Amid worries that the economy may be headed into a second recession, both Republicans and Democrats say creating jobs is their top priority. But the two parties are far apart on their approaches.
Democrats favor targeted stimulus – investments in infrastructure, clean energy, and education – while hiking taxes on corporations and the rich to fund this jobs spending. Republicans aim to curb government regulation and cut taxes to give businesses and individuals more incentive to invest.
Here are the Democrats' top five priorities.
Democrats are still reeling from the Republicans' successful use of their 2010 momentum to change the conversation in Washington from spending to cutting, from jobs to deficits. They are counting on the plunges in consumer confidence and the world financial markets to shift the focus back to jobs and the economy.
President Obama is under pressure from his base and from the onset of the 2012 campaign season to regain the initiative on jobs. Senate Democrats aim to refocus on jobs when Congress returns in September, but will face competition from a new round of high-profile deficit negotiations.
Any deal struck in the newly minted joint congressional committee could boost or scuttle plans for more spending for jobs.
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