In a sharp challenge to the GOP, President Obama proposed paying for his new jobs plan Monday with tax increases that Republicans have already emphatically rejected. The reception to his new proposal was no more welcoming, setting the stage for a likely new fight with Congress.
Flanked at the White House by workers whom he said the legislation would help, Obama declared: "This is the bill that Congress needs to pass. No games. No politics. No delays." He sent it to Capitol Hill on Monday afternoon saying, "The only thing that's stopping it is politics."
The proposal drew criticism from House Speaker John A. Boehner (R., Ohio), who had previously responded in cautious but somewhat receptive tones to the $447 billion jobs plan made up of tax cuts and new spending that Obama first proposed in an address to Congress on Thursday.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said: "It would be fair to say this tax increase on job creators is the kind of proposal both parties have opposed in the past. We remain eager to work together on ways to support job growth, but this proposal doesn't appear to have been offered in that bipartisan spirit."
The biggest piece of the payment plan would raise about $400 billion by eliminating certain deductions, including on charitable contributions, that wealthy taxpayers can claim. Obama has proposed that in the past - to help pay for his health-care overhaul, for example - and it has been shot down by Republican lawmakers, along with some Democrats.
Yet by daring Republicans anew to reject tax increases on the rich, Obama could gain a talking point, if not a legislative victory, as the 2012 presidential campaign moves forward.
At a Rose Garden event, Obama surrounded himself with police officers, firefighters, teachers, construction workers, and others whom he said the bill would help. Adopting a newly combative tone, Obama demanded immediate action on the legislation. "Instead of just talking about America's job creators, let's actually do something for America's job creators," he said.
Even as Obama was accusing Republicans of playing politics, he and his Democratic allies were marshaling an aggressive political response of their own.
Obama was traveling to Boehner's home state of Ohio on Tuesday to promote his jobs plan, following that Wednesday with a trip to North Carolina, a traditionally Republican state he won in 2008.
The Democratic National Committee announced a television ad campaign starting Monday to promote Obama's jobs plans in key swing and early-voting states.
In an appearance later Monday for a group of African American news Web sites, Obama suggested that even a legislative loss for his plan could be political win for him.
"I need people to be out there promoting this and pushing this and making sure that everybody understands the details of what this would mean, so that one of two things happen: Either Congress gets it done, or if Congress doesn't get it done, people know exactly what's holding it up," the president said.
His package would combine tax cuts for workers and employers by reducing the Social Security payroll tax, with spending elements including more money to hire teachers, rebuild schools, and pay unemployment benefits. It also includes tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans and the long-term unemployed.
The payment method the White House announced Monday would consist of:
$405 billion from limiting itemized deductions for charitable contributions and other deductions that can be taken by individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000.
$41 billion from closing loopholes for oil and gas companies.
$18 billion from requiring fund managers to pay higher taxes on certain income.
$3 billion from changing tax treatment of corporate jets.
Republicans have indicated they are receptive to supporting Obama's proposed payroll-tax cut and finding a way to extend jobless benefits, though many have rejected Obama's planned new spending.