WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Barack Obama has sent Congress a bill that he says will create thousands of American jobs through a mix of tax cuts, public works projects, and aid to state and local governments.
He unveiled the legislation, which comes with a nearly $450 billion price tag, at the White House, surrounded by schoolteachers, police officers, and firefighters, who would benefit from the bill's passage.
"On Thursday, I told Congress that I'll be sending them a bill called the American Jobs Act. Well, here it is," Obama said. "This is a bill that will put people back to work all across the country. This is the bill that will help our economy in a moment of national crisis. This is a bill that is based on ideas from both Democrats and Republicans. And this is the bill that Congress needs to pass -- no games, no politics, no delays."
The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1 percent and joblessness has become the most pressing issue for millions of Americans.
Obama is under enormous pressure to turn the situation around before he stands for reelection 14 months from now, in November 2012.
He urged lawmakers to "pass this jobs plan right away."
But the politically divided Congress has a history of blocking White House-backed legislation, so the jobs bill may be dead on arrival or picked over and amended until it is unrecognizable.