Obama Speech to Focus on Economy

President plans to call for additional stimulus spending in September address.

President Barack Obama plans to give a speech in early September to ask Congress for additional spending to boost the economy, an administration official said. The president also will call for long-term cuts beyond the $1.5 trillion that Congress charged a 12-member bipartisan “super- committee” of lawmakers to trim, the official said.

The dollar amount of the additional long-term deficit reduction measures will exceed the cost of the new short-term spending that he will propose, said the official. His plan will likely have a mix of tax cuts and infrastructure spending and will include proposals beyond the ideas that he has mentioned on his current Midwest bus tour, such as extending a payroll tax cut for workers and unemployment insurance benefits.

The administration is aware that it will need congressional support to pass new spending measures, said the official, who requested anonymity because the details of the speech haven’t been released. Final decisions on what will be included in the speech haven’t been made.

In addition to tax cuts and infrastructure spending, Obama will offer proposals targeted for the long-term unemployed, said the official.

The president has used his bus tour in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois this week to call on voters to pressure Congress to embrace measures that could improve the economy. At a forum on the rural economy in Peosta, Iowa, yesterday, he questioned “the refusal of a faction of Congress to put country ahead of party” and the “politics of the short term.”

 

‘Problems’ With Politics
“There’s nothing wrong with our country, although there is some problems with our politics,” Obama said. “I hope that I can count on you in the days ahead to lend your voice to this fight to strengthen our economy.”

In an interview with CNN yesterday, Obama hinted at his plans to press Congress for another round of budget cuts, along with more spending.

“We missed an opportunity a month ago when we could have dealt with our debt and deficit in a serious, balanced way,” he said. “We’re going to take one more run at Congress, and we’re going to say to them, ‘Look, here is a comprehensive approach that gets our debt and deficits under control and also accelerates job growth right now.’”

Obama said there are “some immediate things we can do around infrastructure, tax policy, that would make a difference in terms of people hiring right now.”

On his stops this week, Obama has outlined a menu of measures that he wants Congress to approve, including renewing a payroll tax cut for workers, revamping the patent process, approving free-trade deals and setting up a so-called infrastructure bank to help fund construction projects such as road-building.

 

Bloomberg News

 

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