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

Photogallery Pistorius Sentenced, Taken to Prison

Pistorius, convicted of culpable homicide in shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, will likely serve about 10 months of five-year sentence, before completing it under house arrest More

UN to Aid Central Africa in Polio Vaccinations

Synchronized vaccinations will be conducted after Cameroon reports a fifth case of the wild polio virus in its territory More

WHO: Ebola Vaccine May Be in Use by Jan.

WHO assistant director Dr. Marie Paule Kieny says clinical trials of Ebola vaccines are underway or planned in Europe, US and Africa 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
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 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 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 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.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid