WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Monday he expects the Congress to vote on his $447 billion jobs package by the end of October.
"It's been several weeks now since I sent up the American Jobs Act, and as I have been saying on the road, I want it back. I am ready to sign it," he told reporters.
"My expectation is that now that we are in the month of October, that we will schedule a vote before the end of this month," he said, adding he would be talking with congressional leaders "and insisting that we have a vote on this bill."
Obama unveiled the jobs plan in early September as a mix of measures he said both parties could accept, but then promptly recommended that it be paid for with higher taxes on wealthier Americans that Republicans and some of his fellow Democrats oppose.
He said at the start of a Cabinet meeting on Monday that he wanted to hear from Capitol Hill on what parts of the jobs bill were most palatable to move the debate forward.
"We have been hearing from Republicans that there are some proposals that they are interested in. That is not surprising, because the contents of the American Jobs Act includes proposals that in the past have been supported by Republicans and Democrats alike," Obama said.
"If there are aspects of the bill that they don't like they should tell us what it is they are not willing to go for, they should tell us what it is they are prepared to see move forward," he said, adding he believed most Americans supported his plan to put more construction workers back to work, hire more teachers and help small businesses.
"I am very much looking forward to seeing Congress debate this bill, pass it, get it to my desk," he said, stressing he would also "put as much pressure as I can bring to bear" on his administration and its agencies to do everything possible to create jobs and help businesses aside from what Congress does.
(Reporting by Laura MacInnis, Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Beech)