December 2nd, 2009
05:32 PM ET
8 years ago

Obama takes heat from Democrats over jobs

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Whatever...

    I am unemployed/underemployed and i appreciate the Jobs Now Caucus directing attention to job creation in this country. However, i do think that healthcare reform could create more jobs and more importantly is long overdue. Don't see why we can't do both. I also don't think the gov't can solve this problem with a bill. Corporate greed has made companies mad. For so long greed was encouraged and promoted by our gov't–Reagan and the Bushes. We have to face facts that corproations don't care about us. They only care about profits. American workers are now being treated like American corporations have treated workers around the globe for decades. This is THE NEW WORLD ORDER.

    December 2, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Mark

    I've seen that Rush guy speak on tv, I bet he can't even spell jobs, how do such dumb people get elected?

    December 2, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. 9corona

    Too little, too late. I am looking forward to the next round of elections – or more to the point – the primaries. I am voting out my incumbent's – and if they win the primaries, crossing party lines during the general election.

    Florida will be:

    Meek-less in 2010

    Nelson-free in 2012

    December 2, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. MatthewDetroit

    NO KIDDING... The Dems on Capital HIll are finally calling the EMPTY SUIT out...

    Barack does not have any idea how to fix the economy.
    He can not blame President Bush ANY longer.
    He has to take responsiblity.
    He is spending money like a drunken sailor and there are NO knew jobs. Period. There is still 10.2%+ unemployment.

    VOTE NO on the Healh Care Bill.....THIS will only raise cost and taxes.
    VOTE NO on the Cap and Trade Bill ... AL GORE IS A LIAR
    TRY CREATING Jobs instead of giving out welfare checks and unemployment checks.... STOP SPENDING MONEY.
    STop spending on Illegals.

    December 2, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. VernisRobertson

    These people have nothing else better to do . First of all doing then Canindate Obama told eveyone that things are not going to be easy . That it will take 2 yrs before he can turn the economy around . What people don't listen ,this is not the time for Bobby Rush to be Grand Standing. Everyone once to be famous this not the time ,their to many things in the world for one man to correct .What is Bobby Rush doing for his district trying to bring companies in his area.. He needs to go somewhere and sit down .

    December 2, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Obama Victim

    now it was my understanding that the Obama stimulus was going to solve this employment problem.........another empty promise from an empty suit??

    December 2, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. Otis

    Let's be honest on a few things here:

    (1) Congress should not be creating jobs for us by creating more rules and regulations. Instead it should be legislating away these roadblocks to make for a better playing field for entrepreneurs to play in.

    (2) Congress has no intention of passing a health care bill. Either special interests (once again) got to Congress or they realize if they make radical changes that create larger deficits, those who initiated the bill (see Democats) will never be elected again to public office.

    I think if Congress started to bluntly lay out these assessments, their approval rating would go up...but only a bit.

    December 2, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Ain't life strange?

    Here's an idea Mr. Rush and Ms. Kaptur... why don't you guys put your heads together, come up some solid legislation, get it thru the house and senate and then on to Mr. Obama's desk to sign or veto! WOW. I don't think I'd wait for the low fuel light to come on in my car before I pulled over and got gas. Don't wait till unemplyment gets to 15% to take action. Make a difference... do something!!

    December 2, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Paul

    It's George W. and his Republicans thugs that put us where we're at today. Hopefully, President Obama can clean up yet another mess he inherited.

    December 2, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. We're with you Bobby........

    stop work on Obamacare,

    get out of Afghanistan......

    Start working on JOBS.......

    December 2, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. Bren

    The Democrats are going to get clobbered in 2010-–this is based on NUMEROUS national polls.

    EVERYTHING that the majority in the country have said that they do NOT want-–health care disaster, cap and tax energy bill, terrorists brought to the US for civil court on US soil instead of military court, closing of Gitmo, amnesty for illegals---the Democrats continue to try to shove down our throats anyways!!

    And, on top of this-–a 10.2% unemployment rate!!!

    Based on numerous recent polls-–the Independents plan on voting for the Republicans in 2010 by 52% to 30%--you do NOT win elections without the Independents!!!

    It is going to be funny watching the pro-Obama main stream media with the shock/puzzled look on their faces after the 2010 elections--when MANY Democrats are sent to the unemployment lines!!!

