Obama says Congress should stop ‘political circus’

WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama is calling on Congress to stop what he calls a “political circus” and immediately pass new jobs legislation to help the economy and restore fairness and security to the nation.

In excerpts released by the White House Thursday night ahead of the president’s speech to a joint session of Congress, Obama says the country faces a national crisis and a question: whether elected officials will meet their responsibilities the same way regular Americans do.

Congressional officials and others outside the White House say the plan costs nearly $450 billion and would increase and extend a payroll tax cut for workers that goes to Social Security, while providing the tax cut to employers, too.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the president’s remarks.