Politics

Obama touts jobs projects, eats lunch with workers

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden promoted government-financed work projects as they lunched outside the White House Friday, saying the projects could be endangered if Congress does not act by the end of the summer.

Obama and Biden ate at a Shake Shack burger restaurant a few blocks from the White House with four workers from a $9.1 million Washington reconstruction project underway about 3 miles away from the lunch spot.

The White House said the project included $6.9 million in federal aid. "It is a no-brainer for Congress to do what it's supposed to do, pass transportation funding," Obama said, his voice hoarse as he recovers from a cold.

Obama has proposed a $302 billion, four-year infrastructure spending bill, half of it paid for with existing fuel taxes and user fees and the other half paid for by eliminating corporate tax loopholes.

A key Senate committee voted Thursday to spend $265 billion on highway projects over the next six years. Still, much legislative work remains before it can become law. The administration says current funding for projects will run out by the end of August.

Obama also used the lunch outing to promote another top policy — raising the minimum wage. He said Shake Shack workers earn more than $10 an hour. The current minimum hourly wage is $7.25. Obama wants Congress to raise it to $10.10.

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