President Barack Obama hinted in a Labor Day address that he could use Thursday's highly anticipated speech on jobs creation to unveil an initiative to restore the nation's deteriorating infrastructure.
During a rally in Detroit sponsored by the AFL-CIO, Obama noted that roads and bridges across the country were in need of repair and mentioned one million unemployed construction workers who are itching to get dirty. He acknowledged the political difficulty of enacting a large federal stimulus program, and portrayed Republicans who would oppose such a measure as acting against the best interests of a nation facing a stagnant 9.1 percent unemployment rate.
I'm going to propose ways to put America back to work that both parties can agree to, because I still believe both parties can work together to solve our problems, said Obama. We're going to see if we've got some straight shooters in Congress. We're going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before party.
With Congress returning to work after an acrimonious battle over the nation's debt consumed Washington and nearly led to a default on government debt, Obama has pledged to shift his focus to jobs creation. A series of polls released on Tuesday underscored deep disillusionment with the president's economic policies, and he's expected to announce a series of measures to spur economic growth as the 2012 election draws closer.
People will see a president who will be laying very significant proposals throughout the fall leading up this next State of the Union address, Gene Sperling, director of Obama's National Economic Council, told The Associated Press.
In addition to a potential public works program, Obama has also advocated keeping in place a payroll tax cut that would reduce the amount of their income most workers have to pay into Social Security. Some Republicans have resisted the proposal, arguing that it's an ineffective tool that would add to the country's debt.