Obama to push 2015 policy agenda in 3-day tour

HONOLULU - US President Barack Obama this week will unveil policy initiatives on housing, college affordability and job creation during a three-day road trip to highlight his 2015 agenda, the White House said on Saturday.

Obama, who is returning to Washington on Sunday from a two-week family vacation in Hawaii, will begin a tour on Wednesday of Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee.

He will highlight themes he will talk about in his annual State of the Union address to Congress, which is set for Jan. 20.

The initiatives on housing, college costs and jobs will include a mix of legislative proposals and actions that the president will take that do not need congressional approval, said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

In addition to unveiling new initiatives, Obama will seek to put a spotlight on the improvement in the US economy.

Obama's tour will come as the new Congress convenes in Washington with Republicans newly in control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Republicans, who already held a majority in the House, are set to take charge of the Senate after their victories in the November midterm elections.

They will begin the year with plans to fight Obama's agenda on issues from the environment to his signature healthcare law, his move to change immigration policy and his decision last month to normalize US ties with Cuba.

Obama will seek to portray himself as more in touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans than Republicans, an administration official said.