December 2nd, 2009
05:32 PM ET
9 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. LG

    Sounds to me like these folks haven't read the CBO report on the stimulus and it's impact on job creation.

    December 2, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. TangledThorns

    Lying about job creation isn't helping...

    December 2, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. WENDELL

    What? He just created 30,000 more long term jobs in Afghanistan!

    December 2, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. www.circleparkforum.com

    Progressives across the blogosphere are also beginning to sound the alarms about the White House and the Democratic Congressional leadership not doing enough to help the unemployed.

    Arianna Huffington has been writing about it at HuffingtonPost and talking about it in appearances on tv, warning the Democrats that this will be a key issue in 2010.

    The problems created by recession very much need more attention from leaders in Washington, DC.

    December 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Mark

    They are to worried about jamming their gov't ran health care through.

    December 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    go ahead dude, obama and this congress dont get it anyway............

    they scamed the tax payer already, this will come back to bite them i think..............

    for every problem government tries to solve they create another two............

    dont bother with obama............join the other losers and blame bush
    this admin and congressare like every other one.....they will never take responsibility for what they have done or will do

    blame bush is ok i guess because its all about the votes during the other 51 weeks a year they are not phuh-king over america

    vote these stupids out america...........are we that dumb not to
    enough with the liberial stuff...........enough

    especially the speaker of the house, she is one useless beaver

    December 2, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    And you Dems will get the same response as the cons, it has only been 11 months, you do not clean up a dung heap 8 years in the making, in 11 months.

    Work with President NOT against him and be more patient!

    He is just a man not a magician.

    December 2, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. TruthBeTold

    I find it awful ironic that these weak kneed Democrats never brought any of these problems (the economy, the banks, health insurance, etc) or anything of importance up when Bush was in office. Now that Obama has inherited what he termed "a mess" (putting it nicely), they want to buck. I say let's get rid of all of these old geezers serving nobody but their own interests. I'm about sick of them. They can't do nothing right. What the heck are they there for!

    December 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Vic of New York

    This is not an easy issue for everyone.

    While I don't envy our President, I'm sure grateful he's at the helm instead of that dynamic duo: "Brain-dead and Psychopath" that got us in this mess in the first place.

    That said, when I was out of work for 1.5 years, the most damaging PERMANENT effect on me was the damage to my heart that happened because I couldn't afford healthcare and stopped taking medications. So, I'm in the camp that says – Health Care MUST happen at any cost.

    December 2, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. seebofubar

    Honeymoon's over.

    December 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. shmeckel

    Well next time you vote for a stimulas plan why don't you make sure it is a stimulas plan instead of a give away before you vote; instead of giving our money away and then complaining that it did not work. Here is an idea, READ IT FIRST.

    December 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. Tired

    It seems everybody wants a piece of our new President. Unfortunately, everything is a priority. He promised healthcare reform and "everybody" said he had to deliver! He "had" to make a decision on Afganistan. I am sure he knows that he needs to work on the joblessness sitution. Give the guy a chance. It has been one crisis after another since the election. His detractors have been vitriolic in their criticism and even his supporters want everything accomplished yesterday. The world is not a simple place today. I feel for the man.

    December 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. chubby

    nobama does not care at all about jobs, he only cares about turning this country into another Cuba. That is why he is trying to spend every dollar he can confiscate from the American people.

    December 2, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. vwrtb

    Ummm... jobs are leaving because of the spiraling costs of health care... or at least going down south were companies can treat there hillbilly employees like illegals and pay them next to nothing... and does anyone realize that private industry wastes more money than the government in comparison... With the government, at least we can track it and hold it accountable...

    December 2, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. Geoff

    Might have been useful to point out to your readers (both because it is relevant and simply interesting) that Rep. Bobby Rush once ran in an election against Barack Obama (for Rush's seat in the House) and defeated him back in 2000, which I'm pretty sure is still Obama's only electoral defeat to date. Background information! It's a good thing to include in news stories.

    December 2, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. tony

    clowns like this on the dole all their lives don't realize that economic
    prosperity does not come from government jobs – that's taking money out of one pocket and putting it in another. we need to stop the drain of manufacturing, etc. jobs from here to china et al. Adidas: going overseas and a new your factory employing about 100 people will shut down. bottom line economics is bad for america when big business ignores its social responsibility.

    December 2, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. David (Los Angeles, CA)

    I know someone who was happy to get fired recently so she could go on unemployment. Thanks Congress for already making unemployment so appealing some people don't want a job until their benefits run out... which won't be happening soon with all the handouts.

    LIMIT ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM NOW.

    December 2, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Grandsons2

    Is there any way you Democrats can present a united front? Really. When the Republicans ran things, they did just that, ran them...down everyone's throats and they stuck together in doing it. They are sticking together now as the party of NO and you Democrats come out swing against your President...sorry bunch of politicians. Learn how to stick together and get your programs through. Our President wants new jobs...work with him and not against him...Give good ideas, not threats. STICK TOGETHER or ALL of you will go home!!!! Sorry bunch of Democrats...no backbone.....sorry, just sorry!

    December 2, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Brian

    To me it sounds like a bunch of politicians worried about their own jobs. The platform on which their opposition will be running will be about job creation. They need to give a perception that they're fighting for jobs in their communities.

    December 2, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. John Johnston, Smithfield, UT

    When are people and their Congressmen going to get off their backsides and quit asking for a handout. We are in the mess because of a Congress that was asleep at the switch, a President and Vice President that were driven by greed and a desire for evermore power and control, and a general population that could not manage its own spending....gimmee, gimmee, gimmee is all people seem to know. If somebody doesn't have a job to hire you then make your own job. I have been out of work a few times in the past 50 years and I just started a company, or drove a cab.........whatever. Stop whining and get to work. This country was made by people that made their own way in life....not by people with their hand out to Government.

    December 2, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Right Leaning Independent

    Whats wrong Bobby Rush, did that stimulus program not create an overwhelming amount of jobs for your constituents???

    December 2, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. David in Dallas

    I think most middle class Americans, and especially progressives are wondering why all of the stimulus money went to Wall Street Bankers instead of into rebuilding our infrastructure and thus increasing jobs. The main reason I voted for Obama was that I thought we was going to propose a New Deal, WPA, CCC, type of program to put the unemployed back to work. Instead all of the money went to Geithner's buddies.

    December 2, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Susan

    How about if we bring the jobs BACK FROM CHINA, INDIA, AND MEXICO. Obama did not send the jobs out of the country. Ask the people who DID to get them back!!!!!!

    December 2, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. debbyarr

    The Democrats in Congress better worry about themselves. Obama is more popular than they are. And if there's anything wrong with America right now, the Democrats in Congress are the only ones who can fix it. The President just has veto power.

    These people in Washington DC better quit thinking we're stupid or that we aren't watching what they do.

    December 2, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  25. Lisa

    Here's a clue people: you have elected a leader who is unqualified and does not know how to fix the problem. And he does not care if you are unemployed...he cares only for his own agenda, including pushing through health care reform. You got what you voted for...

    December 2, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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