WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Barack Obama will meet top Democrats from the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday to plot strategy on how to advance his jobs proposals that are stalled in Congress amid Republican resistance.
The White House talks follow a series of unilateral steps by Obama over the past week aimed at seizing the initiative from his Republican foes and showing voters he is serious about tackling high unemployment and a sluggish economy, efforts considered crucial to his 2012 re-election hopes.
But Obama's aides acknowledge that any steps he can take on his own still fall far short of his $447 billion jobs package that Republicans have blocked as a whole in Congress and which he now hopes to push through piece by piece.
Senior Democrats from the Republican-controlled House, a delegation expected to be headed by Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is due to meet Obama at 3:15 p.m. ET Tuesday.
Topping the agenda will be how to boost the economy and reduce a 9.1 unemployment rate, a senior Obama administration official said.
Obama Wednesday plans to deliver remarks at the Key Bridge in Washington as part of his effort to get Congress to pass billions of dollars in infrastructure spending to put thousands of construction workers back to work nationwide.
Though polls show strong public support for much of Obama's jobs plan, Republicans argue that financing the new spending by raising taxes on the wealthy, as the president and his Democrats have proposed, would actually kill jobs.
With his approval ratings languishing in the 40-percent range due mostly to public discontent with his economic stewardship, Obama is trying to paint Republicans as obstructing his efforts to spur economic recovery.
Obama's meeting with House Democrats also comes at a time when members of a U.S. congressional debt reduction "super committee" are trying to come up with a plan to slash America's huge deficits before a November 23 deadline.
It was not immediately clear whether deliberations by the panel, which remains deeply divided, would figure into Obama's meeting with the Democratic leadership.