December 2nd, 2009
05:32 PM ET
6 months ago

Obama takes heat from Democrats over jobs

Rep. Bobby Rush, co-chair of the new Congressional 'Jobs Now Caucus'.
Rep. Bobby Rush, co-chair of the new Congressional 'Jobs Now Caucus'.

(CNN) – Members of President Obama's own political party are charging that the White House and the Democratic Congressional leadership are not doing enough to help the unemployed and are threatening to organize a march on Washington of jobless Americans.

"Obviously there's something that's not getting through to them," said Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois. "And we're going to let the White House and everybody who's concerned know that we have got people in our districts who are depending on us to deliver for them."

Rush and Reps. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and Candice Miller, R-Michigan, chair the new Congressional "Jobs Now Caucus," which is comprised of 112 Democrats and 17 Republicans.

Rush and Kaptur argue that a new jobs program is more important than health care reform, but stop short of threatening to hold up a vote on one of Obama's most important domestic policy initiatives.

"We're not there yet," Kaptur said.

Some of the proposals being floated by the caucus include: redirecting existing stimulus and TARP money to jobs programs and pressing for a new jobs bill, which they're careful not to call a "stimulus."

More than one member of the caucus told CNN the stimulus was crafted without enough input from lawmakers whose districts suffer from the highest jobless rates.

"I have been very disappointed in the incomplete manner in which the jobs and the economic recession has been dealt with," said Kaptur, who added, "We don't want to be given short shrift."

Rush was more blunt in his demand. "We don't want to be handed a bill and told, 'Alright vote this bill,'" Rush said. "We want to be part of the creation."

The frustration by some Democrats comes as the White House prepares to hold a jobs summit Thursday, which will include CEOs and small business owners among others. And on Wednesday, members of the Congressional Black Caucus sat out a vote on financial reform legislation - important to the White House - to protest what they said is a lack of attention paid to job growth in the African American community. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the new "Jobs Now Caucus" have accused the administration of listening more closely to Wall Street than to Main Street.

The U.S. unemployment rate is at 10.2% but many congressmen believe the true rate is closer to 20% if you include those who have given up looking for work.

Update, 5:32 p.m.:Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, issued this statement:

"We continue to work with all members of the caucus and with the Administration to build on the recovery package and other initiatives to help create jobs and grow our economy after years of mismanagement by the Bush administration."

soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Jobless claims are down. People to need to be patient. As the president said and what I always believed is that things were going to get worse before they got better. According to CNNMoney, you should be optimistic in the first quarter of 2010.

    December 2, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Sine

    DEMS don't know how to stick together on ANYTHING. Thats why republicans have their way whether they are in power or not. You democrats are pathetic and weak minded and never ever get the bigger picture!!!!!

    December 2, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Vets4Obama

    chair the new Congressional "Jobs Now Caucus," which is comprised of 112 Democrats and 17 Republicans.

    Notice how few republicans are ACTUALLY concerned about jobs? Only 17? What a pathetic lot of do nothings for american. They are probably too busy exporting jobs to china and shutting down plants in the USA, like McCain.

    Republicans are all talk no action. They never have and never WILL be concerned with unemployment, as the numbers CLEARLY show they refuse to step up to the plate when it's time to actually DO SOMETHING other then complain.

    December 2, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. bess

    finally, DC folks who dare call out Obama.

    the majority fo American's want jobs -
    not welfare, food stamps or housing assistance.
    but JOBS
    not rewriting the healthcare industry.
    but JOBS
    not cap & tax to pay for global warming haoxes
    but JOBS
    not more, 'fees', subsidies, higher taxes, 'service charges', etc.
    but JOBS

    govt needs to lower taxes and STOP SPENDING.
    what happened to that "I'll veto any bill with earmarks" ??

    JOBS
    JOBS
    JOBS

    December 2, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. Jacques of MA

    We can still blame Bush and 30 years of Reagan.

    December 2, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. jersian needs a job

    This New Jersian needs a job. I am glad they are sticking up for people like me who to no avail voted for a man who gave wall street everything but the kitchen sink and the rest of us with the bill to pay for it

    December 2, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Barbara

    Jobs are indeed of utmost importance.... but is sounds like weak-kneed Democrats are jumping ship to advance re-election prospects. President Obama needs support from his party (a lesson they might take from the Republicans – stick together). The President has a jobs summit scheduled and it is preliminary for fellow Democrats to criticize before this event and its recommendations. Methinks they feel a need to distance themselves from what has been a horribly frustrating first year for the President (through no fault of his own).

    HANG TOGETHER AND SUPPORT YOUR LEADER – YOUR PRESIDENT – YOUR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF!!!!!!

    December 2, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Brian

    Sorry Dems, too little too late. Tea Parties have marched and will march again and you cannot steal their activists. But, I am loving the infighting!!

    December 2, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. unhappy democrap

    where was the congressional party win Geitface gave the banks what they wanted including 2009 bonuses and the unemployment rate kept on climbing, especially for minorites!! Its a little to late - we the people have been hoodwinked!

