President Obama on Thursday declared that the nation is “poised for progress” but called on Congress to help strengthen the middle class by promoting economic polices he proposed in his State of the Union address in February.

In a 20-minute speech at a technology school outside of Austin, Texas, Obama — who has been focused on the gun control and immigration debates in recent days — promoted his idea of raising the minimum wage to $9 an hour, as well as increasing spending on education, worker training programs and manufacturing-innovation centers.

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