December 2nd, 2009
05:32 PM ET
8 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. Barbara

    President Obama needs everyone to stop playing political games here so they sound good back home. The President has said this recovery will take time as he brought us back from the brink of financial disaster. Things are slowly picking up-which means the jobs are coming too. The President needs our continued support as he tires to right so very, very many wrongs which have left us in an economic disaster and seen as ruthless around the world. I support the President and trust his decisions.

    December 2, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Clark

    All we need do is add the unemployed to the ranks of those who
    don't want to work. You know, include them in with the Democrats.

    December 2, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Clark

    Oh yes, I forgot...know what I'm sayin'?

    December 2, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  4. Joe stafura Pittsburgh PA

    What honeymoon? 2 wars, huge deficit, Wall Street had taken over the government (it is still way too prevalent) and you want promises about unemployment.

    This is a time that jobs are created, not found, structural downturns are like that everytime because what you used to do isn't worth as much.

    The US is still the largest manufacturer, has the strongest innovation system in the public-private partnership of universities and industries.

    Obama is smart enough to unwind the wars, the American people need to get off of their over fed asses and make it happen.

    December 2, 2009 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. vette gal

    Rather than put the blame on Obama, why not put the blame for our loss of jobs where it belongs....on the large corporations that put profit first by outsourcing jobs to other countries.

    December 2, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  6. FLAGSHIP, NC

    People need to understand that Government can not create jobs.
    It is the private sector/business that create jobs. Stop playing the blame game!

    December 2, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Sean

    Why is everything framed as if it has to be either or? Like here in this article, where Rush and Kaptur state that "a new jobs program is more important than health care reform". What does health care reform have to do with it? Both are important, so how about not trying to bash one project just to boost your own project?

    December 2, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. randy1234@hotmail.com

    Government waste, that's all it is.

    December 2, 2009 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. nadine

    Where's the jobs! Ask the past presidents that dug this country in this hole!!! The corruption of the greed, your days are number.

    December 2, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. A.B.

    I am glad that Democrats are calling attention to the main issue right now-Jobs, full employment. They are reminding Obama of the imperative of putting people back to work!! This will revive the economy. The stimulus strategy should be jobs, jobs and more jobs!!
    It is not giving stimulus money to corporations. President Obama should be reminded of who his constituents are and how he got elected. I say that if the economy does not turn around next year, the Democrats will lose their majority and will be out of power. The Democrats have awoken to this fact, I hope that Obama does likewise.

    December 2, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. Enough

    Don't you people get it? Obama cannot create jobs, he doesn't own a business. Obamas policies can lead to job creation. Democrats policies on the table include tax increases on businesses both small and large and are continuing to add new burden to employers, like forcing health care coverage..............all this kills jobs and sends more companies over seas. You want jobs, encourage businesses to grow and hire and stay in our country. Tax decreases for small business give us more operating capital. We don't need a loan we need business. It's not rocket science folks, simple common sense, which is what the Democrats are lacking. It is a well known fact the Democrats are NOT business friendly. Unions only destroy business and that's all Obama understands is Union bailouts.

    December 2, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. MT

    The thousands of car dealership jobs that were "saved" weren't enough?

    Just call it like it was, just another name for Welfare.

    Short term "fix" for a long term problem.

    When is the last time the US was an INNOVATION LEADER in any industry? Heck China is going to surpass our bloated space program in 4 – 5 years.

    December 2, 2009 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Lori

    Yes, I agree our President needs to focus on jobs first and health care second but I have full confidence that our President will fix the mess he was left with. The Republicans have definately shown that they can put us into a mess but have not proven to get us out of them (so they really need to stop complaining).

    But oh yeah, the Republicans care about American jobs. Oh, that's right under Republican rule, we had millions of American jobs outsourced to China and other countries. But yes, Republicans, keep on pretending you care.

    December 2, 2009 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  14. Ed P.

    Don't blame government for joblessness, blame the corporations. Blame the government for continuing to extend unemployment benefits and welfare...sure – but not for lost jobs. Cut CEO pay, break up the giant monopolies and eliminate the outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries and we'll have one of the greatest job recoveries of all time.

    December 2, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Barbara

    Jobs are indeed of utmost importance...but it 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 Republicans – stick together). The President has a Jobs Summit scheduled and it is preliminary for fellow Democrats to criticize before this event and its eventual recommendations. Methinks they feel a need to distance themselves from what has been a horrible, orchestrated and frustrating first year for the President (through no fault of his own).

