Democrats and Republicans are waging a fierce battle to frame the Senate vote tonight on President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill. In the process, both sides are advancing fundamental arguments on economic issues that will form the basis of their 2012 campaigns.
Sean Spicer, communications director for the Republican National Committee, sent an E-mail to reporters and other "interested parties" this morning making a case for opposing the measure. He argues that the bill would increase the deficit and "would spend half a billion dollars on pet projects in an attempt to create non-existent 'shovel-ready jobs.'"
Spicer says, "The president knows he can't run on his own record--his record of high unemployment, record deficits, and unaccountability. So instead he wants to blame someone else. He's pointing fingers at congressional Republicans, saying they are blocking his Stimulus 2.0. But he's ignoring the truth. Congressional Democrats are not on board with his 'American Jobs Act.' If he wants to blame Congress, he should blame his own party." Spicer adds that, "The American Jobs Act cannot pass the Democrat-controlled Senate." He says at least 16 Democrats are on record as opposing parts of the bill, including Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Bill Nelson of Florida.
On the other side, Obama will campaign in Pennsylvania and Florida today. He hopes to generate last-minute support for the measure at the grass roots, keep the pressure on Casey and Nelson, and bill the GOP as obstructionist.
Also, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod, in an E-mail to supporters and reporters, says the Republicans seem eager to kill the bill in order to protect wealthy special interests. Axelrod asks, "Will they oppose a bill that would create jobs now and that the American people support while standing by their proposals to extend tax cuts for large corporations, millionaires, and billionaries while allowing Wall Street to write its own rules?"
Axelrod goes on to present a series of polling numbers in an effort to persuade balkly Senate Democrats to back the bill. Axelrod cites an ABC/Washington Post poll that finds 52 percent of Americans support the plan, an increase from 43 percent three weeks ago.
Obama's bill would increase spending for school construction and transportation projects such as roads and bridges, cut payroll taxes for some workers and small businesses, and give tax credits to businesses that hire veterans. It also includes a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires.