President Barack Obama said he is working to foster job growth in ways that don’t require Congressional approval and plans to outline steps next week to spur the nation’s manufacturing and energy industries.
The president said today that proposals advanced this week to boost tourism are among the many actions he’s taken to create jobs. Separately, in a video to supporters, he said his State of the Union address next week will include plans for “good jobs” at factories, boost energy development and create an economy “where everybody gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everybody plays by the same set of rules.”
“Too often over the last few months, we’ve seen Congress drag its feet and refuse to take steps we know will help strengthen our economy,” he said in the weekly radio and Internet address. “That’s why this is the latest in a series of actions I’ve taken on my own to help our economy keep growing, creating jobs, and restoring security for middle-class families.”
The president will deliver his annual address to Congress next week and spell out his priorities as he runs for re-election in a contest in which the U.S. economy will be a dominant issue. While the unemployment dropped last month to 8.5 percent from a high of 10 percent in 2009, the nation’s employers have yet to replace all the jobs lost during the 18-month recession that began in 2007.
In his video message today, Obama offered a preview of what he intends to outline in his speech next week, without giving any specific proposals.
‘More Good Jobs’
He said he’ll outline plans to create “more good jobs” at U.S. manufacturers, foster energy development, and rebuild “an economy where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded.”
“I’m going to talk about how we’ll get there,” Obama said. “I’m going to lay out a blueprint for an American economy that’s built to last.”
During an appearance at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, this week, Obama issued an executive order to increase the number and speed the approval of non-immigrant visas, particularly in China and Brazil. The Republican presidential primary will be held there on Jan. 31.
Florida offers 29 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House and has a recent history of swinging between the Democratic and Republican candidates. Obama won the state in 2008 while Republican George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004.
Obama said in his radio address that frequent travelers who “pass an extensive background check” will be able get past long immigration lines at a greater number of airports under the order.
‘Back to Work’
He is also calling for the Commerce and Interior Departments to make recommendations on promoting domestic and international travel in the U.S., including national parks and historic sites.
“The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work,” he said in the address. “It’s that simple.”
Travel and tourism represented about 2.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and supported 7.5 million jobs in 2010, according to a White House statement.
Obama listed other actions he’s taken without congressional approval, including appointing Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and helping homeowners whose home values have fallen refinance mortgages more easily.
In the Republican weekly address, Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, chairman of the House Republican Conference said Obama’s economic policies “have failed the American people.”
Looking ahead to Obama’s speech, Hensarling said the State of the Union “is a time for truth-telling, and the sad truth is that the president’s policies are making our economy worse. ”
Hensarling said fewer Americans have jobs than when Obama took office in January 2009, and that the U.S. has higher gas prices, more people on food stamps and a national debt that exceeds the size of the economy.
Obama’s rejection of the TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline proposal this week “wasted a golden opportunity” to create thousands of jobs, Hensarling said.