Obama urges US Senate to pass jobs bill

WASHINGTON, Oct 8, 2011 (AFP) - President Barack Obama on Saturday urged the US Senate to pass his jobs bill this week, boosted by a non-partisan group's report that the plan could cut the deficit and grow much-needed employment figures.

"It is time for those who oppose the jobs act to explain why they are fighting against something that we know will improve the American economy," Obama said in his weekly Internet and radio address.

The bill, he said, "will provide our economy with the jolt that it really needs right now."

Urging senators to back his "American Jobs Act" and overcome Washington's political gridlock, the US president touted Friday's largely positive assessment from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

The plan, said the CBO, "could have a noticeable impact on economic growth and employment in the next few years," and would cut the US government's deficit over ten years as long it contains planned changes to the tax code.

"Some see this as class warfare. I see it as a simple choice," Obama said of the bill, adding: "There are too many people hurting in this country for us to simply do nothing."

Obama, who called on supporters to contact their senators directly to back the bill, has claimed the effort is self-funded and is desperately needed stimulus for the US economy in the short term.

"I need you to keep making your voices heard in Washington. I need you to remind these folks who they work for," Obama said.

The unemployment rate currently stands at 9.1 percent and some economists fear the recovery is so slow that the United States could soon tip back into recession.

But Obama's plan, which includes increased taxes on individuals earning over $200,000 a year, faces stiff opposition from Republicans.

The Labor Department on Friday had meanwhile reported a surprise jump in US job creation -- with the creation of 103,000 jobs in September -- providing a rare point of hope even as the unemployment rate remained painfully high.

The US economy was growing at much stronger clip than expected, according to the official figures, but not enough to lower the unemployment rate from 9.1 percent where it has been stuck for three months.

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