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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
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 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 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 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 Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
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 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.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid