President Barack Obama has offered a brief glimpse into his State of the Union address next week, when he says he will announce a new “economic blueprint” intended to benefit all Americans.
In a video message to his political supporters, Mr. Obama said his plan will help the manufacturing and energy sectors of the nation’s economy, as well as education, job training and what he called “a return to family values.”
The president delivers his annual State of the Union address next Tuesday to the entire Congress, which would debate and vote on his legislative proposals later. Mr. Obama said the lawmakers could go in either of two directions – toward an economy with “less opportunity and less fairness,” or a system “that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few.”
Public-opinion surveys have shown Americans are divided in their feelings about Mr. Obama’s overall job performance and his efforts to boost a troubled economy.
The president blames Republican political leaders for obstructing his efforts to create bipartisan solutions. Members of the opposition party contend Mr. Obama’s own policies are responsible for the current state of affairs.
In addition to his message to supporters on Saturday, Mr. Obama also discussed the need for a detailed economic improvement plan during his weekly address to the nation, broadcast earlier the same day.
In the Republican Party’s response to the president’s weekly message, Congressman Jeb Hensarling of Texas said that Mr. Obama’s policies have failed the American people. He pointed to what he said was the administration’s inability to sharply reduce the high national unemployment rate, or fuel prices, and the serious national debt problems since Mr. Obama took office three years ago.
Saturday’s exchanges on the economy also had a strong political dimension, since Mr. Obama will be running for re-election in a little more than nine months’ time, against a Republican candidate who has not yet been chosen. Hensarling also criticized the recent White House decision to put off indefinitely a proposed natural-gas pipeline through the United States from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico – a project that Republicans contend would have created 20,000 new jobs.
In his weekly address the president also urged Congress and the American public to back a new initiative to boost tourism, and added that this, too, would generate new jobs for Americans.
Mr. Obama said he wants to make it easier for visitors to come to America and spend their money there. He is proposing accelerated screening processes at airports for frequent travelers, quicker action on visa applications from countries with growing middle-class populations, such as China and Brazil, and an expansion of the number of countries where prospective visitors can qualify for pre-clearance into the United States by the Department of Homeland Security Department.