President Barack Obama is meeting with corporate advisers and pushing for a simpler tax code for businesses and expanded trade, two policy proposals that are certain to put him at odds with some fellow Democrats as he enters the last two years of his presidency.
Obama also was to announce Thursday a competition for two manufacturing hubs — centers designed to promote innovation and production by connecting federal agencies with academic institutions. The announcement would bring Obama halfway to his pledge to create 15 such institutes.
The White House said each hub will get $70 million or more in federal money that would be matched by at least $70 million from the private sector.
In a meeting with his Export Council, Obama was also to announce a $100 million expansion in an apprenticeship program for aspiring manufacturing workers.
With Republicans set to control both houses of Congress next year, Obama has highlighted trade and a tax overhaul as two areas of possible common ground with the GOP. Democrats have resisted such efforts in the past.
In a statement ahead of the meeting, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, "It is our hope that the president will find a way to bring his party on board with trade legislation that would give the administration the tools it needs to expand opportunities for American workers through increased exports."