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Now that the Republicans in the Senate have proven without a doubt that they'd rather keep hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work just to take one guy out of office, it's time for Plan B:
President Obama on Monday will begin a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education and other economic problems over the coming months, heralded by a new mantra: “We can’t wait” for lawmakers to act.
According to an administration official, Mr. Obama will kick off his new offensive in Las Vegas, ground zero of the housing bust, by promoting new rules for federally guaranteed mortgages so that more homeowners, those with little or no equity in their homes, can refinance and avert foreclosure.
And Wednesday in Denver, the official said, Mr. Obama will announce policy changes to ease college graduates’ repayment of federal loans, seeking to alleviate the financial concerns of students considering college at a time when states are raising tuition. [..]
The “We can’t wait” campaign is a new phase in Mr. Obama’s so-far unsuccessful effort — punctuated until now by his cries of “Pass this bill!” on the stump — to pressure Republicans to support the job creation package he proposed after Labor Day. It comes after unanimous votes by Senate Republicans in the past week to block the plan; House Republican leaders have refused to put the measure to a vote.
It's not much, but it's a start and should highlight just how constrained the President has been in working for economic recovery by Congress. Moreover, it will demonstrate quite aptly how the GOP (and their enabling Blue Dog buddies--I'm looking at you, Ben Nelson) are willing to hold hostage the American people.
Aides said Mr. Obama would announce at least one initiative each week through the rest of the year, including steps to help returning veterans and small businesses. Yet the officials acknowledge that the coming policy changes, executive orders and agency actions are generally less far-reaching than the legislative proposals now before Congress.
Recent executive actions provide examples of what is to come.
This month the administration expedited approval of payments to small businesses with government contracts. It announced waivers for states with schools falling short of the proficiency standards of the 2002 No Child Left Behind education law — a move that prompted some senators to compromise on an alternative rewrite of the law.
And last week the administration eased regulations stemming from the 2010 health insurance law to encourage hospitals and doctors to coordinate on Medicare patients’ care for better results at lower cost.
These steps aren’t a substitute for the bold action we need to create jobs and grow the economy, but they’ll make a difference. The fact is, our problems are too serious to simply do nothing. The stakes are too high. The issues facing Americans require serious bipartisan solutions, yet the Republicans in Congress have decided to put party before country and block legislation that would create jobs and grow the economy. They blocked the Americans Jobs Act, a bill that independent experts said could create up to 2 million jobs. And again, just last week, Senate Republicans obstructed a piece of the American Jobs Act that would keep hundreds of thousands of firefighters on the job, police officers on the streets, and teachers in the classroom when our kids need them most.
While President Obama continues to take executive actions, Republicans in Congress will have the opportunity to do what’s right for the country. They’ll have a chance to vote on another piece of the Americans Jobs Act. It’s a bill that will make an immediate investment of $50 billion in our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure and a $10 billion investment to create a bipartisan National Infrastructure bank. Together, these initiatives will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, rails, and runways.
We’ll continue to do our job. Over the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue to take actions that will improve the economy and help middle class families. Now, it’s time for Republicans in Congress to do theirs. It’s time to put country before party and do what’s right for the American people.