Obama to tout education as pathway to middle-class jobs

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President Obama will argue Friday that the joint budget conference committee tasked with recommending a 2014 spending plan should prioritize schools that provide educational and vocational training.

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The president will be visiting Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), a Brooklyn institution where students graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering.

Obama has heralded the school, a joint venture between the New York public school system; City University of New York; and IBM, as a model for the type of institution that would prepare students to secure middle-class jobs.

According to a White House official, Obama “believes that the upcoming budget conference is an opportunity for Washington to focus on building a strong, secure middle class.”

“In his trip to New York today, the President will highlight how investing in schools like P-TECH can help prepare our kids with the skills they need to find a good job,” the official said.

“In addition to investing in things like P-TECH, the president will discuss how we can build on the progress we've made to cut our deficit in half since 2009 through a balanced approach that replaces the sequester and achieves even more deficit reduction by closing tax loopholes, cutting wasteful spending, and strengthening our entitlement programs for generations to come.”

The budget conference, which includes Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), among others, will meet for the first time next weekend.

Under the agreement struck to reopen the government, the conference committee has until Dec. 13 to report back their recommendations to the full House and Senate. Lawmakers hope to bridge the Republican spending bill that emerged from the House and a Democratic version that passed the Senate.

A reconciled bill would need to be passed by both chambers before mid-January, or the government faces another shutdown.

While in New York, the president will also attend a pair of fundraisers — one for House Democrats and one for the Democratic National Committee.