U.S. President Barack Obama was on the road Wednesday for a second day, urging Americans to tell Congress to pass his $447 billion proposal to create jobs and boost the economy.
Mr. Obama spoke at a university in North Carolina Wednesday. He visited Ohio on Tuesday.
The president called on Congress to pass the legislation quickly and not play politics. He said the American people cannot wait until after the November 2012 presidential and congressional elections, as some lawmakers would like.
He said his American Jobs Act will provide funding for teachers, construction workers and veterans, and will help young people find summer employment. He said the bill includes projects to modernize schools and roads, and tax breaks for small businesses.
His push comes after a U.S. Census Bureau report Tuesday said the country’s poverty rate has risen to 15 percent — its highest level in 17 years — and more than 46 million Americans are living in poverty. The national unemployment rate is more than 9 percent.
Many Republican leaders have criticized Mr. Obama’s jobs proposal, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said the administration is not interested in “economic policies that will actually work.” McConnell objects to the president’s plan to pay for the bill by raising taxes on wealthier Americans.
White House budget director Jacob Lew told reporters Monday that such tax increases would account for about $400 billion of the proposed plan.
The U.S. government considers a family of four to be in poverty in the United States if their annual income is less than $22,314.