Speaking from Boardman, Ohio, the Democratic president lauded the congressional passage of legislation that will keep thousands of Americans rebuilding the United States' "crumbling infrastructure" and head off the doubling of interest rates on federal college student loans.
"Those steps will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans," Obama, who is expected to face Republican candidate Mitt Romney in the November general election, said in prepared remarks released by the White House. "But make no mistake: We've got more to do.
"The construction industry was hit brutally hard when the housing bubble burst. So it's not enough to just keep construction workers on the job doing projects that were already under way.
"For months, I've been calling on Congress to take half the money we're no longer spending on war and use it to do some nation-building here at home. There's work to be done building roads and bridges and wireless networks. And there are hundreds of thousands of construction workers ready to do it.
"The same thing is true for our students. The bill I'm about to sign is vital for millions of students and their families. But it's not enough to just keep their student loan rates from doubling.
"For months, I've been calling on Congress to reform and expand the financial aid that's offered to students. I've been asking them to help us give 2 million Americans the opportunity to learn the skills that businesses in their area are looking for -- right now -- through partnerships between community colleges and employers. In America, a higher education cannot be a luxury reserved for just a privileged few. It's an economic necessity that every American family should be able to afford."
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