Obama adm. pushes jobs bill; GOP: Shelve health plan
By John Amick and T. Rees Shapiro
CNN: STATE OF THE UNION - Gibbs hopeful for Senate jobs bill
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged that while job creation in the first year of the Obama administration has not reached expectations, he is hopeful that the Senate will move forward on a jobs bill to mark an "important first step" in the new year.
Gibbs tentatively predicted that the package will cost in the range of $100 billion, and hoped the bill would become an important signal of bipartisan cooperation following President Obama's State of the Union address, which called for a new level of comity in Washington.
"Economic growth will eventually lead to job growth, and that's what we always wanted to see through the Recovery Act," Gibbs said. "But obviously, we are not creating the jobs that we would like to, and I think that some additional recovery and stimulus spending is important in order to, again, create an environment where small businesses and large, alike, can hire more workers."
In a separate segment on CNN, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said his party would review the jobs bill proposal, but on partisanship, he blamed Obama for choosing to "go really hard left" and imperiling any bipartisan consensus.
Asked whether health-care reform is likely to move forward after a stall in recent weeks, Gibbs believes reform is still in the works. He said the administration hopes, like the jobs bill, some Republican support can push reform along in an atmosphere where deals will not hinge on full agreement of legislation, but rather compromise and give-and-take.
"I think one of the messages that he had was, we may not agree on every single thing, every single word in a piece of legislation, but you can find things that are important for you and make sense for you," Gibbs said. "There are things that are important for me and make sense for me. That's what legislating and governing is all about."
McConnell again called for the health reform process to completley start anew and alleviate taxes and small businesses in the process.
"If you're a business now and you're trying to figure out what the future is; you're looking at health care taxes; you're looking at capital gain taxes going up, dividend taxes going up; if you're a small business and pay taxes as an individual taxpayer, your taxes are going up," McConnell said, hoping Obama would not let the Bush tax cuts expire this year.
Gibbs lamented the defeat in the Senate of a proposal to create a bipartisan commission to examine ways to reduce budget deficits, and he wondered why seven Republican co-sponsors of prior legislation similar to the proposal that was voted down changed their votes last week after President Obama voiced support for it.
"If it was an idea that you liked four weeks ago, but you are voting against it because it actually could become law, are you doing it because you just want to obstruct what this president is trying to do and what the American people want to do?" Gibbs asked.
McConnell answered, saying another commission proposal was preferred.
"The Conrad-Gregg commission was not the only commission proposed the other day," he said. "We also had a spending reduction commission, the same kind of mechanism, but targeted at getting spending down."
FOX NEWS SUNDAY - GOP: New York KSM trial a bad idea
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) "took the president's speech as a hopeful sign we are heading in the right direction," despite the fact that many Republicans in Congress are not as certain.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said President Obama is "in the right church but sitting in the wrong pew," about his fiscal policy and believes it is not wise for the government to keep using TARP money to fund spending efforts to stimulate the economy. But Republican favored tax cuts are not the answer either, said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (R-Md.).
In light of the recent close call of attempted Christmas day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said the Justice Department should make no concessions to terrorists that would possibly further jeopardize domestic security.
"We shouldn't be mirandizing terrorists," Ryan said, also noting that setting the trial for suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in downtown Manhattan instead of holding a military commission trial would only be giving the alleged terrorist a grander propaganda platform.
Bayh agreed, saying the plan to set the trial in New York sounded good in theory but was not practical logistically.
As for Attorney General Holder's first year of performance, Ryan was not convinced he was the right man for the job.
"I would not have hired him in the first place," Ryan said. But he said that deciding if Holder should be replaced would be "up to the president."
ABC: THIS WEEK - Brown advocates a big tent GOP
Fresh off an election victory in Massachusetts, Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown advocated a big tent outlook for the GOP when asked whether his party should move in a more moderate direction.
"They can do whatever they want," he said of other Republicans. "I just know that I'm a Scott Brown Republican. What does that mean? That means I'm going to go down there and be accountable, accessible, open, and honest, and I'm going to bring good government and fairness back to the equation."
Brown said his win in a solidly-Democratic state, along with the interest in the Q&A session President Obama and House Republicans had on Friday, is proof that voters want more transparency and less backroom dealing.
"What it means is that now there will be full and fair debate," Brown said of his 41st Republican vote in the Senate that erased a Democratic supermajority. "And there will be no more behind-closed-doors actions."
Brown, a socially moderate Republican in an age where the national party is nearly unified on opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage, said states should be allowed to make their own decisions on marriage rights. He said while he is pro-choice, he is against partial- birth abortions, federal funding of abortions and believes in strong parental consent notification laws.
