President Obama touts U.S. manufacturing at WI plant

(AP) - President Barack Obama called Wednesday for tax cuts for American manufacturers and higher taxes for companies that move overseas, pressing what he hopes

MILWAUKEE - (AP) - President Barack Obama called Wednesday for tax cuts for American manufacturers and higher taxes for companies that move overseas, pressing what he hopes will be a winning campaign issue. Appearing at a Milwaukee padlock plant, Obama said the U.S. must do everything it can to make it more attractive for American businesses to stay put and grow here at home, and "one place to start is with our tax code." The president visited Master Lock, a manufacturer that has brought jobs back to the United States. Reprising ideas from his State of the Union address, Obama asked Congress to approve tax system changes right away, including a minimum tax on multinational companies so that American firms can't skirt taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.He also pushed for tax breaks for businesses that move into communities that have been hurt by factories leaving town. "Don't wait. Do it now. Get it done," Obama shouted, his jacket removed and shirtsleeves rolled up, as he stood in front of a pile of stacked orange metal boxes, including one stamped "Made in the USA." Obama stopped in politically important Wisconsin en route to a three-day West Coast fundraising swing. The president won Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008 but is expected to face a more difficult challenge this year.He said he decided to visit Master Lock "because this company has been making the most of a huge opportunity that exists right now to bring jobs and manufacturing back to the United States of America." And he called on other businesses to follow its lead and take advantage of rising costs overseas and growing productivity at home. Master Lock brought back 100 jobs to the U.S. from China in response to higher labor and logistical costs in Asia. Pointing to a rebound in manufacturing and pushing U.S. businesses to extend it, the president said: "Ask yourself what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed." The president made his economic pitch as Congress was poised to advance a key component of the jobs agenda he unveiled last September. Lawmakers from both parties were praising an emerging deal Wednesday on extending a payroll tax cut through the end of the year and renewing jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. They hoped to send the measure to Obama within days. The extension would be a win for Obama, who has said the cut in the Social Security payroll tax - amounting to about $40 per paycheck for the average worker - is vital to keeping the economy on the right path.

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