News / USA

State of the Union Address Likely to Focus on Domestic Issues

Domestic Issues Likely to Dominate State of the Union Addressi
February 07, 2013 3:19 PM
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address -- the first of his second term in office -- on February 12. As VOA senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports, the speech to a joint session of Congress will be watched by millions across the nation and around the world.
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Address -- the first of his second term in office -- on February 12.   The speech to a joint session of Congress will be watched by millions across the nation and around the world.

In his first address to Congress in 2009, Obama aimed to inspire confidence amid the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. "Though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this.  We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before," he stated.

Since then, he has used the State of the Union address to talk about events that have shaken the nation, such as mass shootings.

Now, empowered by his re-election, he is pushing Congress to strengthen gun control and pass immigration reform.  

 "Obviously immigration is going to be a big issue, gun control and gun violence those hot button issues," said James Carafano with the conservative Heritage Foundation. "He is going to have a lot to say about the budget because we will still be in the middle of the budget thing."  

Deficit reduction and cuts to government spending, facing a March deadline for agreement with Congress, are also likely to be highlighted in the speech.

But John Sides of George Washington University says Obama has to strike a balance between economic progress and the ongoing hardships of many Americans.  "The economy is improving, his approval is up slightly.  But I think we're still in pretty tenuous territory," Sides added. "Mass unemployment is very much still with us and likely will be with us for some time. "

In last year's address, Obama marked the end of the U.S. combat role in Iraq and declared that Osama bin Laden was no longer a threat.  This year he will likely again discuss Afghanistan and the timeline for withdrawing most U.S. combat forces.

Anthony Cordesman, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says the Arab world is likely to figure in Tuesday's speech. "He is certainly going to talk about the problems with the upheavals in the Arab world," he noted. "And without really active U.S. diplomacy, without a mixture of U.S. economic and military aid, without a constant effort to sort of build up stability and more democratic regimes in the region, things are going to become a far more serious threat."

Obama will also need to send a message that Republicans and Democrats in Washington should cooperate more, says John Sides. "Then we might be starting to witness maybe a little bit of restoration of Americans trust and faith in government in addition to their feelings about Obama himself," he said.

Sides says Republicans are listening more carefully to voices within their Party that warn against endless confrontation with Obama.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs