By Amie Parnes - 05/08/12 06:38 PM EDT
An at-times sarcastic President Obama on Tuesday prodded Congress to take “bold action” to help the economy, arguing an election year is “no excuse for inaction.”
Speaking at the University of Albany, Obama mapped out a what he called a “handy little ‘to-do' list” for Congress, while swiping Republicans on Capitol Hill for standing in the way of his agenda during a down economy.
“I know this is an election year but it’s not an excuse for inaction,” Obama said.
Obama’s tone turned wry at one point in his presentation as he said he was keeping his plan short to ensure lawmakers had the time to focus on it.
“I’m not trying to overload Congress here,” Obama said before adding that his five-point plan is “about the size of a Post-it note, so every member of Congress should have time to read it.”
Republicans fired back that it is Obama who was recycling old ideas, while their party was taking action to help the economy.
“While the president is recycling five old ideas, Republicans in the House have already sent the Senate a much lengthier ‘to-do’ list,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). “We’ve passed nearly 30 jobs bills to increase American competitiveness, expand domestic energy production and rein in the red tape that is burdening small businesses. Democrats are blocking every one of them.”
As Obama spoke, Buck slammed the president on Twitter for having “reduced his agenda to the size of a Post-it-note.”
Obama’s proposal includes a number of items Obama has previously sought that went nowhere in Congress, including eliminating tax incentives for companies that outsource jobs as well as tax credits for small businesses that invest in clean energy.
Obama also again called on Congress to pass legislation to pass a Veterans Job Corps, which aims to help troops find work as police officers and firefighters after they return home from war.
Later this week, during a visit to Nevada — a swing state that has been hit hard by foreclosures — he will ask Congress to pass legislation that could help responsible homeowners refinance their homes. But before this gets done, Obama called on Congress to keep student loans from doubling, something he has been touting heavily lately in speeches across the country.
The president’s remarks come three days after Obama held his first “official” campaign rallies of the year in Ohio and Virginia. During that campaign kick-off over the weekend, he attempted to link congressional Republicans to his likely opponent Mitt Romney, saying that he would “rubber stamp” all of their legislation.
Obama’s speech in Albany on Tuesday had some of the same themes — including the word “forward,” a prominent slogan in his reelection campaign.
“Here in America, we don’t give up. We keep moving forward,” Obama said. “If we work together with common purpose, we can keep moving this country forward.”
—This story was updated at 3:13 p.m.