President Obama, in his State of the Union address Tuesday, will call for new government spending on infrastructure, education and research to help boost job creation and remain competitive with other powerful nations, Fox News has confirmed.
Obama is also expected to call for some budget cuts although nothing close to the amount Republicans are demanding.
White House aides told Fox News the best preview of Obama's remarks can be found in a Dec. 6 speech he made in North Carolina where he said this is the nation's Sputnik moment. He called for more spending on American innovation and American products with the same enthusiasm that the country had right after the Russians beat the U.S. into space.
"We need to do what America has always been known for: building, innovating, educating, making things," he said in last month's speech. "We don't want to be a nation that simply buys and consumers products from other countries. We want to create and sell products all over the world that are stamped with three simple words: 'Made In America.' That's our goal."
Obama will speak to a Congress shaken by the attempted assassination of one of their own. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head two weeks ago during an event in her district in Tucson, Ariz.
The president has appealed for more civility in politics, and in a nod to that ideal, some Democrats and Republicans will break with tradition and sit alongside each other in the House chamber Tuesday night during a joint session of Congress.
The president's call for some increased spending will come as newly empowered Republicans in Congress argue that the only way out of the country's economic mess is through deep budget cuts.
"Today's the day we finally stop kicking the can down the road and we start getting our fiscal house in order," Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said this week at a news conference.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the themes Obama will strike in his nationally televised speech. The new spending could include initiatives aimed at building the renewable-energy sector—which received billions of dollars in stimulus funding—and rebuilding roads to improve transportation, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper. Funding to restructure the No Child Left Behind law's testing mandates and institute more competitive grants also could be included.
The White House sees competitiveness as an issue that can win broad support from business, labor and Republicans.
GOP lawmakers traditionally have backed the types of trade deals and research and development efforts that Obama is promoting. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., appeared to give the president an opening when he said last week in a speech that "my advice to my colleagues is if the president is willing to do what we would do anyway, then we should say yes."
The White House has tried to court business since Democrats' defeats in the November elections, and competitiveness is a priority for that sector.
Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, said concrete action must back up the rhetoric from either party before businesses would commit to stepping up spending and hiring.
"Ultimately the proof of whether this is merely positioning for elections or is a true commitment to long-term growth and competitiveness will be in the details," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.