“The American people, at this point, are wondering about congressional leadership in failing to pass the jobs bill — the components of which the majority of Americans, including many Republicans — think are a good idea,” Mr. Obama said at a news conference in Hawaii at the conclusion of a Pacific summit.
He said Republican lawmakers are likely to pay a price at the polls next November for standing in the way of his proposals, which include new spending on construction projects, expansion of a temporary payroll tax cut and extended unemployment benefits. He said the impasse was less a reflection on his leadership than on GOP lawmakers, whose approval ratings have dropped precipitously.
“And that’s part of the reason why the American people right now aren’t feeling real good about Congress,” Mr. Obama said. “Normally, by the way, the way politics works is if the overwhelming majority of the American people aren’t happy with what you’re doing, you start doing something different. So far that hasn’t happened in Congress — and the Republicans in Congress in particular.”
The Senate last week passed two pieces of the plan totaling about $30 billion — tax credits for businesses that hire veterans, and repeal of a tax on government contractors. The House is expected to address the legislation this week.
Mr. Obama said he will “keep pushing” for his entire plan, and that GOP lawmakers who oppose him risk the wrath of voters.
“My expectation is that we will just keep on chipping away at this,” Mr. Obama said. “If you’re asking me do I anticipate that the Republican leadership in the House or the Senate will suddenly decide that I was right all along and they will adopt 100 percent of my proposals, the answer is no. I don’t expect that. Do I anticipate that at some point they recognize that doing nothing is not an option? That’s my hope. And that should be their hope too, because if they don’t, I think we’ll have a different set of leaders in Congress.”