Washington – President Barack Obama sent Congress Monday his $447 billion plan for job creation and repeated, at least a dozen times, that lawmakers should pass it immediately.
"This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country," he said in an 11-minute speech from the White House Rose Garden that included a warning to the Republican opposition not to "play politics" with the issue.
"The fact of the matter is the next election is 14 months away. And the American people don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months for Congress to take action," the president said, pointing out that his plan takes ideas from both Republicans and Democrats, so that it can logically be supported by both parties.
"And the American Jobs Act is not going to add to the debt - it's fully paid for," Obama said. "I want to repeat that. It is fully paid for. It's not going to add a dime to the deficit."
After more than two years of the worst recession in almost 80 years, the unemployment rate in the United States remains above 9 percent, while some 43 percent of the jobless have been out of work for more than six months.
Obama said his plan will create employment for teachers, police, firefighters and "millions of unemployed construction workers."
"Pass this bill and we put construction crews back to work across the country repairing and modernizing at least 35,000 schools," Obama said, adding that his plan offers tax credits "for companies that hire anybody who spent more than six months looking for a job."
Next week the White House will present more precise ideas about how the plan will be financed.
Obama limited himself Monday to emphasizing that all the measures included will have guaranteed funding and insisted that "millionaires and billionaires" will have to contribute their "fair share" to the efforts being made to bolster the economy.
The president had announced the plan last Thursday during a speech before a joint session of Congress.