Obama to push economic policies ahead of State of the Union

Obama to push economic policies ahead of State of the Union
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President Obama will push progressive economic policies when he returns from his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Sunday and vowed to defend Republican efforts to repeal parts of his healthcare law.

It's all leading up to his State of the Union Address that's scheduled for Jan. 20, his first prime-time speech during a GOP-controlled Congress.

In a series of speeches across the country next week, Obama will argue that the economy is continuing to recover, highlighting the administration's efforts to improve the auto, manufacturing and housing industries.

Republicans are expected to send bills to Obama's desk that would approve the Keystone Pipeline and repeal parts of ObamaCare. Republicans don't have the 67-votes needed in the Senate to override an Obama veto.

"There are a number of issues we could make progress on, but the President is clear that he will not let this Congress undo important protections gained - particularly in areas of health care, Wall Street reform and the environment," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement Saturday. 

Obama and other progressives have environmental concerns about the Keystone pipeline. And Obama has maintained that he will oppose any significant changes to Obamacare, which remains a hallmark, partisan piece of his domestic policy legacy.

A spokesman for new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGun proposal picks up GOP support Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Dems see Trump as potential ally on gun reform MORE (R-Ky.) criticized the administration for launching what it sees as a political campaign against the new Congress.

"There's a lot that can be accomplished for American families if the President will work with Congress instead of insisting on campaigning against it," McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. "His policies were 'on the ballot' in November and that election is over. It's time to get back to work, not back to the campaign trail."

Obama will head to Detroit on Wednesday, where he'll tout the impacts of the auto bailout and make the case that the manufacturing sector is improving.

The next day, he'll head to Phoenix, where he'll emphasize that the housing industry is showing signs of improving. Lawmakers have yet to pass a comprehensive housing reform package, despite bipartisan efforts in the Senate. 

Taxpayer-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac repaid their bailouts following the 2008 economic collapse, but Obama and most lawmakers have argued that their government conservatorship cannot be permanent. Several Congressional proposals on both sides of the aisle have called for their demise, replacing it with a new government-sponsored entity.

Vice President Joe BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenReport: Biden to write foreword for memoir by transgender activist Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators Kasich, Biden to hold discussion on bipartisanship MORE will pitch new initiatives to help make college more affordable during a speech in Tennessee on Friday, while also highlighting the administration's efforts to boost the manufacturing industry.