President Obama is set to embark on a campaign-style tour of the Midwest this week to present his agenda for reinvigorating the economy. Part of the impetus behind the tour is Obama's desire to preemptively confront the major clashes he is likely to face with Congress this fall over the federal budget and debt ceiling. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has even cautioned that Congress' approach to fiscal policy could upend the economy's current pace of moderate growth. Major yikes.
Obama's tour will begin Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., where aides say he will deliver a "major address" on economic policy. In the speech, he is expected to set his terms for yet another battle with the Republican-controlled House over United States fiscal policy.
Obama will address economic issues through the lens of an economy that is firmly in recovery with a rapidly shrinking budget deficit — but an economy that also nonetheless has a ways to go in attaining vigorous momentum.
September marks the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis that intensified the effects of the recession. One of the tour's objectives is to review the economy's recovery and outline a path forward. In a series of smaller speeches during the tour, Obama will also address health care, housing, the affordability of higher education, how to create more manufacturing jobs, and the economic benefits of immigration overhaul.
“The president thinks Washington has largely taken its eye off the ball,” Dan Pfeiffer, the president’s senior adviser, said. “Instead of talking about how to help the middle class, too many in Congress are trying to score political points, re-fight old battles and trump up phony scandals."