President Barack Obama sought to renew pressure on Congress to act on his proposals for job creation and economic growth, the dominant issues in the campaign for the White House.
With six months to go before Election Day and polls showing Obama tied with presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney, the president today used the backdrop of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the State University of New York in Albany to present a “to-do list” for lawmakers.
“There’s no excuse for inaction,” Obama said. “The only way we can accelerate the job creation on a scale that is needed is bold action from Congress.”
Since the $447 billion jobs plan he proposed last September was blocked by congressional Republicans, Obama has sought to rally support for individual components, including spending on infrastructure and aid to the states that cut budgets and shed public employees as tax revenues fell.
Obama’s five-point list includes offering companies a tax credit for moving their manufacturing back to the U.S., making it easier for homeowners to refinance and renewing tax credits for clean energy development.
Obama also is asking Congress to approve a tax credit for small businesses that create new jobs or raise wages this year, and to create a Veterans Job Corps to help post-Sept. 11 veterans find work as police officers and firefighters.
In his campaign to win a second term, Obama is seeking to make the case that while the recovery has been uneven, the U.S. is making progress. He has also tried to tie Romney to the Republican majority in the House of Representatives that Obama blames for blocking measures that would boost growth.
Obama’s economic message was set back last week when the Labor Department reported U.S. employers added 115,000 workers to payrolls in April, fewer than forecast and the smallest gain in six months. While the jobless rate fell to 8.1 percent, it was largely because people left the labor force.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and private-equity executive, used the May 4 jobs report to criticize Obama’s stewardship of the economy, calling it a “sad time in America for people who want work and can’t find jobs.”
Research and Development
Obama highlighted his support of government-private partnerships to enhance science and technology education and development. The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany is the product of agreements between New York state and technology companies, including International Business Machines Corp. (IBM:US) It awarded the world’s first doctoral degrees in nanoscience in 2004.
In September, IBM and Intel Corp. (INTC:US), the world’s largest semiconductor maker, announced plans to invest $4.4 billion over five years to develop a nanotechnology venture in New York, creating or retaining almost 7,000 jobs, according to the governor’s office. To support the private investment, the state agreed to put $400 million into the nanoscale science college in Albany.
Nanotechnology is the design and engineering of materials and devices at an atomic or molecular scale. They are used in medicine, electronics, biomaterials and energy production.
Today marked Obama’s third visit to this part of upstate New York since he took office. He gave a speech in September 2009 at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy and in January 2011 visited General Electric’s Schenectady operations to tour the turbine factory.
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