December 2nd, 2009
05:32 PM ET
11 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. Jay

    Yeah let's hand the Republicans more stuff they can use to defeat Democrats. Oh wait we're Democrats. Kind of stupid right?

    December 2, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. dee

    And exactly what are these Congressmen/women doing to create jobs? or are they waiting on Obama to do it for them? they are responsible for their constituents just as much (if not moreso) than Obama is...so if he isn't doing nothing, they are doing even less...

    December 2, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. vwrtb

    Let me guess... lack of government regulation tanks our economy... now republicans want government intervention to create jobs... I bet conservatives are constantly dizzy from talking themselves in circles... hypocrites!

    December 2, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. Gupta

    I have been unemployed since Sept 2008. I have Masters degree and have some certifications in IT. I am not getting any response. My Unemployment runs out in 4 months. Please President OBAMA, HELP US.

    December 2, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Felonious Monk

    Let's try to fix everything all at once. Let's not focus energy on an issue until it is done.

    I don't think any politician has room to throw stones in their glass houses.

    December 2, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Judy Gafford

    Our workers have knowledge and standards which the countries
    that are making our products do not, quality is at the bottom of the
    list now for five years.
    Every President who faced the challenge as Obama is, sent the immigrants and illegal aliens back for one good reason!,
    American's at home and coming home from War could find a job,
    Bush and Obama did not do this and the American people are living
    in a nightmare still with no hope in sight.
    America is going backwards in ten year hops every year since Reagan, with priority given to immigrants and illegal aliens who have proven that won't go by our laws and they don't is keep America down.

    December 2, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Brian SD

    Should be a good turn out... work shouldn't factor into it.

    December 2, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Ruth

    Is it the President's job to create jobs or businesses. Large or small corporations are not creating jobs, whose shoulders does this fall on?

    December 2, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Carl Justus

    All the first money should have been to repair the infrastructure in the first place.

    Why give tax cuts to the working instead of jobs to the unemployed. Those already working do not need a tax cut, but the unemployed sure need a job.

    Republicans only know two words and that is tax cuts, they are so darn greedy they want a little more and still sell their souls to the lobbyists for more money asking for more tax cuts.

    December 2, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Hammerer

    Jobs? Just more campaign rhetoric. Vote for me and I'll give you jobs, money, what ever you want. Just be sure you vote and as soon as possible, after all my buddies have been rewarded, you will get, for free, all your hearts desires.

    December 2, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Capricorn7NC

    I agree that more attention needs to be paid to jobs. We are a country that has an economy that is over 60% supported by consumer spending. When more and more people do not have jobs it impedes on consumer spending, which in effect hurts the economy. People lose homes and some become homeless, which hurts the banks, and people can not take care of their children, which hurts our future. Then you get reports that less layoffs are happening, which does not account for the fact that you have a real unemployment rate that exceeds 10.2%. Remember, the unemployment rate only accounts for people receiving an unemployment check. It does not count people who do not receive a check anymore. I applaud trying to end this war as quickly as possible, because he said that the money paid for this war is taking away from our ability to create jobs, fund health care reform, or do anything else we need to do to rebuild our own nation.

    December 2, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. whatever

    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

    There will be no complaining about the (bend over this wont hurt a bit package) . Just more proof these IDIOT'S are clueless. Don't u get it ? B.O does not care about job's as long as his friend's have one and his party get's there Billions from the (bend over package ) HE DOES NOT CARE. Period. This job's summit is another one of his (let's look like we care and know what were doing moment's. This guy really is scary.

    December 2, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Bettie

    I think everyone is putting too much baggage on obama that was created by their own negligent in the first place. This is everyone’s responsibility as it is his. And everyone should put their hands on it. The war, employment and healthcare he can’t fix this over night this things takes time. Where were the democrats when bush broke this country one by one? Now they want obama to do everything while they stand on side line with no kind of loud support. I don’t hear anything from them. I never seen anything like this before from media to Politician and the world is asking him to create a miracles he is only one man for god sake.

    December 2, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. Ralph

    Since we are unemployed, who is going to pay for us to have a trip to Washington to march? Can this be done on one of Obama's celebrity entertainment nights so we might get some scraps of that $100.00 dollar a pound kobe steak out of the Whitehouse dumpster? Thanks for the job I don't have Prez..

    December 2, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Bob in Pa

    When will these people learn that Government can not create jobs.

    December 2, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. valwayne

    Democrats in Congress have a tremendous amount of nerve trying to blame Obama for not doing enough about UNEMPLOYMENT. The blame for 10.2% UNEMPLOYMENT needs to be shared equally between the Democrats in Congress and Obama. They all rushed to pass the corrupt stimulous bill that was loaded with special interest paybacks and nothing for the American people. They were warned that it would be a disaster, but decided that massive corrupt spending by the Government was the answer. WRONG! Now their answer is more massive corrupt spending. They never learn!!!

    December 2, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. m jeff

    How many American jobs has Obama sent to China, Mexico, and India. It's the greedy CEOs.

    December 2, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. terry,va

    I agree. Where's the jobs Obummie? Your stimulus bill is a joke. Your health care bill and cap and trade bill also kill jobs. The black caucus has even turned against you. My hope that you can get anything done is nil.

    December 2, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. Mike in MN

    Obama's own base is even turning on him over lack of jobs. One might ask though, how did those now turing on the failed stimulus vote in the first place. Republicans said the stimulus would not work and voted against it. If some Dems had voted against it also, it might have been defeated and a good bill created in its place. Too late now.

    December 2, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. mark

    obamma did promise to keep unemplyment at 8.7%...

    December 2, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. Timothy H.

    Everyone is going to have to be way more patient than this. Jobs are not just going to magically pop up after just 9 months of Obama's presidency, after 8 yrs of an economic downturn! NO ONE can make this happen any faster! That's just not the way it works. BE PATIENT PEOPLE and give our President a chance to fix what the Bush Administration so conveniently left behind!

    December 2, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Karen

    IT TOOK US 8 LOOOONG YEARS TO GET INTO THIS MESS! I think we need to be more patient and allow President Obama time to reverse the Bush Administration damages.

    December 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Mike

    Is Rush throwing his hat in the ring next (for 2012)?

    December 2, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  24. 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 HuffPost 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 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. Vets4Obama

    Only 17 republicans care enough to be on the committee? Just more proof that republicans really don't care. They are nothing but talk, but when action is needed, as usual they are MIA.

    December 2, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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