News / USA

US Legislators Set Goals Before Key Obama Speech

President Barack Obama during last year's State of the Union address before a joint session of both houses of Congress, 27 Jan 2010
President Barack Obama during last year's State of the Union address before a joint session of both houses of Congress, 27 Jan 2010

Tuesday, President Barack Obama will lay out his legislative agenda for the year in his second State of the Union address - the first since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. Democratic and Republican legislators agree on some broad economic objectives for the nation, but differ sharply on the policies needed to achieve those goals.

Last week, President Obama spoke repeatedly about what will likely be the central themes of his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress: economic growth and job creation.

"The past two years were about pulling our economy back from the brink," he said. "The next two years, our job now, is putting our economy into overdrive."

Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota echoed Obama’s words when asked what he wants to hear in the president’s speech.

"Number one: growing the economy and jobs," said Conrad.

Conrad spoke on ABC’s This Week program.

Republicans say they, too, want to boost economic growth and spur job creation.  But they insist the way to do that is to sharply reduce the size and scope of the federal government and put private enterprise in the driver’s seat.

"We have got a huge spending problem," said Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Fox News Sunday.  "We have had over a trillion-dollar annual deficit each of the last two years.  Our friends on the other side [Democrats] passed a budget a couple of years ago that will double the national debt in five years and triple it in 10.  Most of us think, and the American people think, that we need to do something about this and start doing it now."

Democrats say they too are committed to deficit reduction, but they warn against cutting programs and initiatives they see as vital to America’s long-term prosperity. 

"We are in competition in the world for jobs," said Democratic Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. "And if we are going to make it in the USA in terms of our success and making products, we have to focus on educating and innovating.  We cannot be so laser focused on the deficit that we ignore the obvious.  You cannot end the deficit unless you start putting America back to work."

With control of Congress divided between the two parties, consensus and compromise are seen as essential to passing legislation. Obama is sure to urge bipartisanship in his State of the Union address.  The months ahead will test if that call is heeded.  



You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid