AUSTIN, TEXAS – Offering a more upbeat view of the economy, President Obama resurrected his jobs proposals Thursday, advancing modest initiatives as he pushed for action on more ambitious efforts that face resistance from congressional Republicans. “We’re poised for progress,” he said.
The president chose the bustling Texas capital as a backdrop to refocus on higher wages, education and a manufacturing-driven agenda that had been eclipsed by his struggles over gun control and spending cuts and his push for an overhaul of immigration laws.
“You might not know this, because if you listen to all the doom and gloom in Washington and politics, and watching cable TV, sometimes you might get kind of thinking nothing is going right,” Obama told students at a technology high school. “The truth is there’s a lot of reasons for us to feel optimistic about where we’re headed as a country.”
“Thanks to grit and determination of the American people, we cleared away the rubble of the worst economic crisis in our lifetime,” he said.
Still, Obama said that while housing markets are improving, corporate profits are skyrocketing and the energy and auto industries are thriving, there remains a need to boost the middle class. His visit to Austin is the first in a series of field trips aimed at giving a high profile to the economy and jobs, issues still clearly at the forefront of the public’s concerns.
In addition to his appearance at Manor New Technology High School, Obama toured an Applied Materials Inc. plant. The company provides equipment, services and software to the semiconductor, flat panel display and solar power industries.
By traveling to Texas to begin this renewed attention to his jobs initiatives Obama chose a state represented by two of the most conservative Republican members of the Senate — John Cornyn and Tea Party hero Ted Cruz.
The attention to jobs comes amid questions about whether the second-term president has enough sway to get his agenda through a divided Congress before attention turns to the November 2014 midterm elections. His jobs proposals have stalled in Congress, with Republicans showing no interest in job-creation plans based on new spending.