(CNN) — President Barack Obama on Thursday took his pitch for his $447 billion jobs bill to the shadows of an aging bridge that connects Ohio and Kentucky — home states to his chief Republican rivals in Congress.
Obama spoke in Cincinnati, on the Ohio side of the Brent Spent Bridge, which he said was not designed to hold its current traffic load.
Jobs created to repair and upgrade vital transportation links such as the bridge would be good for the economy, as much as for fixing the nation’s infrastructure, the president said.
It was no coincidence that Obama touted the American Jobs Act on the political turf of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
“There’s no reason to stand in the way of more jobs,” the president said. “Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell, help us rebuild this bridge. Help us rebuild America. Help us put this country back to work. Pass this jobs bill right away.”
The jobs plan presented last week to Congress calls for targeted tax cuts, infrastructure spending and new job training assistance that would be paid for by ending tax loopholes for corporations and some tax cuts for American families earning more than $250,000 a year.
McConnell said earlier Thursday that residents of the two states heard promises before when the first stimulus bill was passed. “I mean, how many stimulus bills do we have to pass before these bridges get fixed?” he asked.
“If a bridge needs fixing, by all means, let’s fix it,” McConnell argued. “But don’t tell us we need to pass a half-a- trillion-dollar stimulus bill and accept job-killing tax hikes to do it.”
Obama made a renewed push for ending what he called tax breaks for “millionaires and billionaires.”
“The Republicans in Congress call this class warfare. Well you know what? If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or teacher makes me a warrior for the middle class, I’ll wear that charge as a badge of honor,” he said. “Because the only class warfare I’ve seen is the battle that’s been waged against the middle class in this country for a decade.”
Boehner recently reiterated his opposition to any tax increases being part of a deficit reduction package being negotiated by a special congressional panel.