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Obama Urges Congress to Pass Economic Bills

U.S.President Barack Obama talks about the economy at the SUNY-Albany Nano-Fab Extension Building in Albany, New York, May 8, 2012.
THE WHITE HOUSE - President Barack Obama is putting pressure on Congress to pass legislation he proposed earlier this year that he said will boost the U.S. economy.

In an election year with the state of the economy as a major issue, President Obama is calling on lawmakers to help him move the nation's economic recovery forward.

“We have created hundreds of thousands of jobs each month over the last several months," said Obama. "So we are making progress, but everybody knows we need to do more. And in order to do that, we are going to need some more action from Congress. Democrats and Republicans have to come together.”

The president went to Albany, New York on Tuesday to press Congress to advance bills he said will boost the economy, many of which Mr. Obama proposed in his State of the Union speech in January.

“I know this is an election year, but it is not an excuse for inaction," Obama said. "Six months is plenty of time for Democrats and Republicans to get together and do the right thing - taking steps that will spur additional job creation right now."

At a school in Albany, Mr. Obama announced what he called a “to-do list” for Congress that includes five measures he wants passed.

One bill the president wants passed would eliminate a provision of the tax law that gives companies tax breaks for the expenses involved in moving facilities outside the United States.

“At the very least, what we can do right away is stop rewarding companies who ship jobs overseas and use that money to cover moving expenses for companies that are moving jobs back here to America,” said the president.

The other legislation on the list would help some homeowners refinance their mortgages at lower interest rates, create jobs for military veterans, and extend tax credits to producers of alternative forms of energy and small businesses that create jobs.

Republicans on Capitol Hill immediately criticized the president’s remarks. A spokesman for House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said Mr. Obama should press the Democratic-led Senate to pass bills proposed by the Republican-controlled House.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked debate of a Democratic bill to keep interest rates on federal college loans from doubling on July 1.

Republicans say they also want to prevent the rate increase, but disagree with the Democrats’ plan to pay for the lower rates by raising some taxes.