    December 2, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. ugogrl

    Sir with all due respect, our President inherited the worse economy since the Great Depression and from the previous administration. The economy was on the brink of a collaspe. He passed a stimulus package of 700 million dollars that went to different states throughout our county. Even Sarah state, who happened to quit on her people in the middle of her term! Anyway sir, He has stabilized jobs and he is darn show trying to pass Healthcare reform. Sir I have one question for you, "if he hadn't pass the stimulus where do you think the country will be and if he just simply did nothing?" Have patience things don't happen over night. It took awhile to get in this mess and it will vice versa. Have a nice day!

    December 2, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The unemployed need jobs, real ones, not government make-work. But the private sector isn't about to do a lot of hiring as long as they don't know how badly they're going to be slammed by the Democrat's taxes or the costs to them of the Democrat's proposed health care entitlement program.

    If Congress is serious about "helping the unemployed," they'll get government out of the way and quit sucking up, or threatening to suck up, every dime they can lay their grubby hands on.

    December 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  12. marcia

    obviously those Democrats have not gotten the memo yet that reads..."Ordinary people without jobs don't count!"

    December 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  13. cjr

    health care reform will create jobs – hello! rush and the others have no ideas just like to hear themselves talk.

    December 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  14. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Here's a solution that I can't believe a Democrat has not proposed yet. Take the remaining $400 billion of Porkulous money that hasn't been spent yet. For $50,000 per year per worker, hire the unemployed to dig holes, then fill them in again. Presto – 8 million new jobs.

    December 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  15. George

    In a nation where the infrastructures, from roads to bridges to tunnels to rail lines to the power grid, are crumbling and in many cases on the verge of collapse, much more should have been done in the TARP program to facilitate repair, replacement and upgrades. The creation of what would have likely been millions of jobs would have benefited all businesses and industries either directly or indirectly. But taxpayers, and even those middle class who pay no taxes because of deductions, are averse to paying for such things. It's biting off the nose to spite the face. Eventually there will be enough catastrophes to wake up the politicians to the fact that you cannot ignore infrastructure for decades and expect everything will be just hunky dory.

    December 2, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. General I. Zation

    Want to know why CNN is in the ratings cellar? Because they report on quickly-forgotten stories like this, while ignoring vastly more important stories like the current "climategate" news revealing more FRAUD by the corrupt so-called climate "scientists."

    December 2, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. GGG

    Tell Obama there will be an awesome photo shoot ...then he might listen..doubtful ...he is the worst preesident EVER!!!

    December 2, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. W l Jones

    What good of a job if a person to sick to work. Futher more president doesn^t hire people business does. Enough said.

    December 2, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Jason in NY

    Something odd just occurred to me. Despite all of this noise about unemployment and people saying the true rate is closer to 20%, I dont know a single person who is unemployed right now. Not one. There were a few, but they have all recently found jobs. My work was slow for a while, but now we have several projects starting and several others lined up to follow. I was called last week by a recruiter, so someone out there is hiring. I'm tending to believe them more and more when they say that businesses need to recover before jobs come back again. And all signs say businesses have started to recover. Which should mean, with a little patience, the jobs are on the way. Maybe there is more that could be done. But I also think you need to give the money time to work, because it appears that it is.

    December 2, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  20. Joe stafura Pittsburgh PA

    Just because people get elected as Democrats doesn't mean that they are mindless one steppers as the Republicans have come to represent, the natural ebb and flow of debate should more often divide than aggregate a large group of people that are elected to understand the role that Government needs to play in the current situation.

    Yea, it is a little uglier, but debate is non partisan unless you are an ideolog that decides it is easier to give the same answers rather than listen to the question.

    December 2, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. Hope to Change

    Is it Dems's turn to eat each other libs??????

    December 2, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. SocialismBad

    So even the Democrats can't maintain the scam they pulled off with their "Stimulus Package"! Can somebody PLEASE replay all the urgent pleas of the Democrats and Obama to spend $800 BILLION of borrowed money else the sky would fall and employment go above 8%??!! They KNEW all that money was a laundry list of their pet projects and had NOTHING to do with creating jobs. They LIED to the American people and now have been caught in their lies. An their fix is.....drum roll please..... SPEND MORE MONEY WE DON'T HAVE!

    But now these absolute imbeciles realize everything they have been doing creates an atmoshere that is NON-JOB CREATING. They have demonized every business in sight and proposed new tax after new tax. What business in their right mind would hire new people in this toxic business climate?! I know I wouldn't!

    All of these liars and cheats better have a backup job plan because they are GONE in 2010 and 2012.

    December 2, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Paul

    Right, because Bobby Rush is where I'd go to for a clear-headed critique of President Obama. He's had a chip on his shoulder since Obama primaried him 2000.

    December 2, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. cecilia lewis

    the Dems need to get over it and give the President a chance – he needs our support
    grow up

    December 2, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. inofritzn

    My goodness. See, this is why socialist thinking doesn't work. They are expecting the government to do everything for them. What can Obama do to help dependent people, except make them more dependent? This quote says it all from above:
    "...everybody who's concerned know that we have got people in our districts who are depending on us to deliver for them."

    Tell your people in your district to stop depending on you. That's a start. Government can help spur the economy when needed, but how many times do they have to let us down before we stop reaching for their hand for help?

    December 2, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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