UPDATE: President Obama outlined his sweeping jobs proposal Thursday evening before a joint session of Congress, urging lawmakers to pass the package "right away." The legislation's price tag: $447 billion.
A few of the highlights:
--"The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy."
--"I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away."
--"There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans."
--"These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America."
UPDATE Thursday 10:32 a.m.: The price tag on President Obama's sweeping jobs package that he will unveil during a joint session of Congress Thursday night may be growing.
Earlier this week, those briefed on the matter suggested that the president and his economic team were eyeing a proposal in the neighborhood of $300 billion, but that figure could top $400 billion by the time the plan is finalized, an unidentified Democrat tells CNN. Other media outlets, including CBS News, also report the $400 billion figure.
The White House hasn't publicly said what the proposal will cost, but officials have stressed that the package that Obama will lay out Thursday and submit to Congress early next week will come with provisions to pay for all of the proposals down the road.
"There will be some new ideas that you haven't heard from us before that are part of the baskets, part of the areas, in terms of tax relief and infrastructure spending, assistance to communities to help rebuild their schools, assistance to states to help retain teachers so teachers aren't laid off," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday in an appearance on CNN's American Morning.
Although it should be noted that "new" has somewhat of a vague definition when politics are concerned. In the same interview, Carney described the provisions in the package as "the kinds of things that Republicans and Democrats have broadly supported in the past."
POST Wednesday 2:10 p.m.: The White House has kept a rather tight lid on the details of President Obama’s upcoming jobs speech, but several news outlets appear to have the scoop from those briefed on the plan ahead of Thursday’s unveiling.
The big takeaway is the cost of the package: $300 billion, according to Bloomberg and CNN. The package will be focused on new infrastructure spending and targeted tax cuts, but will also include aid to state and local governments and other provisions.
The Associated Press, which also reports the $300 billion figure, says that two of the biggest measures in the package will be a one-year extension of a payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of expiring jobless benefits, which taken together will cost roughly $170 billion.
Obama is scheduled to tout his package while addressing a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. He had originally requested to deliver his speech on Wednesday, but relented after GOP leaders complained that his chosen time overlapped with the first major Republican debate, which is taking place in California.
The White House has refused to go public with the details of Obama’s jobs package ahead of the speech. Republicans, meanwhile, are upset that the president hasn’t spoken with them about what he will propose, a decision that is unlikely to make it any easier for the package to move through the GOP-controlled House.
"I have no doubt the president will propose many things on Thursday that, when looked at individually, sound pretty good, or that he'll call them all bipartisan. I'm equally certain that, taken as whole, they'll represent more of the same failed approach," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.