"I feel this issue is best handled between a woman and her doctor and her family," he said.
Brown said he supports the idea of a bipartisan budget commission to make deficit recommendations to Congress, a move Senate Republicans largely objected to in a vote earlier in the week. He said he supports Obama's stated intention to go around the Senate vote and set up a commission by executive order.
Despite the similarities in the Massachusetts state health plan, which Brown supported when passed in 2006, and the U.S. Senate's current health reform plan, Brown said he advocates a restart for the plan.
"I think it was on its last legs before I even got elected, because the Democrats even were upset at the backroom deals, for example, in Nebraska," he said, saying the Massachusetts plan was a "free market" plan as opposed to the Senate's "one-size-fits-all government plan."
Of Obama's State of the Union speech, Brown said he was encouraged by the president's proposal to freeze some discretionary spending, as well as the president's escalation of war in Afghanistan, his interest in fostering nuclear power and pointing out Iran is a "very serious issue."
Brown said he would have supported the renomination of Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, and he would advocate the continued term of Treasury secretary Tim Geithner if Obama feels comfortable with him.
On the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that excludes open homosexuals from serving in the U.S. military, Brown said he would have to "wait to speak to the generals on the ground" before voicing support.
Brown also said he believes former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is qualified for the presidency, pointing to her experience as a mayor and governor. As for his own presidential prospects in 2012?
"I don't even have a business card," Brown answered. "I haven't even been sworn in. I don't have any exploratory committees started. I don't have anything ... it's overwhelming, and it's extremely humbling."
CBS: FACE THE NATION - Governors look for job relief
Three state governors, along with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D), voiced support for a jobs in bill in the Senate, but how to enact such a proposal diverged along party lines.
"If you ask people, whether they're in Pennsylvania or Mississippi or South Dakota, what their priority is, if you have to ask them, is it jobs or the deficit, I think they'd say both are important," said Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (D). "The deficit's important. But jobs are urgent."
Thune said this administration has ignored legitimate job creation and, instead, focused on health reform.
"Many of the proposals the administration has put forward are jobs killers," the senator said. "They have taken an agenda to the left. And I think what you saw in Massachusetts and Virginia and New Jersey was the American people saying, we don't like this hard shift to the left."
Thune said he does not support using TARP money to bay for such a jobs bill. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) countered, saying these stipulations of the GOP doesn't help combat the job loss numbers in America.
"John, I think that's the weakness of your position," Rendell said. "Everyone is for a jobs bill but nobody wants to pay for it. Governor Granholm is right. Right now we need a jobs bill. And you guys in Washington should pass it in the next four weeks."
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts was proof that the Republican Party is a big tent party and should embrace moderates and Tea Partiers alike.
"I also see them as our allies," Barbour said of the Tea Party faction. "I think we as Republicans need to make sure they understand that we see them as our allies, that they're welcome in our party."
NBC: MEET THE PRESS - Axelrod: No presidential decision on KSM trial relocation yet
Obama adviser David Axelrod said there has been no decision within the administration regarding the relocation of the trial of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Axelrod noted that just a few years ago the same Republicans who are disputing having the trial in the Manhattan-based federal court were not as outspoken about trying suspected terrorists in civilian courts during the Bush administration.
Axelrod said Obama is concerned about the Supreme Court's recent decision on campaign financing and its implications for future elections. Axelrod said it's now "open season," for special interests and big corporations to bring "all their might, and all their money" into the electoral process, including those owned by foreign entities.
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said having the president at their Baltimore summit made for a "very good afternoon," but that between Republicans and Obama "there aren't that many places where we can come together."
Boehner said the American people of Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts have spoken out against Obama's "leftist proposals." While Republicans would be more than willing to stand tall beside the president on decisions where they do agree, including the Afghan troop surge, Boehner said, "We are not going to put the government in charge of people's health care."
But with so many empty promises, including to close Guantanamo and to pass comprehensive health-care reform, Boehner said the majority party Democrats "can't blame us for their inability to govern."
C-SPAN: NEWSMAKERS - Dorgan says financial reform imperative
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) said that "the government doesn't create jobs by and large" and economic growth begins and ends with the private sector.
Dorgan said President Obama should have focused his first year in office on rekindling the economy and helping to boost the private sector to put more Americans back on payrolls. While President Obama may have inherited one of the worst fiscal messes since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dorgan said, it is still up to him to focus his energy on intense financial reform to ensure banks that were "too big to fail," don't do it again.
As an indicator of necessary change, Dorgan noted that the same banks that were largely responsible for the economic downturn recently announced record profits and bonuses to executives. Dorgan said it is imperative President Obama launch reform to keep those big corporations in check.
January 31, 2010; 1:54 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Sunday Talkies
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