Obama pushes $9 minimum wage bill in visit to red state Texas
Amie Parnes - 05/09/13 04:01 PM ET
President Obama on Thursday declared that the nation is “poised for progress” but called on Congress to help strengthen the middle class by promoting economic polices he proposed in his State of the Union address in February.
In a 20-minute speech at a technology school outside of Austin, Texas, Obama — who has been focused on the gun control and immigration debates in recent days — promoted his idea of raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour, as well as increasing spending on education, worker training programs and manufacturing-innovation centers.
Those proposals have gained little traction in the GOP-held House, which is revving up for a new fight with Obama over the debt ceiling in the fall.
Given the difficulty in moving anything legislatively, Obama sidestepped Congress on Thursday by announcing two executive actions that he claimed will help strengthen the economy: launching competitions for three innovation centers and a separate order requiring government data be made freely available so that entrepreneurs can access “troves of previously inaccessible data.” The White House said the files can be used to generate new products and services to help build businesses and create jobs.
Obama’s trip on Thursday marks the second time he has traveled to the Lone Star state in two weeks. And it comes as lawmakers will begin to take up a comprehensive immigration bill that bears strong significance for the state. Roughly 38 percent of the border state's population is Hispanic.
The trip to Texas has broader significance for the Democratic Party, which would like to see what has been a red state turn blue. Obama visited Texas a couple of times on the campaign trail last year.
For the second day in a row, White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday downplayed the notion that Obama’s appearance in Texas was part of a