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Obama urges building middle class growth in ‘year of action’

Continuing his call for a ‘year of action’ to build a stronger economy, in his weekly address released by the White House on Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama stated that he will focus on “every day” that he has remaining to serve the nation as president to create opportunities to expand the middle class in America, and urged Congress to work with him to do so.

U.S. President Barack Obama discusses college education during an event in Washington D.C. targeted at finding ways to provide opportunities for college for low-income students, Jan. 16, 2014.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Obama stated, “Thanks in part to our all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, for the first time in nearly two decades we produce more oil here at home than we buy from the rest of the world. We generate more renewable energy than ever, and more natural gas than anybody. Health care costs are growing at their slowest rate in 50 years, due in part to the Affordable Care Act. And since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.”

Noting that these actions have created an economic atmosphere more favorable to creating high tech manufacturing and building higher paying, middle-class jobs, he said that more needs to be done to bridge the gap to a stronger, more competitive economy. In particular, Obama urged Congress to work with him in 2014 by passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation as well as by investing in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.

However, the President made it clear that he was not willing to sit idly by if Congress refuses to act.

“Where Congress isn’t acting, I’ll act on my own to put opportunity within reach for anyone who’s willing to work for it,” President Obama remarked clearly and emphatically. “That’s what I did in Raleigh by launching America’s second ‘manufacturing innovation institute.’ It’s a partnership between companies, colleges, and the federal government focused on making sure American businesses and American workers win the race for high-tech manufacturing and the jobs that come with it – jobs that can help people and communities willing to work hard punch their ticket into the middle class."

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