By Ken Thomas
ALBANY, N.Y. — President Barack Obama said Tuesday that only Congress could take the “bold action” needed to spur job creation, as he unfurled an election year “to do” list for lawmakers.
Obama’s action plan for Congress centers on a series of economic initiatives he already has been pushing for months, including eliminating tax incentives for companies that ship jobs overseas and promoting new tax credits for small businesses and for companies to develop clean energy.
None of the items on the president’s wish list previously has gained any traction in Congress, and there was little indication that they would in the six months between now and Election Day.
Speaking at college science complex in Albany, N.Y., Obama said Congress should not use the election as reason to block his proposals.
“I know this is an election year but it’s not an excuse for inaction,” Obama said. “Just saying no to ideas that we know will help our economy isn’t an option.”
With the nation’s unemployment rate stubbornly stuck above 8 percent and millions of Americans out of work, Obama has tried to portray congressional Republicans as obstructing his economic agenda. He also has sought to tie Republican Mitt Romney to GOP leaders in Congress, arguing that the likely GOP presidential nominee simply would rubber-stamp their policies.
“The truth is the only way we can accelerate the job creation that takes place on a scale that is needed is bold action from Congress,” Obama said.
Obama’s “to do” list for Congress also includes legislation creating a Veterans Job Corps to help service members returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan find work as police officers and firefighters.
And to address the housing crisis, Obama pressed anew for a measure designed to help homeowners refinance their homes at lower interest rates. Obama planned to also make the housing pitch during a stop Friday in Reno, Nev., the state that has been the epicenter of the nation’s housing meltdown.
White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted the measures should be able to pass in Congress, despite the fact Obama has not been able to persuade lawmakers to act on them previously.
“These are the kinds of initiatives that traditionally enjoy bipartisan support,” Carney said. “They’re the kinds of initiatives that outside independent economists identified as things that would have an immediate impact on economic growth and job creation.”
Obama was issuing his list during a stop at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York. The president has made a number of trips to universities, manufacturing plants and technology firms, seeking to promote research and development.
Republicans said they had a lengthy list of their own in the form of bills that have cleared the GOP-led House but remained bogged down by Senate Democrats. They accused Obama of recycling old ideas.
“We’ve passed nearly 30 jobs bills to increase American competitiveness, expand domestic energy production and rein in the red tape that is burdening small businesses,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. “Democrats are blocking every one of them.”