WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is banking on a new report detailing the income disparity in the country as further evidence of the need for his $447 billion jobs bill.
A report last week by the Congressional Budget Office found that average after-tax income for the top 1 percent of U.S. households had increased by 275 percent over the past three decades. Middle-income households saw just a 40 percent rise. For those at the bottom of the economic scale, the jump was 18 percent.
Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday that he would pay for his jobs plan with an added tax on people who make at least $1 million a year.
Senate Republicans have blocked action on the bill, which mixes tax breaks for businesses and public works spending, because they oppose much of the increased spending and the tax on millionaires.
"These are the same folks who have seen their incomes go up so much, and I believe this is a contribution they're willing to make," Obama said. "Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress aren't paying attention. They're not getting the message."
Obama is now trying to get Congress to pass the individual components of the bill. But Senate Republicans also stalled progress on the first of those measures, $35 billion to help local governments keep teachers on the job and pay the salaries of police officers, firefighters and other emergency services workers.
Saying the country cannot wait for Congress, Obama has begun bypassing Congress and taking steps on his own that he says will encourage economic growth.
"We can no longer wait for Congress to do its job," Obama said. "So where Congress won't act, I will."