News / USA

Obama Stresses Economy and Job Creation in State of the Union Speech

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill, Jan 25 2011
President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union Address on Capitol Hill, Jan 25 2011
Kent Klein

Text of President Obama's speech

White House website


President Barack Obama has used his annual State of the Union address to outline his plan for growing U.S. jobs and making America more competitive in the global economy.  The president also proposed a partial government spending freeze, to help reduce the deficit.

In his yearly speech to Congress and tens of millions of Americans watching on television, President Obama called for more U.S. investment in education, infrastructure and scientific innovation.  

He said America needs to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.

“We have to make America the best place on earth to do business," said President Obama. "We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government.  That is how our people will prosper.  That is how we will win the future.”  

Mr. Obama’s second State of the Union speech, before both houses of Congress, focused mostly on domestic issues, particularly the economy.

One seat in the House chamber was left empty, for Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who is recovering after being shot in an assassination attempt on January 8th.

That shooting, in which six people were killed, set off a national discussion about the need for greater civility in American politics.

As a result, many Democratic and Republican lawmakers sat together during this year’s State of the Union address, instead of the usual practice of sitting on separate sides of the aisle.

In the speech, the president used some of his most optimistic language yet in describing the nation’s economic recovery.

“Now we are poised for progress," said Obama. "Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back.  Corporate profits are up.  The economy is growing again.”

But Mr. Obama acknowledged that unemployment remains high and that Americans want their leaders to focus on creating jobs.

Related report by Carolyn Presutti

The president laid out an agenda for improving American competitiveness.  It includes increased government spending to help boost research and development, especially in clean energy technologies.

He also called for new federal initiatives to improve American schools and colleges, as well as investments in upgrading the country’s infrastructure and reforming government.

In the Republican Party response, Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said Mr. Obama continues to overspend.

“Depending on bureaucracy to foster innovation, competitiveness and wise consumer choices has never worked and it will not work now," said Representative Ryan. "We need to chart a new course.”

The president responded to Republican concerns about the federal deficit by proposing to freeze much of the government’s civilian spending at its current level for five years.  He said the plan would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion, over 10 years.

In a statement issued before the speech, Speaker of the House John Boehner called the proposal “inadequate.”

In other areas, Mr. Obama said Washington should take on the contentious issue of reforming U.S. immigration policy.

“I know that debate will be difficult and take time," he said. "But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort.  And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses and further enrich this nation.”

On foreign affairs, the president said America’s standing in the world has been restored.

Mr. Obama said the Iraq war is coming to an end, progress is being made toward eventually handing over responsibility for Afghanistan’s security to Afghans, and the al-Qaida terror network is on the run.

“We have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: We will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you," said President Obama.

The president said the United States stands with the people of Tunisia in their democratic aspirations, and he saluted the recent peaceful vote for independence in South Sudan.

“Thousands lined up before dawn," said Obama. "People danced in the streets.  One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: ‘This was a battlefield for most of my life,’ he said.  ‘Now we want to be free.’”

Mr. Obama announced that he will visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador, late in March.

He also called on lawmakers to approve a free trade agreement with South Korea and said he will pursue similar pacts with Panama and Colombia.

There was no mention of the stalled Middle East peace process.

On Wednesday, President Obama will visit Wisconsin, where he will begin a campaign for the initiatives he outlined Tuesday night.

You May Like

Conflicts Engulf Christians in the Middle East

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid