Bloomberg News

Plouffe Blames Republicans, Tea Party for Washington Gridlock

September 25, 2011

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Republican congressional leaders are putting the welfare of the majority of Americans behind the agenda of Tea Party members of the U.S. House, said David Plouffe, a White House special adviser.

In pressing President Barack Obama’s jobs creation bill, Plouffe blamed Republican leaders and the Tea Party, whose members advocate reducing government spending, taxes and budget deficits, for the Washington gridlock that has led to standoffs over spending and economic legislation this year.

“The Republican leadership is putting their demands ahead of the needs of 300 million Americans, and that has to stop,” Plouffe said on the “Fox News Sunday” program. “I think the country is tired of it.”

Plouffe’s comments are part of an administration offensive to pressure Republicans as the president takes his case for his jobs plan on the road.

With the jobless rate now at 9.1 percent, Obama has proposed a $447 billion plan that is a mix of tax cuts and spending that would include tens of billions of dollars to rebuild roads, bridges and schools, an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed and aid for states and local governments to avert layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters.

To pay for the proposal, the president has suggested ending tax breaks for oil and gas companies, hedge fund managers and higher-income Americans.

Republicans, who control the House, have given the jobs package a chilly reception, saying that tax increases would discourage job creation and pointing to the elevated level of unemployment even after the $830 billion stimulus program in 2009. Some Democrats also have reservations.

Graham’s Retort

Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said today that it is the White House and the president who are playing politics instead of working with Republicans to solve the nation’s problems.

“Their approach after being beat is to go to Ohio and Kentucky and give a speech about a bridge, and to declare class warfare as their strategy in terms of solving the economy,” he said on Fox News. “Every problem that he inherited is much worse.”

In a separate appearance on ABC’s “This Week” program, Plouffe said he expects the Democrat-controlled Senate will take up Obama’s plan in October and he predicted it will pass.

“It’s got a very good chance,” he said. “This has tax cuts for every small business and every worker, rehiring teachers, modernizing our schools, helping rebuild our infrastructure, all things that can help the economy in the short term and are important for our long-term economic future,” he said. “And they traditionally have had bipartisan support.”

--With assistance from Julianna Goldman in Washington. Editors: Carlos Torres, Steve Walsh

To contact the reporter on this story: Heidi Przybyla in Washington at hprzybyla@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva in Washington at msilva34@bloomberg.net.


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