US President Barack Obama urged Congress Saturday to pass his job creation plan without delay, arguing it will make it possible for businesses to hire more workers and for Americans to find jobs.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said the time for action on his proposal "is now."
"No more games or gridlock. No more division or delay," he stressed. "It's time for the people you sent to Washington to put country before party -- to stop worrying so much about their jobs and start worrying more about yours."
Obama's $447 billion plan was unveiled earlier this month in an attempt to kickstart efforts to combat 9.1 percent unemployment in the world's biggest economy and restore trust in his economic leadership.
The centerpiece of the proposal is a deeper-than-expected $240 billion payroll tax cut for employers and employees, meant to spur consumer demand and encourage firms to hire new workers.
Some key economists have given the blueprint a positive review, even though the plan is unlikely to emerge unscathed from the Republican-led House of Representatives.
Obama insisted that his proposal would cut taxes for every worker and small business in the country.
"And it will not add to the deficit," he promised. "It will be paid for."
However Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have been skeptical of the president's plan. House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday that the president's proposals were "a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America."
Obama sent his jobs plan to Congress last Monday. He plans to submit another plan on September 19 to explain how he will pay for the legislation, without adding to the US budget deficit.
However, a new opinion poll made public late Friday indicated that failure to to reduce the ranks of the unemployed continued to pose a serious political threat to Obama.
The poll showed Americans were divided about the president's latest $447 billion plan to spur job creation.
Forty-eight percent of those polled said they were somewhat or very confident that Obama's proposals would create jobs and stimulate the economy. But about as many people -- 47 percent -- said they were not at all sure the plan will do that.
Just one in four Americans thought Obama had made real progress fixing the economy, with 68 percent saying they do not think he has, according to the survey.
The poll conducted among a random sample of 1,452 adults nationwide September 10-15 had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
But Obama expressed confidence in his plan's eventual success.
"This jobs bill puts construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and modernizing our schools," he said in his address. "This jobs bill puts teachers back in the classroom, and keeps cops and firefighters on our streets."
Source: AFP Global Edition