Obama: Economy weaker than at beginning of year

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama says the economy is weaker now than at the beginning of the year. He says his $447 billion jobs bill would help the economy grow by 2 percent and create 1.9 million jobs.

In a morning news conference, the president took an aggressive tone against Republicans, challenging them to explain what aspects of his package they oppose.

He said he agrees with tax changes made by Senate Democratic leaders to his package. The Democratic proposal would pay for Obama’s plan by imposing a surtax on taxpayers making more than $1 million. That plan would set a top rate of 40 percent on income above $1 million; the current top rate is 35 percent.

Obama had proposed a series of different tax increases to pay for the plan.