Obama says to weigh new steps to boost jobs

WASHINGTON Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:11pm EDT

President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Virginia, June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Barack Obama speaks during a visit to Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria, Virginia, June 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, seeking to ease voters' concerns about his handling of the U.S. economy, said on Saturday a meeting with his jobs council next week would focus on possible further steps to boost hiring in the short term.

Obama on Monday will visit a clean-energy plant in North Carolina, a likely battleground state in his 2012 re-election bid, where he will consult with a panel of outside advisers on job creation headed by General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt.

Obama's effort to reassure Americans of his commitment to reducing unemployment, which edged up to 9.1 percent last month, comes amid signs of a slowing recovery and opinion polls showing increasing public doubts about his economic policies.

Republican critics accuse Obama of wasteful spending and overregulation that they say obstruct economic growth.

"I wish I could tell you there was a quick fix to our economic problems," Obama said in his weekly radio address. "But the truth is, we didn't get into this mess overnight, and we won't get out of it overnight. It's going to take time."

Though the White House and Democratic allies in Congress remain locked in tough talks with Republicans over an elusive deficit-reduction deal, Obama sought to make clear that he was not losing sight of the need to put people back to work.

"I'll travel to North Carolina where I'll meet with my Jobs Council and talk about additional steps we can take to spur private-sector hiring in the short-term and ensure our workers have the skills and training they need," he said.

Obama said investing in education and alternative energy would improve the job market but offered no specifics. An administration official said on Thursday the White House was discussing the idea of a temporary cut in payroll taxes that employers pay on wages, among other measures.

Obama on Tuesday expressed interest in seeking an agreement to continue parts of a tax-cut compromise reached last year. He cited a payroll tax holiday for employees, extended jobless benefits and a research and development tax break as measures that had helped.

In the Republican response, U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger accused Obama of "broken promises" on jobs.

"We can't continue to follow the same failed agenda that has driven job creators further into doubt and uncertainty," he said.

Kinzinger also said his party had made clear that "under no circumstances will Republicans support irresponsible legislation which increases the federal government's credit limit without any spending cuts or budgetary reforms."

He said it was time to "draw a hard line" on spending.

Outside pressure is growing for a deal that would let Congress raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before an August 2 deadline. Republicans say any increase in the debt limit would have to be matched by an equal amount of spending cuts.

(Editing by Xavier Briand)

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Comments (114)
cautious123 wrote:
It’s not just his handling of the economy. The guy is clueless about everything. We’re involved in more wars and “kinetic actions” than ever before–and he seems clueless about how to end them. He is easily manipulated by the military and the Europeans and has no mind or backbone of his own. The Republicans dictate to him on domestic economic issues, even though Obama could have immense public support for focusing on jobs and revenue (code: tax the rich) instead of the Wall Street approach of deficit reduction (code: screw the middle class). Obama is a reed in the wind–no commitment to anything except his next election, no ideas except what others put inside his head, and no action except what the Republicans and generals allow him to do. He doesn’t even support the progressive members of his own party–preferring to make deals (and play golf) with Republicans and throw progressives under the bus. He is much more than a disappointment. He is a tragic figure–the first Black U.S. president, but still a slave to special interests.

Jun 11, 2011 7:29am EDT  --  Report as abuse
jscott418 wrote:
You know this whole clean energy pitch is getting old. It might eventually produce a significant job market decades from now. But its certainly not going to help our situation now. You can’t just lose so many jobs in multiple areas of the job market and focus your solution on creating one area that is new and unproven. Considering how many do not think clean energy is cost effective at this point. What gives Obama any hope that in the next few months it will take off and all of a sudden create the jobs we need? That’s like me saying in the great depression telling the unemployed that the space program will create new jobs? Its about like that!

Jun 11, 2011 7:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
shay11 wrote:
Ironic, a man who never had a job or created a job in this world commenting on “job creation”. As voters we should be fired. This man has not a clue. Knee jerk reactionary, inconsistant, and indecisive sum this man’s actions up as president so far. But in our defense as voters the pickins are slim. I understood holding your nose and pulling his lever. But hindsight being 20/20 we were praying for a magic pill and we got a booby prize.

Jun 11, 2011 7:43am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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