News / USA

President Obama Set to Deliver Major Economic Address

President Barack Obama speaks at a Labor Day event at General Motors Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, September 5, 2011.
President Barack Obama speaks at a Labor Day event at General Motors Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, September 5, 2011.

President Barack Obama is set to give a nationally-televised speech on his plan to try to help the 14 million Americans who are currently out of work.

The president will deliver his much-anticipated address to a joint session of Congress, which is bitterly divided between Republican and Democratic lawmakers as to what course of action the country should take to spark economic growth and reverse the downward spiral.

President Obama has raised the political stakes of his speech on his plan to create jobs and prevent a potential second recession by choosing the high-profile venue of the chamber of the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by a strong Republican majority.  

Political analyst Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia said the president's address to a joint session of Congress is likely to be viewed as a partisan political speech, laying the foundation for his 2012 re-election campaign.

"It is pretty obvious that this is going to be treated as a partisan speech,"  said Sabato. "The Democrats will treat it that way, and the Republicans will treat it that way. The Democrats will cheer almost every sentence, and the Republicans, for the most part I think, are going to sit on their hands.  Some have even said they were not going to attend.  So, this is being given in a partisan climate, we are very polarized, we had the disaster of the debt debate in August and there is a lot of hangover from that," he said.

The White House says the president is reaching out to Congress to put politics aside and to take action to reduce the high national unemployment rate that has been stuck at over nine percent.  

The president's program is expected to include $300-billion in tax cuts and new government spending aimed at creating conditions for faster job growth.  Mr. Obama will likely call on Congress to extend expiring payroll tax cuts, propose infrastructure improvement projects, and take steps to help cash-strapped local and state governments.

But the president is likely to face skepticism from Republican lawmakers.  Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina said speeches will not create jobs.

"People are tired of the president's lofty words, with actions that destroy jobs, Wilson said. "Americans want a change in course from the failed stimulus plans of borrow and wastefully spend."

On the other end of the political spectrum, progressive Democrats have called for the president to be "bold" and to propose large infrastructure spending projects to put thousands of Americans back to work.

But analyst Larry Sabato is doubtful that anything the president proposes can pass the Republican-controlled House.

"Whether the president plays big ball or small ball, he is not going to get these things passed," Sabato said. "Almost nothing is going to be passed.  His program will be dead on arrival in the Republican House."

Lawmakers have just returned to work this week from a one-month recess, which followed a bitter battle over raising the debt ceiling that created economic turmoil and shook stock markets around the world.

Representative John Dingell of Michigan, currently the longest-serving member of Congress, said his constituents told him that they are disappointed in members Congress for failing to work together to address the country's economic crisis.

"Is there anyone amongst us here that are proud that we could not produce a budget? That we caused a downgrading of U.S government securities?  That we caused appalling disorder and confusion in the market, stifling economic growth and job creation, and contributing to the hopelessness and misfortune of millions of Americans," Dingell said.

Republicans are not delivering a formal response to the president's jobs speech, but Republican Representative Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, is planning to hold a news conference after the speech.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs