President Obama will travel this week to Austin, where the jobs market has been booming, to kick off a new focus on the middle class and economic growth.
Obama is planning a campaign-style â€śMiddle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tourâ€ť across the country, beginning Thursday in Austin, a magnet for new tech jobs. The push seems designed to help jump-start the presidentâ€™s second term.
Obamaâ€™s momentum has stalled on Capitol Hill in the past few months, with the president unable to convince a divided Congress to pass any gun-control measures or to thwart the budget cuts known as the sequester. Over the past few weeks, Obama has been playing a so-called inside game, inviting selected senators from both parties to dinner in an effort to reach a broad accord on fiscal issues, but such a deal has eluded them â€“ so far, at least.
Now, White House officials hope that Obama, by campaigning outside of Washington, can galvanize the public and pressure Congress to back his legislative agenda, including economic measures he outlined in Februaryâ€™s State of the Union address.
â€śEven though some in Congress are determined to create more self-inflicted economic wounds, there are things Washington could be doing right now to help American businesses, schools and workers,â€ť Josh Earnest, deputy White House press secretary, said Sunday. â€śWe need to build on the progress weâ€™ve made over the last four years, and that means investing in things that are already creating good-paying, stable jobs that can support a middle class family.â€ť
In Austin, the president will visit Manor New Tech High School, which, Earnest said, teaches students â€śreal-world skills they need to fill the jobs that are available right now.â€ť
Later in the day, Obama will visit an Austin-based tech company and meet with, who Earnest called, â€śtechnology entrepreneurs who are hiring workers with cutting-edge skills and creating the tools and products that will drive Americaâ€™s long-term economic growth.â€ť
Obama also will meet with workers who, Earnest said, â€śare working hard to get into and stay in the middle class to discuss his vision for ensuring that hard work leads to a decent living.â€ť
The president will travel to other cities in coming weeks, though the White House has not named them yet.