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Last night the President laid out for Congress and all Americans a new plan aimed at getting the country back on track after years of a struggling economy and more to his point, to put those out of work, back to work. While a necessary step based on the country’s current economic woes and his own political future, last night’s speech served to create more questions than to provide answers. Pundits and economic experts will struggle over the coming days and weeks to determine if the President’s proposal will achieve it’s aimed goals. They will scrutinize everything from the timing of the proposal, to how many jobs will actually result from the proposal. While these are all important questions, perhaps the most important question will be whether or not the proposal succeeds in getting the support of the American people.
While members of Congress from both parties will be quick to jump in to provide opinions on the President’s speech and his proposal, the American Jobs Act, only time will tell if they will take his call to "pass this now" to heart. Members from both sides will also work to add their own stamp to the proposal should it move forward in the legislative process. While this will take some time, we should be remember that this is what is supposed to happen; Congress must act as a check on the President’s proposal and time is needed for due consideration. That does not mean Congress should sit like the thinker and ponder all possibilities. All sides seem to agree that action must be taken to turn around the country and time is short. Both sides should, as is often said about Congress, roll up their sleeves and get to work. To put aside partisan views and work to address the country’s most pressing needs. If they do, the President’s proposal has a chance to succeed and make a difference. Most Americans today understand this is the way Washington should work in tough times.
The President called on Congress "to act" seventeen times in last night’s address, but it is not his call that will make them act. So what will? There is not one clear answer, but with little doubt, it is clear that every American has the choice to make a difference. As we saw in late July with regards to the debt reduction negotiations, when individuals across the country expressed their view that Members of Congress and the President get something done, individuals did make a difference. The President will leave Washington behind for a while to talk with average Americans about supporting the Americans Job Act. Members of Congress will do the same to try and get support for their views on the President’s proposal. How these messages will be received remains to be seen. What seems more certain today is that the message back from the average American to all sides will be we hear you, we understand, now get it done.