By Megan R. Wilson - 07/19/14 06:08 AM EDT
Obama touts rising economy
President Obama used his weekly address to the nation on Saturday to tout a growing economy and push his economic policies even as foreign policy concerns dominated his agenda.
"Over the past 52 months, our businesses have created nearly 10 million new jobs," Obama said. "The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point since 2008.
"In fact, for the first time in over a decade, business leaders worldwide have declared that China is no longer the world’s best place to invest – America is," Obama said.
Obama's push on the economy comes as his attention is being diverted to a range of foreign policy issues, most notably the conflict in Ukraine.
The White House has sought to keep a focus on the economy ahead of a midterm election where the economy is likely to be a driving issue.
Republicans have been pressing Obama to take on jobs bills approved by the GOP House.
In his address, he urged support for several of his economic policies, including raising the minimum wage, that he said would improve things for the middle class.
"Our economy grows best not from the top-down, but from the middle-out. We do better when the middle class does better," Obama said. "So we have to make sure that we’re not just creating more jobs, but raising middle-class wages and incomes. We have to make sure our economy works for every works for every American."
Besides raising the minimum wage, Obama called for support for polcies to increase spending on roads and infrastructure as well as education. He also made a pitch for immigration reform.
“We should fight for fair pay and paid family leave,” he continued. “We should pass commonsense immigration reform that strengthens our borders and our businesses, and includes a chance for long-time residents to earn their citizenship.”
Obama has been making recent campaign-style stops around theh country where he has highlighted economic policies by speaking with middle-class Americans.
The White House highlighted a meeting with a woman named Alex during a swing through Texas and Colorado earlier this month. Obama dined with the woman, who said her employer so was inspired by his call to boost wages in this year’s State of the Union that she received a raise.
In Austin, Texas, Obama touted the executive action unilaterally raising wages for government contract-connected workers.
Last week, the president traveled to Delaware to talk about infrastructure, and this week, he has plans to visit to a Los Angeles community college to discuss the “need to equip our workers with the skills employers are looking for now and for the good jobs of the future,” the White House said.
Additionally, Obama said Vice President Joe Biden would be releasing a report on how to improve training for workers. The report will discuss how to “reform our job training system into a job-driven training system.”