A Political Clash Over Deficits Stalls Legislation to Address Jobs
Members of Congress headed for a recess over the weekend having failed to agree on legislation to address the nation’s fragile employment picture, with both parties placing starkly different bets on the political consequences of their positions.
President Obama and his Democratic allies in Congress are hoping that voters will punish Republicans in the midterm elections for obstructing his efforts to extend unemployment benefits, expand lending to small businesses, and increase aid to struggling state and local governments.
“Republican leaders in Washington just don’t get it,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly video address on Saturday.
Republican lawmakers have clung to the view that uneasy voters will instead judge the White House harshly for failing to quickly rein in budget deficits that threaten to shake market confidence and saddle future generations with record public debts.
“At some point we have to say, enough is enough,” said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, who delivered the Republican response to the president’s message. “We have to make tough decisions about spending beyond our means.”
After lawmakers return from this week’s Independence Day recess, they will have just a month before they break for the summer. Historically, significant legislation is unlikely to pass in the late summer and early autumn before an election.