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Obama Turns Attention to Manufacturing with New Executive Orders

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- While legislative battles over gun control and government spending have dominated much of the president’s agenda this year, President Obama heads to Austin, Texas, on Thursday to bring attention to job creation and manufacturing.

While in Texas, the president will announce two new executive orders during his first of a series of “Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours.”  The executive actions are a fulfillment of promises made in the president’s State of the Union address this year to strengthen manufacturing.

The first executive order will launch competitions for three Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, partnerships focused on developing manufacturing technologies, and will call on Congress to set aside $1 billion for the creation of 15 such institutes modeled off a pilot program in Youngstown, Ohio.

“A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.  There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns,” Obama said in the State of the Union address.

The competitions for the first three institutes, which will be run by the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, will focus on digital manufacturing, lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, and manufacturing for next generation power electronics.

The second executive order will require that all new government data be available in “open, machine-readable formats” to help technology entrepreneurs and researchers in their work.

The president’s announcements will come as he holds several events in Austin, the first trip in his series to highlight successful companies and initiatives which could serve as models for job creation and growth.

While in Austin, Obama will deliver a speech at Manor Tech New High School, meet with residents to discuss the state of the middle class, talk with technology entrepreneurs, and speak at Applied Materials, a high tech company in Austin the administration credits with being “a hub for innovation and job creation.”

“He will visit these places to learn what has helped them become successful and use these models of growth to encourage Congress to act,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Sunday.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will meet Obama on the tarmac when he lands in Austin, but as the president is set to highlight the jobs and innovation in Austin, a spokesperson for Perry said that many answers to the economic troubles facing the country can be solved by the economic initiatives put in place in Texas by the governor.

“If President Obama is serious about getting our nation’s economy working again, then he’s come to the right place,” Lucy Nashed, a spokesperson for Perry said.  “Texas’ success didn’t happen by accident -- it’s a result of policies put in place under Gov. Perry’s leadership with a laser focus on making Texas a beacon of economic freedom.  The simple truth is, Washington can emulate Texas’ healthy economy by cutting taxes, cutting spending, providing regulatory relief and passing meaningful tort reform, then getting out of the way and allowing employers to risk their capital and create jobs.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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