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Obama to Congress: Pass New Jobs Bill

President urges tax breaks, jobless benefits

Republicans are pushing for a tax holiday for U.S. businesses on their earnings from abroad. But that was not included in Obama's proposal. "When you give businesses tax credits in a weak economy, it just goes in their pockets," Stone said. "It's not that they are burdened by high taxes. They are burdened by low sales."

Funding construction to rebuild schools, highways and bridges and create jobs. Under the Obama plan, about 35,000 schools would be modernized, and roads and public infrastructure would be improved. Viard said infrastructure spending often can't be pumped into the economy fast enough to help in the short term because of the lead time for projects.

Aid to state and local governments. They are already struggling to balance their budgets so they can avoid laying off teachers and police.

Regulatory relief. Specifically, Obama wants to make it easier for homeowners to refinance at the current low interest rates. Republicans have pushed for much broader regulatory relief.

In a letter to Obama this week, Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the nation must tackle "excessive federal regulation that is hampering job growth across our country" and criticized him for proposing 219 new regulatory actions that would cost the economy billions.

Viard said that neither party can fix the economy immediately.

"We shouldn't expect anybody — Republican or Democrat — to come up with a magic cure," Viard said. But "there are ways to mitigate the pain."

Tamara Lytle is a veteran Washington reporter.

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