News / USA

Obama Touts Economic Plan in State of the Union Address

Kent Klein

As he faces a tough re-election campaign, President Barack Obama devoted much of his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night to his plan to speed the U.S. economic recovery. 

President Obama went before a sharply divided Congress and a concerned American public to promote his ideas for boosting economic prosperity.

"Tonight I want to speak about how we move forward and lay out a blueprint for an economy that is built to last - an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers and a renewal of American values," he said.

A Look at President Obama's Previous State of the Union Addresses

  • 2011: Mr. Obama proposed a partial government spending freeze, and called for more investment in education and infrastructure.  He said the war in Iraq is coming to an end.  He said the U.S. stands with the people of Tunisia, whose protests drove their president out of the country.
  • 2010: Mr. Obama urged Americans to work together to solve the damaged economy and other problems. He said the U.S. faces a deficit of trust in government.  He also pledged to remove U.S. combat troops from Iraq and said the U.S. will succeed in Afghanistan.
  • 2009: While not technically a State of the Union, Mr. Obama delivered a speech on the economy to a joint session of Congress one month after taking office.  He said years of irresponsibility and short-term thinking had brought a "day of reckoning."

To reassure a worried middle class, the president stressed one of the main themes of his re-election campaign: reducing income inequality and making the economy more fair.

"The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive.  No challenge is more urgent.  No debate is more important," he said.

The president said it is time to reclaim what he called "American values."

"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by.  Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules," he said.

Mr. Obama's plan includes tax breaks for companies that keep jobs in the U.S, a new Trade Enforcement Unit to investigate unfair trade practices in other countries, support for clean energy industries, tighter financial regulation, and programs to help send more Americans to college.

With comprehensive immigration reform stalled in Congress, the president called for smaller measures.

"But if election year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses and defend this country," he said.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that his proposals face fierce opposition from Republicans in Congress, and he said he will continue fighting, with or without their support.

"But I intend to fight obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the very same policies that brought on this economic crisis in the first place," he said.

In the Republican response, Governor Mitch Daniels of the central state of Indiana blasted what he called Mr. Obama's "extremism" and "pro-poverty policy."

"No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others.  As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat," he said.

President Obama said the U.S. has achieved a number of foreign policy victories in the past year.  

He mentioned the end of the Iraq war, progress being made in the war in Afghanistan, and the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, as well as the Arab Spring movement and hope for greater freedom in Burma.  

Mr. Obama also said U.S.-led international pressure on Iran because of its nuclear program is having an effect.

He said the renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe, and that America is back.

"Anyone who tells you otherwise, anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, does not know what they are talking about," he said.

The president leaves Wednesday on a three-day, five-state trip, during which he will take his economic plan to the American people.

Watch the entire speeches:



You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid