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Obama: Technology Will Fuel Manufacturing Jobs

Mon, 06/27/2011 - 4:22am
Jim Kuhnhnen, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says technological innovations such as robots can help pump jobs into the economy and spur growth in clean energy and advanced manufacturing.

In his radio and Internet address Saturday, the president echoed a plan he unveiled in Pittsburgh Friday to join the federal government, universities and corporations and reignite American manufacturing with an emphasis on cutting-edge research and new technologies.

"Their mission is to come up with a way to get ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor to the marketplace as swiftly as possible, which will help create quality jobs, and make our businesses more competitive," Obama said in his address, which was taped Friday during his visit to Carnegie Mellon University, where he saw a display of mini-robots that explore water and sewer pipes.

He also marveled at robots that can defuse a bomb, mow a lawn, even scrape old paint.

With growing interest from the military, businesses and consumers, the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute has more than 500 technical experts and a $65 million annual budget.

The $500 million initiative is the latest effort by Obama to promote job creation in the midst of an economic slowdown that has reduced hiring and weakened his job approval standing with the public. Obama has tried to brave the weak economy by featuring job creation measures during weekly trips outside Washington and in his radio addresses. On Tuesday, he will visit an Alcoa fabricated aluminum products factory in Bettendorf, Iowa.

The goal of his manufacturing plan, he said, is "to help make sure America remains in this century what we were in the last - a country that makes things."

As he prepares to meet with Senate leaders from both parties next week in hopes of restarting budget negotiations, Obama said he is "committed to working with members of both parties to cut our deficits and debt."

But he said he would not cut spending on education or infrastructure or in the type of innovative technologies he witnessed at Carnegie Mellon. "Being here in Pittsburgh, I'm hopeful about the future," he said.

In the Republican response to Obama's radio address, U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina proposed a different remedy to boost American businesses. Ellmers, who owns a small medical practice with her husband, said the Republican plan would reduce regulations, expand domestic energy production and require the government to consider the effect of federal rules on hiring.

"The job creators we hear from, they don't have their hand out," she said. "They don't want a bailout. All they ask us to do is get government out of the way."

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