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Obama pushes for infrastructure work

President Barack Obama returns to the White House in Washington D.C. from a trip to Jacksonville, Florida on July 25, 2013 . UPI/Dennis Brack/Pool
President Barack Obama returns to the White House in Washington D.C. from a trip to Jacksonville, Florida on July 25, 2013 . UPI/Dennis Brack/Pool | License Photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., July 25 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama in a speech in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday urged Congress to pass a bill to fund infrastructure projects and investments.

Obama delivered the speech, his third consecutive talk on the economy, at the Port Terminal Building at Jacksonville Port, home to two projects the administration expedited -- a container terminal and a rail yard, The Hill reported.

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Obama touted the strength of U.S. exports, the reduction in the deficit during his presidency and the slowed growth of healthcare costs.

But he said more needs to be done and complained gridlock in Washington has gotten worse.

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"We've got to help more manufacturers bring more jobs back to America. We've got to keep creating good jobs in manufacturing. We've got to create good jobs in wind and solar energy. We've got to tap into this natural gas revolution that's bringing energy costs down in this country, which means manufacturers now want to locate here because they're thinking that we've got durable, reliable supplies of energy," Obama said.

"We know strong infrastructure is a key ingredient to a thriving economy. That's how the United States became the best place in the world to do business. Unfortunately, over the past two years, too many folks in Washington have been cutting these investments. The world can't wait for Congress to get its act together. ...

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"There's a bipartisan bill in the Senate to fund critical improvements in our highways and our bridges, our transit and rail systems and our ports like this one. And so the House should act quickly on that bill. Let's get more Americans back on the job doing the work America needs done. That will be good for middle-class families. That will be good for middle-class security. That will be good for homeownership. That will be good for education. That is the smart thing to do. Let's get past politics and do it," he said.

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Before the speech, the president and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx toured the container terminal, The Hill said.

Wednesday, Obama spoke in Illinois and claimed credit for the economic recovery. He challenged the congressional Republicans to propose alternatives to his solutions.

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