News / USA

Obama to Deliver State of the Union Address Tuesday

President Barack Obama works at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Jan. 27, 2014, ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union speech.
President Barack Obama works at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Jan. 27, 2014, ahead of Tuesday night's State of the Union speech.
Michael Bowman
Later Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama will seek to advance his agenda when he delivers his annual State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.

The White House is touting themes the president will mention in the nationally televised speech, but is providing few specifics on domestic and foreign policy matters.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the speech was still being worked on late Monday, and that Obama is eager to make his case to lawmakers and the nation as a whole.

“The president will offer in his address his vision and his agenda for moving the country forward, and the steps we can take to expand opportunity for all Americans, and the things we can do here to make sure that in America hard work is rewarded, responsibility is rewarded, and that everyone gets a shot at the opportunity that this country offers,” he said.

President Obama's Previous State of the Union Addresses

  • 2009:  Not technically a State of the Union, Obama said years of irresponsibility and short-term thinking had brought a "day of reckoning."  
  • 2010:  Obama urged Americans to work together to solve the damaged economy and pledged to remove U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
  • 2011:  Obama proposed a partial government spending freeze and said the U.S. stands with the people of Tunisia, whose protests drove their president out of the country at the start of the Arab Spring.
  • 2012:  Obama outlined a new economic blueprint and highlighted progress in Afghanistan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
  • 2013:  Obama detailed the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Obama is expected to call for action to combat the growing gap between rich and poor Americans, and to expand and protect the middle class. To that end, the president will urge compromise and bipartisanship in a politically divided Congress, but also is expected to highlight his ability to act on his own through executive order.

Already, Republicans are casting Obama’s agenda as the cause of, not the solution to, America’s economic woes.

The Republican response to the State of the Union address will be delivered by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. She is expected to restate her party’s contention that it is the president’s signature health care law, the federal government’s over-regulation of business, and Washington’s fiscal woes that are inhibiting job creation and economic progress.

On Monday, Jay Carney declined to provide any specific foreign policy items in Obama’s speech. Republican Senator Susan Collins told VOA there is one global concern in particular she wants the president to discuss.

“Iran is probably number one on my list, given the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran poses to the security, not only of the Middle East, but to our security as well," she said. "I am very concerned about the direction of the negotiations that the administration has undertaken, because it appears it would allow the Iranians to continue to enrich uranium.”

Domestic viewership of the State of the Union address has steadily declined in recent years, but White House spokesman Carney described the speech as “an enormous opportunity” for any president to talk to legislators and millions of Americans.

The speech and the Republican response likely will set the tone in Washington for 2014 - an election year in which all House seats and one-third of the Senate will be up for grabs.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid