Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
President Obama called on Americans two weeks ago to help him pass the American Jobs Act. Last Thursday, College Democrats heeded the call, gathering in Shane Lounge to show their support.
With a phone handy and help from Delaware County Democrats, Swatties were encouraged to call their representatives in Swarthmore and back home.
“We’re trying to build pressure on Congress,” says Peter Gross ’13, a College Democrat. “It’s a bipartisan bill, and should be passed.”
However, as government shutdown looms—the second this year—talks of austerity and party rancor has stalled the president’s already sputtering agenda.
In past weeks, with nowhere else to turn, the President has become increasingly populist, taking his plan directly to the people. Standing in front of an aging bridge, the President yesterday promoted the plan, which includes tax cuts, state aid and infrastructure financing. Less than incidentally, the bridge connects the states of his chief Republican opponents, John Boehner of Ohio and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Both lambasted the president, who is proposing to pay for the bill with tax increases on the rich, accusing him of “class warfare.” “When looking at the GOP, it’s clear how important it is to support Obama,” says Lisa Sendrow ‘13.
Even while the President pressures Republicans, much criticism has come from Democrats, who have quietly groaned over the President’s stray from standard Democratic values. To the disappointment of many progressives, he has placed Social Security and other entitlement programs on the chopping board in his debt reduction plan.
Yet Swarthmore Democrats are still undeterred. The American Jobs Act is a “massive step forward” says Gross ’13. “It’s a realistic track during a split Congress.” When asked why he was calling to support the bill, Ryan Greenlaw ‘15 explained, “I’m supportive because if given the opportunity, he will do what we sent him there to do.”
Nevertheless, despite their best efforts, it’s unclear how voicing their support will give the President the wherewithal to pass this bill in a divided Congress. Republicans remain intransient, and so far Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada has no plans to bring the bill up for a vote.
“I don’t know if it’s enough,” says Aaron Eckhouse ‘13, “but we’re here to make a difference.”