President Barack Obama paid a visit Thursday to 1776, a local tech start-up hub, in order to advocate for immigration reform and applaud the tech sector for its contributions to economic growth, CBS News reports.
The start-up 1776 hosts a variety of new and rapidly growing tech companies in Washington, D.C. Obama’s visit follows a stream of attention from high-profile political figures. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray has repeatedly mentioned the startup hub in many public speeches, and last year 1776 was visited by Queen Rania of Jordan.
Speaking to an audience of entrepreneurs, Obama said:
My hope is the American people look at today’s news and understand that in fact we are making strides. We have not seen more consistent job growth since the ’90s but we can make even more progress if Congress is willing to work with my administration and to set politics aside at least occasionally, which I know is what the American people are urgently looking for.
Obama used the event to discuss recent job gains, particularly the announcement Wednesday from the Labor Department that 288,000 nonfarm jobs have been added to the economy in June, surpassing projections. In the “52 straight months of job growth,” the tech sector has seen tremendous gains.
What the president conveniently failed to mention was an increase in the labor force participation rate in June, which saw an addition of 111,000 Americans who stopped looking for work. That brings the total to another record high of 92,120,000.
He also neglected to mention that more and more Americans who are actively seeking employment are settling for part-time jobs. The Washington Post reports:
[T]here’s a gnawing fear among some economists that the improving data provides false comfort. The number of people in part-time jobs jumped by more than 1 million in June to 27 million, according to the government’s data, making it one of the corners of the labor market that has been slowest to heal. That has led to worries that the workforce may be becoming permanently polarized, with part-timers stuck on one side and full-time workers on the other.
Undeterred by reality, Obama pressed on, using the occasion to pressure Congress to move forward with policies that signify “economic patriotism,” touting immigration reform and infrastructure projects as two major examples:
We can’t fix a broken immigration system that would allow incredibly talented folks who want to start businesses here and create jobs here in the United States, would allow them to stay and make those investments. That’s something that we need Congress to help us on.
A Gallup poll conducted recently which matches with a variety of other independent surveys, however, shows that immigration reform does not have popular support among average Americans.
Said Speaker of the House John Boehner:
In order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize. From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where he can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us.
This report, by Jonah Bennett, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Howard Portnoy contributed to this report.