AP source: Obama to give major jobs speech

Associated Press
President Barack Obama waves as he walks off Air Force One after arriving at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Friday, June, 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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President Barack Obama waves as he walks off Air Force One after arriving at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Friday, June, 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will lay out new ideas for speeding up job growth and helping the struggling poor and middle class in a major speech designed to jolt the economy in early September, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

The president's plan is likely to contain tax cuts, jobs-boosting infrastructure ideas and steps that would specifically help the long-term unemployed. The official emphasized that all of Obama's proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, including his "infrastructure bank" idea to finance construction jobs.

On a related front, Obama will also present a specific plan to cut the suffocating long-term national debt and to pay for the cost of his new short-term economic ideas.

His debt proposal will be bigger than the $1.5 trillion package that a new "supercommittee" of Congress must come up with by late November.

The president will then spend the rest of the year publicly pressing Congress to take action as the economic debate roars into its next phase. Both the economic ideas and the plan to pay for them will be part of Obama's speech, although the address will focus mainly on the jobs components.

Since Obama is almost sure to face political opposition from Republicans, particularly in the House, which they control, he is already preparing to lobby the American public for support if Congress tosses his ideas aside. That would set up an issue for his re-election campaign next year.

The president's speech is expected right after the Sept. 5 Labor Day holiday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not yet disclosed his plans.

No final decisions on the economic package have been made.

Seeking re-election in a dispiriting economic time for the nation, Obama's rollout plan allows him to come into September swinging after one of the roughest periods of his presidency.

Obama has hinted about new economic ideas for days as the Republican presidential contenders take whacks as his record. Obama's economic team has been hashing out the new package since he and Congress struck a last-minute debt deal in late July to prevent a debilitating government default.

Obama has been rumbling through the Midwest all week, lobbying the locals along the way to help him pressure a divided Congress into working with him. He has one day of his bus tour left on Wednesday before returning to Washington and heading on a vacation with his family.

As president, Obama is under unparalleled pressure to start showing more economic progress. His own job is expected to depend on it.

Nearly 14 million people are unemployed. Many millions more have given up looking for jobs or haven't found a way to move from part-time to full-time work.

The administration official would not offer details about the tax cuts Obama is likely to propose for the middle class.

They are expected to be separate from the extension of the payroll tax cut for employees that Obama has lobbied for by the day. Obama also has promoted a familiar list of other ideas, including patent reform and three major trade deals. And he has pushed for longer benefits for the chronically unemployed.

The economy has rebounded from a deep recession Obama inherited, but growth and hopes have stalled.

The unemployment rate is at 9.1 percent. No president in recent history has been re-elected with a jobless rate nearly that high.

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