Obama council makes urgent plea for jobs measures

WASHINGTON (AP) ? A group of corporate and labor leaders advising President Barack Obama is calling for sweeping and urgent changes in government policies. Its recommendations include liberalized immigration, less restrictive regulations, a more business friendly tax system and greater spending on infrastructure.

The proposed initiatives and policy overhauls by the president’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will be sure to please and irritate Democratic and Republican partisans alike.

Topping the council’s list is a plea for improvements in the nation’s network of roads and bridges, for airport upgrades and modernized ports and for updated electric grids, water and wastewater systems.

Heeding one of the council recommendations, the Obama administration on Monday announced 14 major public works projects across the country that will receive accelerated environmental and permit reviews.