Republicans in the House of Representatives want to use an increase in the debt limit as a vehicle for more spending cuts, though Carney said Tuesday that the White House “won’t negotiate” over lifting the limit to pay the country’s bills. Economists believe that some of the spending cuts, particularly in defense, already are slowing the overall rate of economic growth.
Polls suggest the battle wouldn’t be favorable ahead of the 2014 congressional elections. The Pew survey released Tuesday found that views of Congress remain historically negative and have never recovered from the 20-year low they hit in August 2011 after the last contentious debt ceiling debate.
White House aides insisted the speech will look beyond congressional budget squabbles and won’t serve as a to-do list for Congress. Obama’s past efforts to goose the economy met with considerable opposition from House Republicans.
Still, Obama told supporters on Monday night that he plans to follow up his broad theme of ensuring economic security “with a series of more concrete proposals,” some of which may be new.
Looking to rally his supporters ahead of his speech, Obama on Monday night said his remarks will focus on long-term threats to middle class prosperity that existed before the most recent crisis, including the loss of jobs to technology and globalization.
“I’m going to talk about where we need to go from here; how we need to put behind us the distractions and the phony debate and nonsense that somehow passes for politics these days, and get back to basics,” Obama told activists with his political organization, Organizing for Action. He pledged that his speech would “refocus on what it is that everybody is talking about around the kitchen table, what people are talking about day to day with their families."
Republicans dismissed Obama’s focus on the economy as an effort to seek more spending.
“If the president was serious about helping our economy, he wouldn’t give another speech, he’d reach out and actually work with us,” House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday.
The speech, at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., will be the first in what aides say will be a series of economy-related speeches, delivered in various states and in Washington.
The kickoff marks Obama’s return to Knox College, where the then-U.S. senator in June 2005 delivered a commencement address that his aides consider critical to understanding his governing philosophy.
In that pre-financial crisis speech, Obama argued that the United States’ political stability could be traced to “our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we’re all in it together and everybody’s got a shot at opportunity.”