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Axelrod: 'We're not in a negotiation' on Obama $447B jobs package

Obama's top political adviser David Axelrod said Tuesday that the administration was unwilling to break up the president’s $447 billion jobs plan if Republicans were only receptive to passing certain elements.

"We're not in a negotiation to break up the package. It's not an à la carte menu. It's a strategy to get this country moving,” Axelrod said Tuesday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"The president has a package; the package works together. We need to do many things to get this economy moving," Axelrod said.

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Republicans have been reluctant to embrace the bill, in particular its plan to rely on tax hikes on wealthy Americans and business to pay for the proposals. But even before the White House announced those tax provisions on Monday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had said the administration would need to negotiate on its proposed package of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and unemployment benefits.

“We remain eager to work together on ways to support job growth, but this proposal doesn’t appear to have been offered in that bipartisan spirit,” Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said Monday in a statement that referred to several tax hikes on the rich and businesses that Obama would use to pay for the package.

While Axelrod said the package was not an al a carte menu, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has suggested there could be a negotiation.


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She has called on GOP lawmakers to examine the bill closely and has suggested that there are proposals which the Republicans can back.

"A proposal has been put forth. Pass it, change it, make your own suggestions adding to it, but let's act upon it," Pelosi said last week.

Other members of the Democratic leadership, though, are unwilling to break up the proposal. Rep. John Larson (Conn.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said a piecemeal strategy would damage Congress’s reputation further.

“The public perceives that as kicking the can down the road, and not stepping up,” Larson said Friday during a short news briefing. “[Obama’s] got a plan. He’s laid it out there. What is the problem with voting it up or down?

Axelrod praised Obama’s proposal as the only real solution to creating jobs and directed harsh criticism at the Republican GOP field, which participated in a CNN-Tea Party Express debate Monday night in Tampa, Fla.

He said none of the Republican presidential contenders had any solutions for boosting job creation.

"What voters learned was that they — really none of them had much to say about how they were going to create jobs now, how they were going to build an economy that works," said Axelrod.

“The president has a specific plan that would put teachers back in the classroom, put construction workers back at rebuilding bridges roads, that would put veterans back to work. There was nothing like that last night," he said about the GOP debate.

"The thing they all seem to agree on is that we need to preserve those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, corporate loopholes for the oil industry and roll back rules on Wall Street, which seems to be how we got into trouble in the first place," he alleged.

Axelrod was asked if the president matched up better for 2012 against Perry or Romney. "At the end of the day, they have differences, but they support the same kind of things," he said.