President Barack Obama turned his focus back to jobs and the economy during his weekly radio address on Saturday.
A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed on Friday that the economy added a better-than-expected 117,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate decreased a tenth of a percentage point to 9.1 percent. Still, the unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high and job growth has not been fast enough so the president called on Congress to work together and pass legislation that would speed the economic recovery and get people back to work.
“We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to help grow this economy,” Obama said. “We’ve got to put politics aside to get some things done. That’s what the American people expect of us.”
He also said his “singular focus” was the economic well-being of the American people and reassured the American people that the economic outlook would improve.
“We are going to get through this,” he said. “Things will get better. And we’re going to get there together.”
As part of his focus, the president spoke of various and immediate things Congress could do to increase job creation – as he has done numerous times over the past few months. They included extending tax cuts for “working and middle class families,” extending unemployment benefits, reforming the patent system and approving pending free trade deals with South Korea, Columbia and Panama. He also proposed giving tax credits to companies that hire veterans and getting rid of red tape that could hold back entrepreneurs from starting new businesses and developing new ideas.
Another job-creating proposal he has put forward numerous times and did again during his radio address was investing in infrastructure projects. Doing that, he said, could put Americans back to work right now.
“We ought to give more opportunities to all those construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing boom went bust,” he said. “We could put them to work right now, by giving loans to companies that want to repair our roads and bridges and airports, helping to rebuild America.”
He said those various initiatives have received bipartisan support in the past and he hoped they would receive bipartisan support now.
“So I’m going to keep calling on both parties in Congress to put aside their differences and send these bills to my desk so I can sign them right away,” he said. “Moving our economy and our country forward is not a Democratic or a Republican responsibility. It is our responsibility as Americans. That’s the spirit we need in Washington right now.”
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