President Obama gave a forceful speech and proposal for jobs Sept. 8 before a joint session of Congress. It may well have been a turning point moment in his administration.
Faced with a persistent economic crisis and growing grassroots call for action to address it, the president proposed the $450 billion American Jobs Act.
The American Jobs Act has the potential to unite broad sections of the U.S. public. A bipartisan bill drawn from both Democratic and Republican proposals, Obama’s jobs bill begins to address the unemployment crisis by spending on roads, schools and summer youth jobs, extension of unemployment compensation and tax breaks for businesses.
It is a bill that, as Obama said in his Detroit Labor Day speech, puts the welfare of the country before party.
Because it partially draws on previous Republican proposals, and the bill promises to not add to the deficit, the GOP and its tea party attack dogs will be hard pressed to explain the reason for their unanimous opposition.
Some have argued Obama’s bold job proposal faces dim prospects in the GOP-dominated House of Representatives.
The bill’s chances for passage however depends not so much what happens in Congress, but what occurs outside of it.
The president has called on the American people to join him in calling for the legislation’s passage.
Over the coming weeks, rallies, vigils, flash mobs, letter-writing campaigns, phone banks, even work place job actions directed at Congress will have to occur on an unprecedented scale to demand action in support of the president’s proposal.
The president has called for youth summer jobs program and rebuilding public schools. Young people and students have an important stake in this legislation passage. Their creativity, energy, ideas and fighting spirit will add an essential ingredient.
Millions of signatures have to be gathered in support of the AFL-CIO’s and other jobs petitions.
Last night the president made it clear that he stands four square in favor of jobs, collective bargaining, along with Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Those that favor democracy and equality can do no less.
The call has been made. No excuses. The time to act is now.