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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora