Four days after President Obama laid out the American Jobs Act for Congress, he took his message to a public forum attended by over 100 African Americans at the White House and live-streamed over the Internet, imploring them to help get the bill passed.
“We are at a critical juncture in our country and this Jobs Act can deliver,” said Obama. “I need people to get out there and support this. If Congress doesn’t get it done, we know exactly who is holding this up.”
With Black unemployment at a 27-year-high of 16.7 percent, the President laid out specifics of his plan and how it would help to get the African-American community back to work.
The plan would provide summer jobs for youth (45 percent unemployment for Black youth) and boost the paychecks of 20 million Black workers through an extension and expansion of the payroll tax. It would also extend unemployment insurance for nearly 1.4 million African Americans who have been unemployed six months or longer.
The forum, titled “Open for Questions with InteractiveOne,” featured various administration officials discussing how the administration’s polices have affected and will affect the Black community, taking questions from NewsOne.com and its sister sites in the InteractiveOne network, TheGrio.com, TheUrbanDaily.com, HelloBeautiful.com, and BlackPlanet.com.
The featured speakers included Director of Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes, US Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Deputy Administrator of the US Small Business Administration Marie Johns, Ambassador and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
For over two hours, panelists and audience members peppered administration officials such as Valerie Jarrett with comments and questions from Twitter and social networking site, BlackPlanet.com.
The president urged the panelists and audience members to knock on doors to help educate the American public about the benefits of this bill.
“We must pump it up to pass this Jobs Act,” said Obama.