On the cusp of a glowing new June jobs report and a day before America’s Independence, President Obama again called on Congress to get to work.
The President’s challenge came while speaking on the economy on a visit to 1776, a tech startup hub in Washington D.C. that supports entrepreneurs tackling major challenges in education, energy, health care, and other critical industries.
He noted the different backgrounds of the people involved in the initiative.
“Coming from a wide range of backgrounds — we had former Army Rangers; we had lawyers; we had former HR folks, transportation experts, engineers — all of them had the kind of energy and drive and creativity and innovation that has been the hallmark of the American economy.”
He remarked that part of the reason he wanted to visit the company was to focus on what has happened in the U.S. economy over the last several months and last several years.
He declared that the United States economy has seen the fastest job growth in the first half of the year since 1999, the first time having five consecutive months of job growth of over 200,000 since 1999, and the quickest drop in unemployment in 30 years.
The President posited the view that the economy has made great strides and underscored the point that almost 10 million jobs have been created over the course of the last 52 months.
He however, bemoaned the fact that there are people who are still struggling and had not seen much increase in income and wages despite a recovering economy.
“Historically, financial crises take a longer time to recover from. We’ve done better than the vast majority of other countries over the last five years, but that drag has still meant a lot of hardship for a lot of folks,” he said.
He also said that if Washington were more focused on the people rather than politics much more could be done and the economy would even experience stronger and further growth.
President Obama further argued that more jobs and opportunities could be created if he had the support of Congress in the following:
Investing in rebuilding the infrastructure
Increasing the minimum wage
Equal pay for equal work
Making childcare accessible and affordable
He lamented that there were things that he was unable to do without Congress approval. These include fixing a broken immigration system and funding the Highway Trust Fund.
He reiterated that greater progress could be made if Congress was willing to work with his administration and set politics aside, at least occasionally.