealed that Obama planned to pay for the $447 billion package by raising taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses.
Such tax increases are anathema to Republicans, and similar proposals caused various bargains proposed by Obama during the debt ceiling talks to collapse. The GOP has already registered its disapproval this time around, with a spokesman for Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, telling Reuters that a tax increase on job creators undercut the bipartisan spirit supposedly underlying the push for job creation.
Obama Stance: It's Time for Shared Sacrifice
But Obama has telegraphed his response to that position in speeches by drawing a distinction between a payroll tax cut for middle class Americans -- a central piece of his jobs bill -- and Republican insistence on preserving current tax rates for the highest earning Americans. He has gone on the offensive, endlessly invoking the phrase pass this bill while exhorting shared sacrifice.
Some people have been working pretty hard to keep tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, they need to fight as hard -- they need to fight even harder for middle class families, Obama said during a Tuesday speech touting his plan in Columbus, Ohio.
That could put Republicans in an uncomfortable position if they oppose a plan that would give Americans an average of $1,500 a year in tax relief and that several firms project would generate over a million jobs. Obama's approval rating continues to slide, but Congress' standing in the eyes of voters plummeted after the debt ceiling debate.
The White House is counting on that dynamic, according to The Hill, and on the GOP's desire to rehabilitate its image and demonstrate its commitment to swift action on jobs. But Obama could be unsuccessful if the jobs bill is branded as another iteration of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which many voters view as expensive and ineffective.
In a state like New Hampshire, I think there's a general belief that a trillion-dollar stimulus and everything else that the president proposed hasn't had any significant discernible impact, Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., told Politico. I am not hearing any great groundswell of support. I think people really like the president as a leader and an individual, [but] the impact of the jobs bill has been, 'Where is the beef?'