President Obama is touring the country to ramp up public pressure on Congress to pass his American Jobs Act — and that means all of the bill, not just the parts that are acceptable to House Republicans. "It's not an à la carte menu," said Obama adviser David Axelrod. "It's a strategy to get this country moving." Meanwhile, House Republicans say they're open to certain parts of the $447 billion package — which is largely a mix of tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and state aid — but are unlikely to support all of it. Going further, some senior GOP aides have suggested it's doubtful any part of the plan will pass if it means a "win" for Obama. Will either side yield ground to get something done about jobs?
Obama may actually be open to negotiations: Axelrod's assertion suggests "the White House doesn’t have its messaging ducks in a row," says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, since another Obama aide said just hours later that Obama would sign parts of the bill if necessary. But both statements reflect the political reality that "no one ever thought the House GOP would pass the entire bill to begin with," and Obama will have to fight to get any aspect of the package enacted.
"Is White House really backing away from push for full jobs bill?"
The GOP might be feeling pressure to compromise, too: The White House is working on the "risky assumption" that House Majority Leader John Boehner "needs the win just as badly" as Obama does, say Carrie Budoff Brown and Jake Sherman in Politico. Congress is so unpopular and the jobs situation is so bad that Obama's barnstorming for the bill has put the GOP in "an untenable political position that forces them to act on more than just minor elements of the president’s plan."
"On jobs bill, White House bets on Boehner's support"
But even Democratic support for the plan isn't a sure thing either: The president doesn't just have his work cut out for him on the GOP side, says Matthew Yglesias at ThinkProgress. Some Democrats are panning all or parts of Obama's plan, too. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), for one, blasted it as "terrible." Sadly for Obama, this is just what Democrats do. "It's difficult to imagine parallel behavior on the other side," with Republicans attacking their party leaders in "quasi-personal terms." It'll take more than "rhetorical magic" for Obama to unite his frustrated party.
"Caucus unity still a problem for Democrats"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- America created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria? Meet the ISIS 'truthers'
- The Obama era is over. The presidency continues.
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- How Harry Houdini escaped death
- On ISIS, neocons and liberal hawks have a 'boy who cried wolf' problem
- What is Molly? Everything you need to know about the party drug
- How American businessmen are ruining American business — and the U.S. economy
- The 10 best networking tips for people who hate networking
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
Subscribe to the Week