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Obama Defends Jobs Plan, Says Republicans Refuse to Work With Him

President Barack Obama directly responded to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s assertion that the president’s jobs bill is dead in the House, saying today that a piecemeal approach is not enough.

Cantor told reporters today during his weekly briefing, “The all-or-nothing approach is just unacceptable, and I think from a purely practical standpoint the president has some whipping to do on his own side of the aisle.”

When asked whether Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan was dead in the chamber, the Virginia Republican answered, “Yes.”

Obama responded to the Majority Leader during an afternoon interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

“What he needs to do is to tell us what exactly what he’s for, because what I’ve done is put forth what economists say can increase our growth by close to 2 percent and put 1.9 million people back to work,” Obama said. “If he’s got other ideas, we’re happy to look at his ideas, but I think what the American people cannot abide by is us doing nothing.

“We can’t pretend that Washington cutting spending in and of itself is going to put people back to work,” he added.

Obama accused Republicans of standing in the way of his attempts to kick-start the economy.

“At every step of way, I have tried to get the Republican Party to work with me on the biggest crisis of our lifetime. And each time we’ve gotten ‘No,’” he said.

Obama said passing free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama in a bipartisan fashion would be a good step, one that he expects will happen.

“I’m glad that’s an area of bipartisan agreement,” he said, “but it’s not enough itself. There’s more that we can do.”

In particular, the president renewed his call for more infrastructure spending and investments in education and clean energy. He also said the “most fortunate in our society” should be “paying their fair share.”

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