President Obama walks off Air Force One. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama takes his first domestic trip of the new year Wednesday, and also holds a pep talk with Senate Democrats back in Washington.
In the morning, Obama travels to the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, for events on manufacturing policy.
First, the president tours Vacon, a Durham company that manufactures parts for electric motors. He then journeys to Raleigh for a speech at North Carolina State University.
The president will "announce new steps with the private sector to strengthen the manufacturing sector, boost advanced manufacturing, and attract good jobs with good wages that a growing middle class requires," says the White House schedule.
Obama is also likely to call on Congress to extend unemployment benefits that expired at the turn of the year.
Unemployment insurance is also a topic when Obama returns to Washington in the afternoon to meet with Senate Democrats at the White House.
Another possible source of discussion: Obama's efforts to dissuade Congress from placing new sanctions on Iran as the U.S. and allies try to negotiate a new nuclear agreement with Tehran.
The meeting with Senate Democrats comes two days before Obama announces possible changes to National Security Agency surveillance policies.
In addition, Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 28.
Democrats are also battling to keep control of the Senate in this November's congressional elections.