President Obama is wrapping up his three-day bus tour of the Midwest today with two stops in his home state of Illinois.
He hosted a town hall-style event at the Country Corner Farm Market, taking questions on subjects ranging from Social Security to the safety of law enforcement officers. Earlier today he took part in a town hall meeting in Atkinson, Illinois, a farming town of about 1,000 people. The President reiterated some of the themes from his trip, telling told the crowd in Atkinson that he's "confident about this country....But there is something wrong with our politics.”
Various news outlets including the Washington Post are reporting that the President will lay out a new proposal in early September for creating jobs and reducing the federal deficit.
According to the Post story, the President's plan could include tax cuts and new infrastructure spending to spur hiring, and cut far more from the federal debt than the $1.5 trillion target of a congressional “super committee” created by the debt ceiling compromise bill. The plan is also likely to include proposals for an overhaul of the tax code and entitlements.
The President was in Iowa yesterday taking part in a forum on rural economics. He told participants "I'm here because I want to hear from you" about how to strengthen the rural economy. He said that while the country is facing a recession, "for a lot of families in rural parts of the country, these (economic) challenges aren't new."
And on Monday, the first day of his Midwest bus tour, the President visited Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and Decorah, Iowa. In Minnesota, he told a crowd of 500 people that “our biggest challenge is putting people to work."
The President also said Monday that Congress must have the "willingness to put partisan games aside" if they are serious about job creation.
According to the White House report, 17% percent of the population live in rural areas, which is half the number who lived outside urban centers a century ago, and rural residents are less likely to obtain higher education and more likely to lack health care coverage or access.
In June, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council. The Council is tasked with "focusing on increasing rural access to capital, spurring agricultural innovation, expanding digital and physical infrastructure in rural areas, and creating economic opportunities through conservation and outdoor recreation."