By Sam Youngman - 09/08/11 10:00 PM EDT
President Obama will challenge lawmakers to stop the “political circus” when he unveils his American Jobs Act to a joint session of Congress Thursday night.
Obama will tell Congress that his jobs package, which includes cutting the employee payroll tax in half, should not be “controversial,” according to excerpts of the highly anticipated speech circulated by the White House.
“The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities,” Obama will say. “The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours.
Obama has hinged much of his reelection campaign and the nation’s economic recovery on the contents of Thursday night's speech and his subsequent campaign to sell the package.
Shortly before traveling to Capitol Hill on Thursday, the president sent out a fundraising email to his supporters saying he wanted to “remind you that the fight to create jobs — and provide the kind of economic security for middle-class families that's been slipping away over the last decade — won't begin or end with the speech I give tonight.”
“What happens will be up to you,” Obama wrote. “In the coming days and weeks, it will be up to you to pressure Congress to act — or hold them accountable if they do not.”
Obama was set to send Congress specific legislation next week outlining his jobs package that he will say lawmakers “should pass right away.”
“It’s called the American Jobs Act,” Obama will say. “There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans — including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.”
The president will say that “the purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.”
“It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed,” the excerpts said. “It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away.”