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Obama Makes His Case for Jobs Plan


President Obama signs the Korea Free Trade Agreement at the White House, Friday. Behind him, from left, are Andrew Liveris, chief of Dow Chemical, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Jim McNerney, chief executive officer of Boeing and Ron Kirk, U.S. Tr

President Obama signs the Korea Free Trade Agreement at the White House, Friday. Behind him, from left, are Andrew Liveris, chief of Dow Chemical, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Jim McNerney, chief executive officer of Boeing and Ron Kirk, U.S. Tr



This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

President Obama and his wife Michelle traveled to the states of North Carolina and Virginia this week. The Obamas were seeking support for the president’s four hundred forty-seven billion dollar jobs plan.

The American Jobs Act calls for cutting wage taxes on most businesses. It seeks to prevent public employees like teachers, police and firefighters from losing their jobs to budget cutting measures. And it calls for more federal spending on roads and transportation infrastructure to help create jobs.

Last week, the Senate blocked a vote on the full bill.

On Sunday, the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives said some parts of the bill are like those in a plan put forward by the Republican Party. Eric Cantor urged President Obama to find common ground with House Republicans.

ERIC CANTOR: "We want the president to work with us. We want him to stop campaigning. Let's go find the things that are in common between this plan and his."

Republicans in Congress offered their own plans to improve job growth earlier this year. They have called for cutting tax rates and limiting government rules on businesses.

Last week, Congress passed free trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Both Mister Obama and Congressional Republicans agree the deals should create jobs at home and open markets to American exports.

United States trade officials say every billion dollars in new exports supports six thousand additional jobs. Last year, exports to South Korea alone stood at about thirty-nine billion dollars. President Obama signs the trade agreements into law Friday.

But, the president says a lack of jobs continues to hurt economic growth.

The unemployment rate held at nine point one percent in September. The economy added over one hundred thousand jobs during the month. But economists say that is not enough to markedly bring down jobless rate.

In Hampton, Virginia, First Lady Michelle Obama joined her husband in speaking to armed service members. She spoke about part of his jobs plan aimed at helping veterans find jobs after they leave the armed forces.

MICHELLE OBAMA: "And this commitment puts us a quarter of the way towards reaching the president's challenge to the private sector to hire or train 100,000 vets and military spouses by the end of 2013."

President Obama has said lawmakers will now have to vote on parts of his jobs plan. And, he said, they will have to explain why they voted the way they did.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report. Find more economic news with transcripts and MP3s at voaspecialenglish.com. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Mario Ritter.

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Chris Simkins and Marissa Melton contributed to this report.

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