In recent polls, Americans have expressed a growing frustration with the bitter partisanship that has nearly crippled the ability of Capitol Hill Republicans and Democrats to agree on anything that would move the nation forward. In a speech delivered at a Michigan battery plant Thursday afternoon, President Obama said he feels voters’ pain.
“There’s nothing wrong with our country, there is something wrong with our politics,” he said. “There are some in Congress who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.”
Obama outlined some of the specific things he would like to see Congress accomplish, such as extending the payroll tax cut, funding infrastructure projects and passing trade deals that would open foreign markets to American products and services.
“The problem is not that we don’t have answers,” he said. “The problem is folks are playing political games.”
Looking and sounding more impassioned than normal, Obama urged his audience to reach out to lawmakers to tell them to stop bickering and start passing bills that will boost the economy.
“You’ve got to tell them you’ve had enough of the theatrics, you’ve had enough of the politics, stop sending out press releases, start passing some bills that we all know will help our economy improve right now,” Obama said. “That’s what they need to do, they’ve got to hear from you.”
Michigan is a key swing state that Obama can ill afford to lose next fall. The unemployment rate there for June was 10.5 %, slightly higher than the national average of 9.1%. According to a U.S. Labor Department report released that same month, the state’s Black unemployment rate is the highest in the nation at 25%.