GWEN IFILL: President Obama addresses Congress and the nation tomorrow night, hoping to reinvigorate his economic policy and his public standing.
Today, there was already talk of what’s in his plan.
NewsHour congressional correspondent Kwame Holman has that story.
KWAME HOLMAN: As the president and his White House team put the final touches on his jobs plan, details began trickling out today. The price tag was widely estimated to be $300 billion in tax cuts and spending initiatives.
The two largest components would be a one-year extension of the payroll tax cut for workers and an extension of jobless benefits, together totaling about $170 billion. The plan would seek higher tax revenues in later years to offset the cost of those short-term measures.
There also could be a tax credit for businesses that hire the unemployed and new public works spending.
White House spokesman Jay Carney wouldn’t confirm the cost or the details, but he insisted the president will show he’s doing his part.
JAY CARNEY, White House press secretary: You will see in the proposals that the president puts forward that he is very serious about taking measures that are responsible, that have enjoyed bipartisan support, and are the kinds that have direct and quick impact on the economy and on jobs.
You all will be able to judge whether or not the kinds of things the president is proposing, which all will be paid for, are the right answers and are the kinds of things that, if Congress were serious about taking action, Congress would act on.
KWAME HOLMAN: Congress will hear the details from Mr. Obama tomorrow night in a nationally televised joint session. White House officials made clear today they hope to win Republican support for tax cuts, but, already, there are questions about the plan’s prospects.
Republican leaders in the House and Senate have signaled opposition to new spending. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made that point today.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-Ky. minority leader: I think what we will hear tomorrow night is some additional spending items recommended by the president. The only thing I would say with regard to that, if government spending were the answer, we’d be in the middle of a boom right now.
We certainly intend to listen politely to the recommendations the president has, but I think I can pretty confidently say everybody in the Republican Conference in the Senate thinks that we need to quit doing what we have been doing.
KWAME HOLMAN: On the Democratic side, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin warned that if Republicans oppose the president’s ideas, they will have a hard time explaining why.
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN, D-Ill. majority whip: It is interesting to me the president will propose to extend the payroll tax cut for working families across America. It accounts for 2 percent of income. That, to me, is sensible.
The criticism from the Republican side of the aisle is, no, you shouldn’t allow a tax cut for middle-income families and those in lower-income categories unless you pay for it. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly the opposite position from what they took when they were talking about tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
KWAME HOLMAN: Just the same, several Republicans said they will skip the speech altogether, and party leaders decided not to give an official televised response.