President Obama on Monday accused Republicans of failing to pass legislation to improve America’s infrastructure and create jobs as he pledged to take further unilateral action.
Obama spoke before the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO labor union, a key Democratic constituency he will need at the polls in November.
“American workers built this country. Now we need American workers to rebuild this country," Obama said. "It’s time to take some of the money that we spend on wars, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest of it to do some nation-building here at home."
He said this vision required “bold action from Congress” but said Republicans have repeatedly voted ‘no’ on the legislation he has proposed.
Obama framed his legislation as a choice between investment and a desire by the opposing party to offer tax breaks to wealthy Americans.
“Let me you ask you,” he said. “What do you think will make the economy stronger? Giving another tax break to every millionaire and billionaire in the country? Or building the roads and bridges and broadband networks that will help our businesses sell more goods around the world? It’s pretty clear, this choice is not a hard one.”
He also took aim at “right to work” laws championed by Republicans across the country that would decrease the power of unions. Obama said such laws were about politics rather than economics, saying they “might also be called ‘the right to work for less and less.’”