Rock Island, Illinois: President Barack Obama will give a major speech in September outlining fresh plans to create jobs, cut the deficit and speed up the recovery, a senior US official said.
Obama will press hard hard for Republicans in Congress to pass the package, which includes a commitment for deficit cutting that goes beyond a $1.5 trillion mandate of a congressional super committee tasked with cutting spending.
Details of the plan emerged on the final day of Obama’s three-day bus tour through Midwestern states which he has used to slam Republicans in Congress, especially the Tea Party faction, for blocking efforts to revive the recovery.
The senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the package would seek a “balanced” effort to trim the deficit, which is projected to reach $1.6 trillion this year.
“Balanced” is Obama’s code word for new revenues derived from raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to complement spending cuts, an approach Republicans say would crimp growth during grim economic times.
The speech will take place soon after Labor Day on 5 September and will set the stage for an autumn of battles over taxes, spending and the recovery, which will also frame the Republican presidential nominating race.
Obama is facing increasing political and economic pressure in the run-up to his reelection bid next year, after growth slowed this year and with unemployment pegged at 9.1%.
Prospects for any new administration initiative on the economy look uncertain at best in the Republican-led House of Representatives, which abhors any kind of spending or tax hikes.
Republican sources suggested soon after Obama’s plans for a speech emerged that his approach was unlikely to include any genuinely new ideas that had not been tried before.
Obama was winding up his tour, which has already taken in Minnesota and Iowa in his adopted home state of Illinois on Wednesday.
He used to trip on a new $1.1 million dollar Secret Service bus to renew calls for an extension of a payroll tax cut, new measures to put Afghan and Iraq war veterans back to work and for an infrastructure program to employ laid-off construction workers.
Obama also sharpened his tone against Republican lawmakers whom he said had put politics before country and sabotaged his deficit-cutting and growth plans.
“The only question is if, as a nation, we’re going to do what it takes to grow this economy and put people back to work right now,” Obama said at a Rural Economic Forum in a small town in northeastern Iowa.
“The only thing that’s preventing us from passing (recovery and jobs bills) is the refusal of a faction in Congress to put country ahead of party.
“And that has to stop. Our economy cannot afford it. Our economy can’t afford it.”