So the Democratic officials on the ground must be hearing a lot about the unemployment crisis, because it sounds like they’re going to try to communicate a sense of urgency to the president before he makes his Thursday speech:
The chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and of the three caucuses of black, Hispanic and Asian members of the House would like a word with President Obama before his Thursday jobs address.
In a Tuesday letter provided by a source, the leaders, who speak for a majority of House Dems, sought to make sure that Obama keeps his eye on the jobs crisis, which has disproportionately hit minority groups.
“With unemployment at 9.1% nationally– approaching 12% in the Hispanic community, 16.7% in the African American community and with Asian American and Pacific Islanders remaining unemployed for longer periods than any other group– we are in a national crisis. We have learned throughout American history that big, bold action is required to put people back to work and promote economic growth,” the chairs write.
“The chairs of the CBC, CAPAC, CPC, and CHC look forward to an opportunity to talk with you about proposals we would like you to consider before you address the nation this week.”
These guys have to be worried about getting reelected when the administration isn’t pursuing aggressive policies to help the unemployed. Personally, I don’t think Obama will pay much attention to them. If he decides not to even meet with them, it’s probably because the proposals are too weak to defend.
I’m hearing from Hill sources that he’s about to propose a package that won’t do much: $300 billion in tax cuts and federal spending with over half of that made up of continuing the payroll tax “holiday” that’s weakening Social Security, extending federal unemployment benefits, less than $50 billion for infrastructure, tax credits for hiring the unemployed, and extending the current provision that allows businesses to fully write-off new equipment in the first year. In other words, spending that will maintain the current economic situation without actually making it better.