News / USA

Obama Hits the Road With 'State of the Union' Goals'

Obama Takes His Message to Working Americansi
January 30, 2014 1:55 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama continues his domestic travel Thursday to drum up support for his plan to extend economic opportunity to more Americans and strengthen the country's middle class. The president is addressing working people in Wisconsin and Tennessee, a day after delivering his message to those in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Zlatica Hoke reports
Related video report by Zlatica Hoke
U.S. President Barack Obama has begun a four-state trip to amplify economic themes from his State of the Union address.

The traditional road trip after a State of the Union address first took the president to a Washington suburb in Maryland, where he spoke at a Costco store.

Standing in front of about three dozen workers and the backdrop of an American flag Wednesday, he renewed his call on Congress to "give America a raise" by increasing the minimum wage.

"Americans overwhelmingly agree, nobody who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.  And that is why I firmly believe it is time to give America a raise," said the president.

Obama noted that entry-level employees at Costco make $11.50 an hour, while the average hourly wage exceeds $20.  Currently, the official federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. 

Obama wants the federal level raised to $10.10.  In his State of the Union address Tuesday, he announced his intention to sign an executive order, one of many expected in coming months, to raise the minimum wage for workers operating under future federal government contracts.

The president also renewed his pledge not to stand still in the absence of congressional action to help American families who are still struggling to get by.

Noting improvements in the economy, including lower unemployment, increasing manufacturing jobs, he said 2014 could be a breakthrough year, provided Congress does not fuel more uncertainty.  He was referring to last year's government shutdown driven by Republican protests against his health care reform law, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

Obama said, "The question for folks in Washington is whether they are going to help that progress or hinder that progress, whether they are going to waste time creating new crises for people and new uncertainty like the shutdown, or are we going to spend time creating new jobs and new opportunities?"

President Obama's Previous State of the Union Addresses

2009:  Not technically a State of the Union, Obama said years of irresponsibility and short-term thinking had brought a "day of reckoning."  
2010:  Obama urged Americans to work together to solve the damaged economy and pledged to remove U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
2011:  Obama proposed a partial government spending freeze and said the U.S. stands with the people of Tunisia, whose protests drove their president out of the country at the start of the Arab Spring.
2012:  Obama outlined a new economic blueprint and highlighted progress in Afghanistan and the killing of Osama bin Laden.
2013:  Obama detailed the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans continued their attacks on Obama's overall approach on the economy and his State of the Union pledge to take unilateral executive action where he can.

"The president wants to keep doing the same old thing, just without as much input from the people's elected representatives in Congress.  Basically, all the same policies, less of that pesky democratic accountability," Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell.

Senator Patty Murray is a Democrat from the state of Washington. "President Obama talked about ways he is going to make this year a year of action and I know that is what the American people are expecting," said Murray.

Vice President Joe Biden was also on the road, speaking at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York about Obama's initiatives to expand education and training. 

President Obama's second stop Wednesday was a U.S. Steel Corporation plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  There, he discussed his proposal to create a new savings program for workers at companies that do not offer retirement plans.

After a stop back in Washington, Obama continues his post-State of the Union tour Thursday with speeches at a General Electric facility near Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a high school in Nashville, Tennessee.

You May Like

Video Getting to Zero AIDS Infections

More than 35 million people around the world are infected with HIV, a disease that is both preventable and treatable

Children, Childhoods Lost in European Refugee Crisis

According to UNICEF, 190,000 children applied for political asylum in Europe in the first 9 months of this year - twice as many as last year

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Haron from: Afghanistan
January 29, 2014 12:11 PM
it was a good statement in the show. it cleared and stated that we support the stabilized Afghanistan with its people toward a powerful nation. it was an strong signal for Mullah Karzai; therefore, it is hopeful for next president to work hard and friendly with all region countries.

But, I afraid from ban of security agreement statement between Afghanistan and United State.
it really give a positive stimulant for both countries; not only, for both countries but for all civilized countries it could be a positive reaction to support Afghan troops [Armies, Securities, and Polices].

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs