In the hours after President Obama's jobs speech to Congress Thursday, pundits marveled that the president had pulled off the impossible--he looked strong while offering a proposal that appeared so bipartisan Republicans would have a hard time opposing it. Senator Scott Brown's reaction--"It's time to unite. Who doesn't want good roads and bridges?"--wasn't that surprising, given he's a Republican in Massachusetts, but House Republican leader Eric Cantor's was: "There are certainly goals the President outlined that we can work with him on. We should work quickly to pass the areas where we agree." But now that Obama's detailed how, exactly, he wants to pay for the plan--spiking tax credits for wealthy people and some companies--the GOP has found its footing. It is now safe for Republicans to say Obama's jobs plan isn't so great after all.
The New York Times' Helene Cooper and Jennifer Steinhauer report that after Obama said he'd pay for his $447 billion plan with $467 billion in changes to the tax code--including tax increases on rich folks--the reporters' inboxes were flooded. One House Republican staffer's subject line: "Beware the Tax Man." House Speaker John Boehner's spokesman said Obama's plan "doesn't appear to have been offered in that bipartisan spirit." And now Cantor finds Obama's repetitive goading annoying: "To say 'pass my bill' 17 times is not the tone nor is it a way forward for us that will be acceptable to the American people." Sen. Jon Kyl complained about Obama, "I thought he was Mr. Compromise anyway? Maybe I was wrong about that."
Why did all the bipartisan niceness die with the weekend on Monday? Politico's Jake Sherman and Carrie Budoff Brown note all the things Republicans don't like: "raising taxes on high-end earners, private jet owners, and oil and gas companies," plus "extending unemployment insurance benefits without the promise of reform," not to mention they think Obama's infrastructure bank proposal sounds a lot like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the center of the housing crisis.
As Kyl complained on the Senate floor, "The government can only give money to a food stamp recipient by taxing that money from someone else or from borrowing that money, and eventually that borrowed money needs to be paid back... There's no free lunch," Roll Call's Steven T. Dennis and Jessica Brady report. Not for people on food stamps, and not for the president, either.