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Obama to come out with new stimulus plan?

August 17, 2011

President Obama will present a plan to Congress next month that calls for more than $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, he revealed Wednesday, signaling that entitlement reform and tax increases alike should be “on the table.”

The president, on the last leg of his Midwestern bus tour before returning to Washington, is reviving a familiar argument as he calls for reining in America’s debt. Though he offered few details of his latest set of proposals during a town hall-style event in Illinois, he is expected to unveil them in another address tackling jobs and deficit reduction shortly after Labor Day.

Many feel president should be in Washington fixing America’s economic problems

On the deficit front, Obama said he plans to submit a plan to a newly formed bipartisan committee — which is supposed to find $1.5 trillion in savings — urging the panel to go beyond its mandate and seek more.

“I don’t think it’s good enough for us to just do it part way,” Obama said. The president also stressed that his plan would include revenue increases, as well as spending cuts.

In an interview Tuesday, the president hinted that he wants to seek deeper savings down the road to pay for a bigger jobs program now.

“I think that we’ve got to take a longer term view — how do we deal with our deficit and debt in a long-term way? If we get that under control, we can actually pay for some additional job programs in the here and now,” Obama told FOX 4 in Kansas City. “It’s that kind of combination that I want to be able to present to Congress when they come home.”

The president repeatedly has pushed for an extension of the payroll tax cut, the approval of several international trade deals and an extension of jobless benefits. The jobs speech is expected to detail fresh ideas, including additional tax cut proposals.

But Republicans quickly voiced skepticism about the president’s latest push. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, under the heading of “here we go again,” sent around a list of eight other jobs speeches Obama has given.

Sen. Jerry Moran

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., urged the president to focus his new approach on encouraging the private sector to expand.

“If the president’s proposals will just be once again … reflecting his belief that you simply spend more money to create more jobs, it won’t work,” he told Fox News. “It’s how we got into the downgrade that we’re in.”

House Speaker John Boehner and House Republican Leader Eric Cantor, in a USA Today op-ed Wednesday, urged Washington to pursue “pro-growth policies” that ease the tax burden on small business and roll back “redundant regulations.”

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck suggested Obama drop the speech and just submit his plan.

“We really don’t need another speech — just a plan, like, on paper. Seriously, just drop it in the mail. Podium not required. Thanks,” he wrote on Twitter.

Seeking re-election in a dispiriting economic time for the nation, Obama’s rollout plan allows him to come into September swinging after one of the roughest periods of his presidency.

Obama has been rumbling through the Midwest all week, lobbying the locals along the way to help him pressure a divided Congress into working with him. He has one day of his bus tour left on Wednesday before returning to Washington and heading on a vacation with his family.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that Obama will outline two proposals in September. One will be a jobs plan and the other will be a deficit plan he’ll submit directly to the bipartisan committee. Carney, on MSNBC, said that plan will be “entirely consistent” with the outline Obama and Boehner discussed before congressional leaders scrapped it — later moving to a plan to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit by as much as $2.4 trillion over the next decade.

Obama has talked about a plan that cuts $4 trillion from the deficit over a slightly longer period of time. It’s unclear how big the plan he’s proposing will be — the talks with Boehner were over a package containing somewhere between $3 trillion and $4 trillion in savings.

Without offering many specifics about his plans, the president has been telling audiences he will get detailed in September, and then fight it out.

Nearly 14 million people are unemployed. Many millions more have given up looking for jobs or haven’t found a way to move from part-time to full-time work.

The unemployment rate is at 9.1 percent. No president in recent history has been re-elected with a jobless rate nearly that high.

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