TPM News

This seems like a critical passage: the President appealing to “simple math” over ideology.

So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process. But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?”

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both.

This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. These are real choices that we have to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future.

President Obama gets a cheer out of some Republicans by referencing their “No Tax Pledge”:

I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live.  Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away.

Funnily enough, though, the payroll tax extension seems to be the one tax break that the GOP leaders seem to have turned their noses up at.

The President urges Congress to promote a kind of public-private partnership scheme to help renovate America’s infrastructure. Click the title above, though, to read TPM’s Brian Beutler on why the GOP doesn’t seem too stoked on the idea, and why the clapping in the chamber doesn’t seem all that loud right now.

We’ve been hearing the President repeat the words “Right Now” for several months now, as he lists all the ostensibly bi-partisan plans can can “jolt” the immediate economy. He’s already mentioned the phrase in the speech tonight. Given how gridlocked DC is right now, one fears he’ll be repeating it for some months yet.

The first part of the President’s speech pits “the people” against Congressional deadlock.

Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country.  We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse.    This past week, reporters have been asking “What will this speech mean for the President?  What will it mean for Congress?  How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”   But the millions of Americans who are watching right now:  they don’t care about politics.  They have real life concerns.  Many have spent months looking for work.  Others are doing their best just to scrape by – giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.    These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off.   They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share – where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in awhile.  If you did the right thing, you could make it in America.    But for decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode.  They have seen the deck too often stacked against them.  And they know that Washington hasn’t always put their interests first. 

So, the “Tea Party Express” group already has a response out. Here’s the text of that:

Tea Party Express Chief Strategist Sal Russo issued this statement today in advance of President Obama’s speech:

“President Obama’s performance so far has amounted to a succession of lofty speeches backed up by little substance, and he seems to be embarking on a similar path of proposals for more government and more spending. His contribution to the difficult debt ceiling debate was a speech in which he told Americans to “eat their peas.” In February Obama told the nation that jobs were his number one priority. Yet last month, not one single American job was added. Not surprisingly, the President’s solution is yet another speech with old, unworkable solutions.

“Despite his rhetoric, Obama has repeatedly failed to deliver a plan with substance or meaningful action, but continually threatens those doing the real work with higher taxes and more government regulation. In speech after speech, the president disparages plans put forth to grow the economy, yet has failed to actually put pen to paper and submit a tangible document himself. The single notable exception was his disastrous budget proposal, which failed to garner even a single vote in Harry Reid’s Democrat-led Senate.

“When real action is needed, President Obama seems to always have other priorities. He has had ample time for golf and numerous vacations while free trade agreements with Panama, South Korea, and Columbia that were carefully negotiated during the Bush Administration have sat languishing for years, while he pandered to liberal special interests at the expense of growing our economy

“We at the Tea Party Express realize that Obama will continue his pattern of failure, and the only answer is for the tea party movement to work hard to put a capable conservative in the White House in November 2012.”

A source from within the chamber tells us that Rep. David Wu is in the chamber tonight, despite having resigned in somewhat controversial circumstances some weeks ago.

FBI agents on Thursday raided the offices of Solyndra, the Obama administration's flagship alternative energy grantee that the president had hailed as an example of a company that would provide well-paying jobs while helping to point the country to a future less dependent on foreign oil.

"The FBI is still on the site at this time and is executing a search warrant of Solyndra's Freemont facility in conjunction with the Department of Energy's Office of the Inspector General," an FBI spokeswoman told TPM.

The raid comes at an awkward moment for President Obama, who is scheduled to deliver a major speech on jobs and the economy Thursday evening. Solyndra laid off more than a thousand workers at its Fremont, Ca. facility, after receiving more than half a billion dollars in a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. The company has been running into trouble over the past year or so, pulling out of a planned initial public offering, and refinancing its debt, but it did not indicate the extent of its troubles until it abruptly declared bankruptcy last week.

Read More →