U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday urged lawmakers to take action to speed up economic growth and strengthen the nation's middle class, reiterating the message in a series of campaign-style speeches in recent days.
"Over the past four and a half years, we've fought our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes and begun to lay a foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth," Obama said in his weekly address.
However, "any middle-class family will tell you, we're not where we need to be yet. Even before the crisis hit, we were living through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, while most families were working harder and harder just to get by," he said.
"That's why I'm laying out my ideas for how we can build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America. A good education. A home of your own. Health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you're not rich. And the most important cornerstone of all: a good job in a durable, growing industry," he said.
"When it comes to creating more good jobs that pay decent wages, the problem is not a lack of ideas. Plenty of independent economists, business owners and people from both parties agree on what we have to do," said Obama, who turns 52 on Sunday and celebrated his birthday weekend playing golf with friends on Saturday.
"What we're lacking is action from Washington," he stressed.
Obama embarked on a string of speeches focusing on economy and tax reforms prior to the August congressional recess starting on Saturday and looming government budget wrangles this fall. He has so far failed to persuade GOP rivals to offer him an olive branch