Prior to meeting with his cabinet earlier this morning, President Obama told reporters that he wants Congress to schedule a vote on his jobs legislation by the end of the month, and wants Republicans to state what kind of proposals they would accept.
"If there are aspects of the bill that they don't like, they should tell us what it is that they're not willing to go for," he said. "They should tell us what it is that they're prepared to see move forward."
The congressional Democratic leadership -- including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi -- has called for the legislation's passage, but House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he does not anticipate the bill getting passed in its entirety.
Senior administration officials say the public’s dissatisfaction with Washington will help pressure Congress to act. Republicans have said they can find common ground on some of the president’s proposals, including tax benefits for companies which hire veterans and extending unemployment insurance. But they are strongly opposed to the payment plan, which would call for increasing taxes on wealthy Americans and large corporations.
The president also has waded more deeply into the 2012 waters. While speaking at the Human Rights Campaign dinner over the weekend, Obama criticized the 2012 Republican candidates for failing to defend a gay soldier who was booed during a recent Republican debate in Tampa. Senior administration officials said the president will not weigh into the GOP presidential primary discussion frequently, but he felt the Tampa incident required a response.