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

US Gives Malaysia Questionable Upgrade in Human Trafficking Ranks

Malaysia’s upgrade seen as removing barrier to country’s participation in the US-led 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership More

Turkey, US Try to Establish Buffer Despite Differences

Coalition airstrikes in proposed zone would aim to drive out Islamic extremists, allowing targeted area to come under sway of anti-Assad rebels More

Video US: Millions Exploited by Vast Fortunes of Human Trafficking

State Department's annual report calls exploitation 'modern slavery,' brutalizing girls, women into prostitution and forcing men, women and children into low-wage jobs across the globe 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.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs