In yet another effort to boost the struggling economy, President Barack Obama unveiled a $447 billion jobs plan Thursday night.
The package, about half the size of the stimulus plan passed in February 2009, calls for slashing taxes, extending unemployment benefits, and increasing infrastructure spending.
Specifically, the plan includes $70bn in tax breaks for small businesses; tax breaks for companies that hire the jobless; $140 billion for building road, bridges and other projects; and aid to states that save or create jobs for teachers, firefighters and police officers.
"It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services," stated Obama.
The jobs package comes at a time when sluggish job market has renewed fears that United States might relapse into recession.
Pass bill right way: Obama to Congress
Unveiling the jobs plan, president asked Congress to enact the bill "right away."
Addressing a a joint session of Congress, Obama said, “The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy.”
As lawmakers listened quietly, he added, "There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation.
“Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for.”
Republicans support some measures
The White House believes that Congress might not approve much of the plan.
Though Republicans objected to the size of the package, they appreciated some proposed measures.
The party applauded the proposal to extend unemployment insurance benefits, and some even liked Obama's idea of creation of infrastructure bank.
Lawmakers are likely to pass measures that have bipartisan support.
"The proposals the president outlined tonight merit consideration," said Speaker John A. Boehner, adding, "We hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well."
Though it is Obama's last measure to revive the economy and his political fortunes before next year's election campaign kicks offs, the president is confident that these measure will appeal to Americans.
"These are real choices we have to make," Obama said. "And I'm pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It's not even close."