    Hang together Democrats and support your Leader – Your Presiddent and Your Commander in Chief!!!!!

    December 2, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Lynette Ray

    I am in complete support of a march of the unemployed on Washington DC. Tell me when it will take place – I will be there. The message needs to be brought home to the people who are supposed to be solving the problem, i.e. the Washington politicians. The message needs to be brought home to the world. The United States economy is non-existant because without jobs we have no consumption and without consumption we have no economy.

    December 2, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. Pat

    Being unemployed is devastating. Believe me, I understand that perfectly. However, there are some posters on this blog who sound as if President Obama is personally responsible for getting them a job. Whether you like him or not, he is the U.S. President not a Human Resources Director. For those who complain, I always wonder if they have done everything they can to make themselves employable or is the time being spent complaining about the President. Complaining is only appropriate if you're doing everything you can. If someone has been doing the same type of work for 10, 20, 30 years and lost their job, then it might mean opening up to the possibility of doing something else. If you can’t get a job in same field that you had, then look at what other skills you might have that can be used to start your own business or do some other type of work. As far as I know, “complaining and whining” are not marketable skills. President Obama can’t do anything about personal responsibility or personal motivation.

    December 2, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Chipster

    Those who sat silently for the past 8 years, or actually supported the devastation by the Bush Administration, suddenly expect the damage to be reverse in a matter of months? I'm sure the President knew that there would be impatience and criticism. Perhaps if people had been less fearful and tolerant for the past 8 years we wouldn't be in the mess we're in right now.

    December 2, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. They call me "tater salad"

    Welcome to America, where we want it all, we want it now,and we want it for free!!!............Send us your sick, tired, poor and oppressed.......And we'll do everything we can to make sure they stay that way!!.......Once again............Welcome to America, enjoy your stay.

    December 2, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. Tom ( Milwaukee)

    FINALLY a Democrat who gets it!! It is jobs first. Everything else comes afterwards. I too want health care reform ( the Democratic version , not the Republican version) but it will have to wait.

    December 2, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Buck Wheat

    And you FOOLS still like this guy? Obama needs to step down NOW!

    December 2, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  22. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Home sales up(I refinanced from 6.5 to 4.78 via H.A.R.P saving 150/month), increased manufacturing, increased consumer spending and no sign of inflation on the horizon according to the latest Fed report in the latest month proves the economy is gaining traction, which means President Obama;s stimulus is working, maybe not as fast and in all areas that we all want, but it is improving. 8 of the 12 reporting districts showed improvements and 4 stayed the same none declined

    Instead of just whining. try counting your blessings and try to be happy the country is recovering.

    If you are a member of the "Pary of No" with the stated party agenda to see that President Obama "fails" and meets his "Waterloo", you are exempt it would be too much to expect any of you to see any good that President Obama may have helped to bring to the country.

    December 2, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. Fiscal Responsibility

    First of all if Bush is to blame for everything a failed congress did for 8 years Obama is to blame for everything a failed congress is doing now. Fair is fair!
    If you check you will see that less than a quarter of the corrupt stimulus fraud is spent. So take that and redirect it to jobs. Infrastructure is a key need for near term future. A shovel ready project is here is a shovel dig here today, not we need to take bids and see what kickbacks are offered.
    In WW2 China needed a road to Rangoon to bring supplies in. Civil Engineering firms said 7 years and you provide the CAT machines. China sent in over 1 million shovels and had the road done in under 1 year.
    We need to place all other political desires on hold and get the unemployed working. Then we need to warm up some tar and gather some feathers and replace congress with people not on the take, without cash in their freezers, willing to be on the public option, willing to cap and trade CEO salaries at 20 times that companies average worker ,remove all those who broke into our country to steal (unemployment number is about the same as number of illeagals)and finally protect America with mandated trade balance.

    December 2, 2009 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. Gerry NH

    To be politically correct we must call the people in congress congressmen or congresswomen. We must remain fair to these people in congress and they should be call congress clunkers.

    December 2, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. Idiot_Pelosi

    Where in here is a surprise? The SNO-BAMA SOCIALIST agenda is failing. No tele-prompter "feel good" speeches are going to work anymore.

    With more GOVT control comes less inititative, less growth, more burdensome, more expenses, more taxes (that people refuse to pay), and more chaos.

    We NEED CHANGE
    IMPEACH OBOZO

    December 2, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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