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

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    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.
    British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugeesi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    May 06, 2016 9:24 PM
    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video British Government to Resettle Unaccompanied Child Refugees

    After criticism from lawmakers across the political spectrum, the British government has signaled that it will accept thousands of unaccompanied Syrian child refugees who have fled to Europe. It follows a campaign by a group of former Jewish refugees who were given refuge in Britain from Nazi persecution in the 1930s. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Strangers Share Secrets Through Postcards

    Frank Warren owns a million secrets. Strangers from around the world send him postcards with their confessions, their disappointments, and their hopes for the future, all anonymously. He displays his favorites online and in exhibits, and shares them with audiences in sold-out appearances around the globe. As VOA's Julie Taboh reports, what started as a simple social experiment has evolved into a multi-faceted and hugely successful global phenomenon.
    Video

    Video Largest Ground-based Telescope Under Construction

    While NASA's engineers are nearing the final phase of assembling the new James Webb space telescope, scheduled to be deployed in 2018, an international consortium led by the U.S. is laying foundations and building parts for a ground-based telescope, much larger than any other. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora