Obama to Use Immigration, Economy to Divert Focus From Site Failure

Image: Obama to Use Immigration, Economy to Divert Focus From Site Failure

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 11:49 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The Affordable Care Act's disastrous rollout has confounded the Obama administration and left officials scrambling to change strategy in an effort to deflect attention from Obamacare.

Immigration and the economy will trump healthcare, though officials say the president still will address the issue during a series of campaign-like stops around the country, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Obama, who has been somewhat scarce since the Affordable Care Act's trouble-plagued debut, is seeking to become more visible in an effort to regain political momentum as his approval ratings sink.

This week the president is to hold events on immigration and the economy, and next month, the White House plans to announce executive actions on private-sector partnerships aimed at creating new jobs and economic growth, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Immigration-reform advocates from both parties have been pushing for the president to refocus attention on the issue. The divisive immigration issue was pushed to the back burner when news of the Obamacare insurance exchanges and the myriad technical problems with its website exploded into the headlines after the Oct. 1 rollout.

A coalition of faith, law enforcement, and business leaders plans to conduct a "fly-in" this week, with 600 people descending on Capitol Hill to urge lawmakers to revisit the immigration issue before the end of the year, according to The Hill.

Obama is working hard to advance his agenda despite a highly polarized Congress, a senior administration official told The Wall Street Journal.

One of the issues the president plans to push is increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour, an item that has gained little traction since Obama urged Congress to do so during this year's State of the Union address.

Senior aides originally planned for the president to be attending events in areas of the country with high numbers of uninsured people, encouraging them to shop for coverage on the HealthCare.gov website. When the site imploded, an expeditious course-change became necessary, and immigration and the economy returned to the fold.

The administration has acknowledged that the Obamacare problems likely will dominate headlines through the end of the year, but believes that shifting focus to other key issues will mitigate some of the fallout.

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