President Obama on Wednesday sought momentum for his $447 billion jobs package by emphasizing he would push the Senate to quickly take up the veteran employment component of the bill.
Obama promised to keep fighting for the veterans and service members in the audience. He tied his commitment to another pledge to keep fighting to pass the jobs bill, even in bits and pieces.
“These are tough times for America, but we’ve faced tough times before. And nobody’s tougher than America’s armed forces,” he said.
Obama and wife Michelle, who joined him on stage, announced that with this week’s commitment of the American Logistics Association to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013, they are a quarter of the way to the 100,000 veteran job goal he set in August.
But Obama also promoted his jobs bill, saying he included the goal of increased veteran employment when he introduced the bill to Congress.
“When I proposed this idea in a joint session of Congress, people stood up and applauded on both sides of the aisle. So when it comes to a vote in the Senate, I expect to get votes from both sides of the aisle. Don’t just applaud about it, vote for it,” Obama urged.
“So far, Congress hasn’t passed the bill. But I want you to know I’ve been pushing them a little bit,” Obama said, to laughter from the crowd.
Obama has traveled to multiple states giving speeches about his American Jobs Act since he produced the bill early in September, repeatedly challenging Congress to act.
The Senate blocked the bill in its entirety, but Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he plans to take up the components of the bill individually. Obama had dropped his previously repeated refrain of “Pass this bill” in the speech Wednesday.