President Obama will call for more infrastructure spending Thursday afternoon during his third economic speech in the last two days, using a trip to the port in Jacksonville, Fla., to again argue that Republicans are hindering job growth.
“While in Jacksonville, the president will continue to talk about the cornerstones of middle-class security and discuss specifically how the House Republican budget approach poses a risk to the progress we’ve made in each area, including jobs, education, housing and health care,” a White House official said.
On Wednesday, Obama in Illinois started a series of speeches intended to redefine the economic debate in Washington ahead of bruising budget battles in the fall. Republicans, however, greeted Obama’s speech at Knox College with a collective yawn, accusing the president of recycling old ideas.
Obama will speak Thursday at the Jacksonville Port Authority, where he will highlight two infrastructure projects that his administration expedited last year.
The president is eager to showcase successful examples of when he sidestepped Congress, as he tries to paint the Republican-controlled House as a dysfunctional group of obstructionists.
The White House is also looking to lessen the focus on mounting questions about Obamacare, the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives and elusive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, among other topics, that have started to hurt Obama in a series of recent public polls.
Obama vaguely referred to such controversies as “phony scandals” during his remarks on Wednesday.
In his State of the Union address this year, Obama called for $50 billion in stimulus funding for decaying roads and bridges, transit systems and airports — a request that was dismissed by the GOP as a flawed, big-government solution to economic turmoil.
Supporters say that Obama’s infrastructure proposals would create thousands of jobs. But critics point to the president’s $800 billion stimulus package, which included $48 billion in funding for transportation projects, as proof that a similar investment would produce limited results.