WAHSINGTON - On a bright, sunny Washington morning, against a picture-perfect background in the Rose Garden, President Obama gave Congress his blueprint to jumpstart the economy and create jobs.
"This is the bill that will put people back to work all across the country," Obama said. "This is the bill that will help our economy in a moment of national crisis."
"This is a bill that is based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans," he added. "And this is the bill that Congress needs to pass."
Standing behind him were teachers, construction workers, police officers and firefighters, all of whom his American Jobs Act promises to help by letting businesses get tax credits for hiring new workers who can't find jobs.
Like post-9/11 veterans whose unemployment rate last year was more than 20 percent.
"The least thing they should have to do is fight for a job when the come back home," Obama said, repeating a line he delivered last Thursday in his joint address to Congress.
The president's base supports his proposals, which includes modernizing schools and America's transportation network.
"That, to me, sounds like a good-old fashioned Republican idea, and it's something that this liberal Democrat can support," Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md., said.
But to pass his plan, Obama must win over skeptical Republicans who see it as nothing more than big government spending.
"Stimulus number one failed. And, I'm very confident that stimulus number two would fail as well," Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., said.
"Those small business owners out there, they need two things: access to capital, and regulatory certainty," Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., said. "And those are two things you really didn't hear him talk about at all."
To build public support, the Democratic National Committee rolled out a new ad Monday.
"The people who hired us to work for them. They don't have the luxury of waiting fourteen months," the ad urges.
Some of the cities where the 30-second spots will be airing include:
- Denver; Tampa and Orlando, Fla.
- Des Moines, Iowa
- Las Vegas
- Manchester, N.H.
- Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.
- Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio
- Norfolk, Richmond and Roanoke, Va.
- Washington, D.C.
Next week, the president said he'll offer another plan that will work to further reduce the deficit to make room for the things the country really needs.