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Obama: Tourism Will Boost US Economy

U.S. President Barack Obama is urging Congress and the country to back his new initiative to boost tourism, which he says will create jobs.

During his weekly address Saturday, Obama said he wants to make it easier for visitors to come and spend money in America.

The president is proposing to speed up immigration screening at airports for frequent travelers, process visas quicker for countries with growing middle classes such as China and Brazil, and expand the number of countries where visitors qualify for pre-clearance by the Homeland Security Department.

President Obama says he has taken steps to improve the economy after Congress earlier failed to embrace his initiatives.

The president says he will outline a blueprint of his call for action during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

In the Republican weekly address, Jeb Hensarling of Texas said that President Obama's policies have failed the American people. He criticized the nation's high unemployment, gas prices, and national debt during Mr. Obama's term in office.

Hensarling also cited the Canada-to-Gulf-of-Mexico pipeline project that the administration blocked this week, which he says could have created 20,000 jobs.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.