    December 2, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Sea.gem

    ...the way the media portrays it the Right is the only party with rifts..sort of funny to watch the beggars and unskilled of the Left demand more Obama money...don't they know that he only buys votes at election time?...except for the gifts to the unions with tax payer's that CEO of GM working out..oops...more wasted let's go screw up healh care reform...unbelievable what happens when you give the keys to an inexperienced con-man

    December 2, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. VelvetElvis

    Funny ... he says "Something's obviously not getting through to *them* ..."

    Isn't HE one of THEM? C'mon! What are you doing to help out your own constituents? On the surface, it seems like you and all the other Reps who are complaining are just sitting back and waiting for O to waive some magic wand which he's never purported to possess.

    December 2, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Whatever...

    Tax credits for job creation? Is that what the bill would propose?

    Stimulus money for Greentech manufacturers?

    December 2, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. MatthewDetroit


    THEY PASSED A BILL where they can shut down companies.
    They can shut down private industry.
    They can invade private industry.
    They can take money from one business to put into another business.


    This is totally illegal.

    December 2, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. MatthewDetroit

    OUR congress is out of control.

    They are trying to take over the whole financial sector.

    December 2, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  17. Memphis Tigers

    Finally, some representatives get it. We don't care about gays getting married, what fox or the radio is saying, we care about getting people back to work so they can provide for their families. That is our biggest concern. Everything else is secondary. As soon as you get people working again, then we can discuss killing babies and Sarah Palin. If liberals worried about getting jobs as much as they doing hating conservatives, they might be able to do something constructive with their power.

    December 2, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. redisgreat

    Oh yeah, blame Obama. He is obviously sitting on a huge pile of $$ and can wave a magic wand over any problem and fix it. You can tell that simply by looking at all the other problems he has fixed since coming to office. Congress is the problem here, not the President. Bush had the same problems with the lame Dems in Congress so why should anyone care about what a bunch of ineffective Dems have to say.
    Voters need to impose term limits by voting out EVERYONE in the Senate and the House in the next election cycles (Senate will take longer since they are not all up at the same time). If the Congress realizes that we want action on things then they may actually do something while in Washington.

    December 2, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. ATL Guy

    I strongly believe that some of these Democrats need to be voted out of office. After years in the minority they do not seem to know how to act like a majority group. With the Republicans there's no question of allegiance to an idea but with Democrats they're all over the place trying to outdo each other with sound bites. If they lose the majority in the House and Senate they have no one to blame but themselves.

    December 2, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. GOP 2012

    Wow, you know unemployment is bad when your own party is plotting to do a march in protest for the lack of jobs created by the Obama Administration. Hopefully, more people begin to see the light and realize Obama isn't bring change or hope.

    December 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. AJ

    What all three fail to mention is that their biggest campaign contributors are labor unions. One can be sure that the jobs they are most concerned with are jobs that will benefit those unions. Healthcare has been left by the wayside for years and its time to reform the way we manage our healthcare resources.

    December 2, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. bob in LA

    Why don't Rep. Rush and his friends DO SOMETHING? They're the law,makers, rule makers, and the money guys! To blame Obama's staff personally sounds like he is passing the buck.
    I'm not saying that when a citizens blames the administration they are wrong, but when its one of the guys with the purse strings and the means to do something... the blame stops with him
    RUSH- send Obama an idea for hime to sign, then he wil have done something!

    December 2, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. A.M.E.

    And how, exactly, are all these unemployed people going to afford a trip to Washington?

    December 2, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    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.
    That's because in spite of what was claimed by Nancy, Harry, Barry and Joe, the Stimulus bill was not about jobs. It was about raiding the US Treasury for pet spending projects. It was about paying back supporters for the 2008 election. That's why it has had no impact on unemployment.

    December 2, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    Um, little problem with **creating** jobs, folks. Unless it is a government run job program, Mr. Obama hasn't much pull. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't government involvement in big business a big no-no where Congress is concerned?

    How about if Congress takes the peoples concerns to their caucus members, you know, the ones who support big business and have been extremely quiet as business after business refuses to rehire, even while these businesses continue racking in billions in profits.

    Or better yet, Congress would serve it's people by, well, **encouraging** big business to start hiring again...

    Yelling and finger pointing at the president isn't going to accomplish much. He hasn't the authority to start businesses on behalf of anyone.

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