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Obama faces big week on $447B jobs bill

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

This week could see a turning point for President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill, which gets its first big political test in the coming days -- with Senate Democrats.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has set a vote on the package for this week, after members of his party re-wrote the legislation to include a new surcharge on millionaires.

Some Democrats have questioned the size of the $447 billion package, so this week's vote will be an interesting test of support for the bill among members of Obama's own party -- though in any case, Republicans may well block passage in the Senate because of the millionaires tax.

"The president has said it's wrong to raise taxes in this weak economic environment," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "If he meant what he said, surely he'll join me in opposing this unwise tax hike Senate Democrats have proposed."

There are signs that the proposed millionaires surcharge could attract Democrats who had objected to Obama's proposal to finance the jobs plan by eliminating certain tax breaks that would raised tax bills for more Americans.

"I think this small increase in income tax for families that make over a million dollars is a better approach than taking away tax incentives for domestic oil and gas companies," said Mary Landrieu, D-La.

Even if the bill gets past the Senate, it faces heavy opposition from the Republican-run House.

Meanwhile, Obama will continue pressuring lawmakers -- particularly Republicans -- to back his bill, including a trip Tuesday to Pittsburgh.


Obama's approach, however, is drawing scrutiny from analysts, such as this "spin meter" from the Associated Press:

In President Barack Obama's sales pitch for his jobs bill, there are two versions of reality: The one in his speeches and the one actually unfolding in Washington.

When Obama accuses Republicans of standing in the way of his nearly $450 billion plan, he ignores the fact that his own party has struggled to unite behind the proposal.

When the president says Republicans haven't explained what they oppose in the plan, he skips over the fact that Republicans who control the House actually have done that in detail.

And when he calls on Congress to "pass this bill now," he slides past the point that Democrats control the Senate and were never prepared to move immediately, given other priorities. Senators are expected to vote Tuesday on opening debate on the bill, a month after the president unveiled it with a call for its immediate passage.

To be sure, Obama is not the only one engaging in rhetorical excesses. But he is the president, and as such, his constant remarks on the bill draw the most attention and scrutiny.


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