Obama to press Congress to act on economy

Olivier Knox

Looking to retake the initiative on Americans’ No. 1 concern, President Barack Obama this week will deliver three speeches on the economy. The addresses, set for Wednesday and Thursday, come as Obama has been struggling with issues largely out of his control, including Syria’s civil war and deadly unrest in Egypt.

“The president thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball on the most important issue facing the country,” senior Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer said. “Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, refight old battles, and trump up phony scandals.”

Obama will kick off the speeches on Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., where he delivered a speech focused on the middle class in June 2005—one of his first national addresses on the economy. He will also speak in Warrensburg, Mo., and on Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla.

“The president will return to Knox College to kick off a series of speeches that will lay out his vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class and those fighting to join it front and center,” Pfeiffer said. “He'll talk about the progress we've made together, the challenges that remain, and the path forward.”

Obama has repeatedly pushed for relatively modest steps to bolster the sluggish but steady recovery, including investments in infrastructure, education and research. But Republicans who control the House of Representatives have made clear they won’t advance them.

The president’s speeches “will include new ideas and new pushes for ideas he has discussed before. They'll outline steps Congress can take, steps he'll take on his own, and steps the private sector can take that benefit us all,” Pfeiffer said.