ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
President Obama this morning will address the monthly jobs numbers that will be released today. Within the context of the nation’s unemployment rate, the president will announce investments into 66 new Recovery Act broadband projects nationwide.
The $795 million investment grants and loans are expected to create approximately 5,000 jobs up front, the White House said.
“This economic recovery that’s under way has clearly yet to provide the American middle class with the opportunity they need and they deserve,” Jared Bernstein, chief economist to the vice president said in a conference call in advance of the announcement. “We’ve got to do more, a lot more, to build on the momentum achieved so far.”
In addition to the immediate creation of 5,000 jobs, Bernstein said the plan also will spur economic development in some of the nation’s hardest-hit communities, spinning off more activity and jobs.
“Once these networks are in place and formally off-grid communities join the local marketplace, what economists call ‘network externalities’ can kick in,” Bernstein said, meaning that rural businesses can expand their markets, sell online and attract new clients currently out of reach.
After his remarks at Andrews Air Force Base, President Obama will fly to West Virginia, where he will attend the memorial service for the late West Virginia senator, Robert Byrd, who passed away this week.
On Tuesday, President Obama called Byrd a “giant of the senate” and a “personal friend” who will be missed.
“When I think about Sen. Byrd, what I think about is somebody who, during the course of an unparalleled career, not only helped to transform the institution of the Senate but, through his own personal transformation, embodied the kind of changes in America that have made us more equal, more just, more fair.”
After the memorial service, the president will fly to Camp David, where he will spend the holiday weekend with his family. The Obamas will return to the White House on Sunday to watch fireworks on the South Lawn of the White House.