WASHINGTON - (AP) - Confronting an economy in peril, PresidentBarack Obama unveiled a larger-than-expected $450 billion planThursday night to boost jobs and put cash in the pockets ofdispirited Americans, urging Republican skeptics to embrace anapproach heavy on the tax cuts they traditionally love. Withmillions of voters watching and skeptical of Washington, Obamarepeatedly challenged Congress to act swiftly.
The newest and boldest element of Obama's plan would slash theSocial Security payroll tax both for tens of millions of workersand for employers, too. For individuals, that tax has been shavedfrom 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for this year but is to go back upagain without action by Congress. Obama wants to keep it and deepenthe cut to 3.1 percent for workers.
"This plan is the right thing to do right now," Obama saidafter a divided body rose in warm unison to greet him. "You shouldpass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of thiscountry."
In his televised address to Congress, Obama sought to provide ajolt for the economy, still staggering on his watch, and for hisown standing at one of the lowest marks of his presidency. He putforth a jobs plan that he hopes can get bipartisan support and spurhiring in a nation where 14 million people remain out of work andthe jobless rate is stuck at 9.1 percent. Public confidence in hisstewardship of the economy is eroding.