President Obama unveils jobs plan, no price tag

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 6:52pm

NEW YORK - Bryant Gumbel is being treated for lung cancer, the former Former Today show anchor revealed on Live! With Regis & Kelly Tuesday morning.

The sportscaster and TV host, 61, said that he had surgery last month to remove a malignant tumor in his chest, a revelation prompted when Kelly Ripa asked Gumbel, subbing for Regis Philbin, to dance – and he begged off. According to Gumbel, part of his lung was removed, and he will be seeing his surgeon next week.

"We had told a few people, we told my family, obviously. I even kept it from my staff at Real Sports. So I'm okay for the time being," he said. "I'm hoping they greenlight me to play golf again."

The only detail on the financial wallop of the president’s plan today came from a senior administration official who said that the president’s ideas on infrastructure would cost “in the range of $50 billion,” meaning the total cost of the jobs package would likely be multiples of that amount.

Obama’s comments met with harsh criticism from Republicans on Capitol Hill. “Now, with unemployment at 10 percent, the President proposes another special interest slush fund using ‘savings’ from the TARP program. This is absurd,’ said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). “TARP should be shut down as soon as possible and any unused funds should be returned to taxpayers by reducing our $1.4 trillion deficit.”

The White House said the president has a variety of ideas in each category, including five different proposals to help small businesses. “It is so important that we help small business struggling to open, or stay open, during these difficult times.” Obama is calling for a one-year elimination of the tax on capital gains from new investments in small business stock, and the extension of a stimulus bill provision that allows small businesses to immediately expense up to $250,000 of qualified investment.

And the president would like to see another provision extended that accelerates the rate at which business can deduct the cost of capital expenditures. Obama also proposed a short-term tax incentive to encourage small business hiring and eliminating fees for businesses that take Small Business Administration loans in 2010.

Within the infrastructure category, Obama called for spending on highways, transit, rail, aviation and water. “These are needed public works that engage private sector companies, spurring hiring across the country,” Obama said. He also said that the first stimulus bill – known as the Recovery Act – is just hitting its stride going into 2010. “What this means is that we’re going to see even more work – and workers – on Recovery projects in the next six months than we saw in the last six months,” Obama said.

And within the clean energy category, Obama said he would like to see rebates for consumers who make energy efficiency retrofits – which has become known as “cash for caulkers.” That plan, he said, “creates jobs, saves money for families, and reduces the pollution that threatens our environment.”

Obama said that even as he announces plans for new spending, he is striving to be fiscally responsible. He took the opportunity to remind voters how high the deficit was when he was inaugurated — $1.3 trillion. “And I’d note: these budget busting tax cuts and spending programs were approved by many of the same people who are now waxing political about fiscal responsibility while opposing our efforts to reduce deficits by getting health care costs under control,” Obama said. “It’s a sight to see.”