President Barack Obama pressed Congress on Tuesday to act on a modest five-item "to-do list" to fight unemployment, showcasing the tasks on a virtual Post-It note he mockingly said would not "overload" lawmakers.
"I know this is an election year," Obama said in a speech at the SUNY-Albany Nano-Tech Complex, a science research facility. "But it's not an excuse for inaction. Six months is plenty of time for Democrats and Republicans to get together and do the right thing."
Obama's list included items he's already unsuccessfully pushed Congress to adopt, such as cutting tax incentives for businesses that ship jobs overseas, enacting new hire tax credits, promoting clean energy and helping homeowners struggling with their mortgages to refinance.
"It's about the size of a Post-It note, so every member of Congress should have time to read it and they can glance at it every so often," said the president, who referred to the virtual memo as "a handy little 'to-do' list."
With his reelection hopes weighed down by the weak economy, Obama also seemed to lay the blame on Congress if job growth remains sluggish from now to November. New figures showed lackluster employment figures in April and a national jobless rate that ticked down to 8.1 percent mostly because of unemployed Americans giving up on looking for work.
"The truth is, the only way we can accelerate the job creation that takes place on a scale that is needed is bold action from Congress," he said."Just saying no to ideas that we know will help our economy isn't an option. There's too much at stake. We've all got to pull in the same direction," Obama said.
House Republicans immediately pushed back, underlining that they had approved some 30 bills aimed at boosting jobs growth only to see them mired in the Democratic-led Senate.
And Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, mocked Obama's visual gimmick.
"The small, sticky 'to-do list' is the perfect symbol for a shrunken presidency, more focused on campaigning than governing," he said.
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- President Barack Obama