News / USA

Obama Giving State of the Union Speech

President Barack Obama looks towards reporters as he walks down the West Wing Colonnade of the White House on February 12, 2013, ahead of his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill.
President Barack Obama looks towards reporters as he walks down the West Wing Colonnade of the White House on February 12, 2013, ahead of his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill.
President Obama has begun his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. 

The President will attempt to prod lawmakers to join him in further steps to strengthen the economy, create jobs, and support the middle class. 

In what is technically his fourth State of the Union speech, the president will also discuss Afghanistan and, possibly, North Korea's nuclear test.  He will deliver his remarks aware that most Americans view the economy and unemployment as the country's biggest problems. Obama also knows that despite political capital from his re-election victory, public dissatisfaction remains high with the failure of leaders in Washington to deal with these problems.

In a speech White House aides say began to be drafted last November, he is likely to return to themes he sounded as he campaigned for re-election. He will urge Republicans and Democrats to work with him to keep the economy moving forward by strengthening and expanding the middle class, rebuilding American infrastructure, and boosting manufacturing.

During an address to Democratic lawmakers last week, the president hinted at his Tuesday speech.

"I am going to be talking about making sure that we are focused on job creation here in the United States of America," he said. "It means that we are focused on education and that every young person is equipped with the skills they need to compete in the twenty-first century."

Join us on Twitter during the State of the Union address at @voa_news where we'll be discussing the speech live as it's broadcast. 

After the speech, stay with VOA for a Google Plus Hangout conversation starting at 0405 UTC.
On the eve of Tuesday's address, White House press secretary Jay Carney described the State of the Union as the second act of a play that includes Obama's inaugural address last month. The president, he said, will directly speak to Americans' concerns about lingering effects of recession.

"He would address those Americans directly and talk about the need for Washington to take positive action to help the economy grow, to help it create jobs, the need for Washington to refrain from taking negative action by allowing for example, the sequester to kick in which would do direct harm to Americans, direct harm to the middle class, direct harm to our defense industries and national security interests."

Carney said the president will say "work is not done" to boost the economy, that positive trends are not irreversible, and that a stronger foundation is needed for growth. 

Listening will be Republicans who control the House of Representatives, and who since mid-term elections in 2010 have posed opposition to the president's domestic agenda. But Obama has some time to achieve key objectives, said John Sides of George Washington University, such as immigration reform and stronger gun control laws, before the next mid-term election in 2014.

"He has a couple of years, certainly up until the next mid-term election, to get things done," Sides said.  "Whether he can get things done after that midterm depends a lot upon how Congress looks in the wake of the midterm, have the Democrats lost seats or gained seats.  If they gain some seats you might actually be able to see him accomplish a little bit more."

Obama will again warn about potentially damaging effects for the economy if Congress allows about $110 billion in automatic spending cuts to occur at the beginning of March.

On foreign policy, senior administration officials say Obama will announce that 34,000 American troops will leave Afghanistan by this time next year, part of the process leading to a complete withdrawal of foreign combat forces by 2014.
 
He may also talk about the ongoing impacts of the Arab Spring, though he is unlikely to announce any change in his approach on Syria, where nearly 70,000 people are estimated to have died during nearly two years of fighting between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
 
Other possible foreign policy topics include North Korea and its latest nuclear test, the status of the so-called U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, and Obama's ongoing efforts to reduce nuclear arms.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More