President Obama will continue putting pressure on an unpopular Congress on Tuesday when he proposes a five-point “to-do list” that features job creation and mortgage relief measures during an appearance at a university science complex in Albany, N.Y.
Obama has proposed all of the measures before, but as Washington has grown more polarized during a presidential election year, the president has tried to use Congress as a foil to highlight his administration’s efforts to pass legislation to stimulate the economy.
Appearing at a nanotechnology facility at the State University of New York, Obama will call on Capitol Hill Republicans to support his proposals for a 20 percent tax cut for businesses that bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas and a 10 percent tax credit for companies that hire workers and increase wages. The president is using the backdrop of the high-tech facility to emphasize the need for investments in new technologies that will help the nation remain competitive in a quickly changing global workplace.
Another initiative on his to-do list would allow homeowners to refinance at lower interest rates, a proposal he will highlight during a stop later this week in Reno, Nev., where foreclosures are at the highest rates in the nation. The president also is calling for a Veterans Jobs Corps to help service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan get jobs as police and firefighters.
Since the start of the year, Obama has pushed Congress to support his economic agenda, casting Republican lawmakers as opposing him for political gain. The president hopes to tie Republican challenger Mitt Romney to congressional Republicans at a time when Congress’s approval ratings are at 17 percent, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Republicans pushed back against the White House, noting that they have supported several of Obama’s initiatives, including the payroll tax cut, long-term unemployment insurance and several free-trade agreements.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Tuesday that he welcomes Obama’s focus on job creation but that the GOP remains opposed to a White House plan to give 10 percent income tax cuts to firms that create new jobs or dole out raises this year.
“We believe that we ought to let the investors decide on how best to allocate their capital so that we can see small business grow again,” Cantor said. “But these are differences that we can overcome and differences we can resolve if the president will just join us in saying we’ve got to solve these problems.”
House Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said the president should instead press Senate Democrats to pass a budget: “How can you continue to run a business or a country with no budget? Three years in a row, a trillion-dollar deficit year over year and no budget.”
The trip marks a rare recent venture for the president into a state that is not an electoral battleground, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, one of the nation’s most popular Democratic governors, will join him at the event. And Obama is eager to appeal to working class, blue-collar voters in the Northeast and Rust Belt.
Ed O’Keefe contributed to this post.