Kirk, Schakowsky, Dold Embrace Parts of President’s Jobs Proposal
Dold and Schakowsky see their own ideas in President’s message.
President Barack Obama was looking for bipartisan support for his $447 billion American Jobs Act proposed to a joint session of Congress Thursday night and he got it in varying degrees from local members.
Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) liked elements of free trade legislation included in the package. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) was pleased that a bill she proposed August 10 may have had some influence in the president's speech.
“That’s the Obama I love to hear," Schakowsky said. "It’s not the be-all and the end-all but I appreciated the tone of urgency.”
The President urged Congress to pass the bill “right away” eight times.
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) is optimistic about that Washington will act quickly on some of the President’s ideas.
"Some parts of the President's proposal should receive quick, bipartisan action, like tax reform, trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama and enactment of regulatory relief for businesses,” Kirk said.
The American Jobs Act will contain provisions to refurbish schools as well as keep teachers, police officers and fire fighters working. These were some of the elements in Schakowsky’s jobs bill.
“I feel hopeful for the influence my proposal may have made," she said.
Dold seized on the bipartisan aspects of the speech. He has been pushing passage of Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia in an effort to open export markets for American products.
“We have to find ways to work together with to create jobs and get people back to work,” Dold said. “There were a number of bipartisan ideas. I was glad to hear him mention free trade agreements, a bill we came up with.”
Obama put Dold’s wish for more export of American goods into specific terms.
“People in America are driving Hyundais. We want people in South Korea driving Fords, Chevys and Chryslers with the tag ‘made in America,’" Obama said.
Though their voting records are often very different, Dold and Schakowsky both liked some of the same elements of the President’s message, even if their reasons were not the same. More than half of the money in the proposed bill is a payroll tax cut. While Dold liked the idea, he was cautious.
“My own bill on payroll taxes will spur the economy and job growth. We want to incentivize it (using tax relief to grow jobs),” Dold said. “I am interested to see how the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) scores it."
Schakowsky embraced the payroll tax portion of the President’s proposal. She sees it as tax relief for the middle class. She also liked the idea payroll tax reductions on the employer side will be capped at $5 million.
“It’s truly for small business and middle class Americans,” she said.
Dold likes the idea as well. “It seems fair to me,” he said. “We have to look for ways to make a deal where we have common ground.”
Kirk and Dold raised concerns about the costs of the President’s proposal. "In the detail provided tonight, the President proposed $447 billion in new spending but provided no details on how to pay for it,” Kirk said. “I look forward to learning the specifics."
During his speech, President Obama said he would ask the 12-member super committee created when the debt ceiling legislation was passed last month to make additional spending cuts to pay for the American Jobs Act.
Both Schakowsky and Dold were also happy to see the President talk about reducing regulations on business during his speech. President Obama called for regulatory overhaul that would not endanger the health or welfare of Americans.
“I was pleased to hear about relief for some over burdensome regulations,” Dold said. “If we cut some of these regulations it will help put people back to work.”
Schakowsky is also willing to look at burdensome regulations and was glad to hear the limitations the President placed on his suggestions.
“There is no way he is willing to compromise the health and safety of American workers,” Schakowsky said. “I was glad to hear him talk about preserving collective bargaining rights.”