Weaker Economy Puts Pressure On Obama, GOP
USATODAY.COM - Slower than projected economic growth and a new warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have put renewed pressure on President Obama and Congress to provide a needed jolt in September.
The Commerce Department reported Friday that the economy grew by just 1% in the second quarter of the year and 0.7% over the first half, less than previously projected.
That dismal report was followed by Bernanke's admonition at an annual economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that Congress should come to the rescue with fiscal policies to promote growth.
Both Obama and Republicans in Congress will point to part of Bernanke's remarks. While he offered no proposals, the Fed chairman cited tax, trade and regulatory policies as areas ripe for reform.
Obama has been calling on Congress to address the first two areas. He wants another year of payroll tax cuts in 2012. And he wants approval of pending free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama that are billed as jobs-producers.
House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders in Congress have been urging Obama to pare back proposed regulations that they say will impose new burdens on business. Boehner reiterated that argument Friday, calling on the president to disclose all proposed rules with a projected cost of $1 billion or more.
"The quality of economic policymaking in the United States will heavily influence the nation's longer-term prospects. To allow the economy to grow at its full potential, policymakers must work to promote macroeconomic and financial stability; adopt effective tax, trade, and regulatory policies; foster the development of a skilled workforce; encourage productive investment, both private and public; and provide appropriate support for research and development and for the adoption of new technologies," Bernanke said.
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