President Barack Obama urged the U.S. Congress to pass a $5 billion expansion of tax credits for clean energy manufacturing that he said would generate tens of thousands of new jobs.

Obama-SnapshotPresident Barack Obama urged the U.S. Congress to pass a $5 billion expansion of tax credits for clean energy manufacturing that he said would generate tens of thousands of new jobs.

With anxiety over high unemployment threatening Obama’s Democrats in November congressional elections, he used a campaign swing for key political candidates to defend his economic agenda and promote job-boosting measures.

Obama, accused by Republicans and some business leaders of a government overreach, also sought to strike a business-friendly tone and insisted his policies were aimed at unleashing the private sector as a catalyst for job growth.

“The private sector — not government — is, was, and always will be the source of America’s economic success,” he told a university audience in Nevada, a state struggling to overcome effects of a deep national recession.

While campaigning for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is in a tough fight for re-election in Nevada, Obama called on Congress to extend a tax credit program to foster private investment in clean energy manufacturing.

He estimated that a the $5 billion expansion would generate nearly 40,000 jobs, and the $12 billion or more in private sector investment it is expected to trigger could create up to 90,000 more jobs.

A now-depleted $2.3 billion in clean energy tax credits was part of a $787 billion economic stimulus Obama signed last year to help lift the economy out of the worst recession in a generation. Many independent economists credit the package with helping to stave off a worse crisis.

But he is facing growing anxiety over government spending amid record U.S. deficits and Republican complaints that the country cannot afford any more stimulus spending.

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Source: Reuters
Photo: Kevin Lamarque | Reuters