The White House is pushing ahead with its strategy of taking executive action to circumvent Congressional GOP opposition on job creation, on Friday unveiling a new presidential memorandum aimed at helping private businesses in hard economic times.
As President Obama struggles to build support for many components of his jobs bill in Congress, he continued to roll-out unilateral steps as part of his new “We Can’t Wait” theme. Obama on Friday signed two business-friendly memorandums: one that would shorten the time it takes for federal research to translate into commercial products in the marketplace, and another creating a website, known as BusinessUSA, to make it easier for companies to learn about federal export opportunities and other government services.
“Today, I am directing my administration to take two important steps to help American businesses create new products, compete in a global economy, and create jobs here at home,” Obama said in statement.
Earlier this week, the President announced changes to mortgage rules that would give more struggling home-owners the ability to refinance to lower rates and another allowing college students to reduce their student loan payments. He also challenged community health centers around the country to hire 8,000 veterans.
Next week, the Senate will consider the infrastructure spending portion of Obama’s jobs act that would help repair the nation’s aging bridges and roads, which is expected to garner significant GOP support.
House Republicans, who have opposed spending provisions in Obama’s jobs plan to hire new teachers and first responders, scoffed at the President’s decision to try to use his executive power to change government policies and boost job creation on his own.
“This idea that you’re just going to go around the Congress is just, it’s almost laughable,” House Speaker John Boehner told radio talk show host Laura Ingraham on Thursday.
But senior administration officials believe the new “We Can’t Wait” executive actions and the President’s decision to tour the country selling his jobs plan to the American people is producing tangible results and leaving Republicans in the precarious position of looking like obstructors with no plan of their own.
Boehner and other Republicans say the Senate is blocking many of their jobs proposals, but that message is having a difficult time breaking though the President’s use of his bully pulpit to sell his jobs plan.
At the same time, Republicans on the Congressional deficit Super Committee are refusing to accept any tax increases as part of a way to find $3 trillion in debt relief by Thanksgiving, with Congressional approval of any plan required by the end of the year.
“If we had not taken this approach — to take the argument to the American people around the country — there wouldn’t be any action,” said a senior administration official. “…We think the best way to force action by Dec. 24…is to continue to apply public pressure.”
“At the end of the day — Congress doesn’t do anything until the last minute, we certainly saw that with the debt ceiling — it’s hard to believe in this economy that they wouldn’t want to report back to the American people that they’ve done something on jobs,” the official continued.
“They are skating on incredibly thin ice right now,” remarked another administration official.
Although Obama’s approval ratings remain low, recent polls have shown House Democrats taking a lead on the generic House ballot question, which answers whether voters want to support a Democratic or Republican candidate in their district. An Oct. 10 Reuters poll showed Democrats ahead 48 percent to 40 percent over the Republicans, and an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll also on Oct. 10 had Democrats with a 45 percent to 41 percent lead.