Obama gives Congress a 'honey-do' list

politics | May 12, 2012 | By Martin Barillas

In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama set out what he would like the Congress to do during the remainder of the legislative cycle. Speaking in a folksy manner, the Chief Executive said "We’ve got to move forward.  We need to build an economy where hard work and responsibility are rewarded – where you can find a good job, own your own home, maybe start a businesses, and give your kids the chance to do even better. That’s where we need to go.  And I’ve been pushing Congress to help us get there by passing a few common-sense policies that would make a difference.  Democrats and Republicans have already done some important work together – from passing tax cuts for workers, to opening up new markets for American products, to reforming our patent system.  But now we need to do more. That’s why we made Congress a handy 'To-Do' list – just like the kind I get from Michelle.  It’s short, but each of the ideas on this list will help create jobs and build a stronger economy right now."

Setting out the 'to-do' list, Obama said "First, Congress should stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and use that money to cover moving expenses for companies that bring jobs back to America."

Second, Congress should help the millions of Americans who have worked hard and made their mortgage payments on time refinance their mortgages at lower rates and save at least $3,000 a year." 

Third, Congress should help small business owners by giving them a tax break for hiring more workers and paying them higher wages.  Small businesses are the engine of economic growth in this country.  We shouldn’t be holding them back – we should be making it easier for them to succeed." 

Fourth, if Congress fails to act soon, clean energy companies will see their taxes go up and could be forced to lay off employees.  These companies are putting Americans to work and helping break our dependence on foreign oil.  Congress should extend these tax credits." 

And finally, Congress should help our veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan by creating a Veterans Job Corps.  Our men and women in uniform have served this country with honor.  Now it’s our turn to serve them."

It was during his State of the Union address in January that Obama called for the creation of a Veterans Job Corps as part of a package for returning troops. This would be a conservation program that, according to the White House, "will put up to 20,000 veterans to work over the next five years. They'll work to restore habitats, eradicate invasive species, maintain public lands, and operate public facilities." This jobs program would come in addition to Obama's proposal to assist state and local jurisdiction to hire veterans as first responders, making available $166 million in 2012 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant funding and $320 million in 2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants. According to the White House, the "President's budget for the 2013 fiscal year will include additional $5 billion for these grant programs." """"
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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