Obama Plans Jobs Speech to Congress Next Week

Posted August 31st, 2011 at 6:30 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. President Barack Obama says he will announce plans to promote jobs and economic growth in a speech to Congress next week, although there is a now a dispute involving the Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives over the timing of the event.

Mr. Obama on Wednesday said the country must deal with “unprecedented economic challenges,” and he has asked congressional leaders to call a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives for the speech.

The president has proposed making the address on September 7. House Speaker John Boehner has asked Mr. Obama to postpone his remarks by a day.

Boehner said it would be logistically difficult to approve the joint session of Congress in time for a speech next Wednesday. The House is scheduled to reconvene that day following a recess. The Senate will be back in session next Tuesday.

Mr. Obama's proposed time also coincides with a scheduled televised debate among Republican presidential contenders. White House spokesman Jay Carney said there are numerous U.S. television channels that could decide which of the two events to broadcast.

The September 8 time slot proposed by Boehner would mean Mr. Obama would be speaking at the same time as the nationally-televised first official game of the American football season.

The president said he would announce what he called “bipartisan proposals” that Congress could immediately enact. The sluggish American economy is still reeling from the global economic downturn of 2008 and 2009, with about 14 million U.S. workers unemployed and millions more working part-time or in jobs they consider beneath their skill levels.

Mr. Obama's re-election chances next year may largely hinge on the nation's economic fortunes. He said lawmakers in Washington need to “put aside politics and start making decisions based on what is best for our country” and not political considerations.

News accounts say Mr. Obama may propose tax credits for companies that hire more workers, and possibly new spending for repairing schools and other public infrastructure. His plans are likely, however, to encounter stiff opposition from Republicans who oppose more government spending. They say too many federal regulations are hindering U.S. job growth and are proposing legislation to limit the scope of the restrictions.

Republican candidates seeking to oust Mr. Obama from the White House say he has mismanaged the American economy, the world's largest.