News / USA

Obama to Urge Action on Economy in State of Union Speech

Obama to Urge Action on Economy During State of Union Speechi
X
January 27, 2014 4:43 PM
President Barack Obama's fifth State of the Union Address on Tuesday will be closely watched in the U.S. and around the world. He is expected to renew his call for a "year of action" on the U.S. economy and to help the middle class. As Senior White House correspondent Dan Robinson reports, ongoing political polarization in Washington will pose ongoing challenges to his agenda.
Obama to Urge Action on Economy During State of Union Speech
President Barack Obama's fifth State of the Union Address on Tuesday will be closely watched in the U.S. and around the world.  He is expected to renew his call for a "year of action" on the U.S. economy and to help the middle class.  But ongoing political polarization in Washington will pose ongoing challenges to his agenda.

Last year, Obama urged U.S. lawmakers to put nation before party.

"The idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, who you love  -- it's our unfinished task," Obama said.

The State of the Union

  • The U.S. Constitution requires that "the President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union..."
  • George Washington delivered the first annual message to Congress on January 8, 1790.
  • Thomas Jefferson decided to issue the message in writing instead of delivering a speech.
  • The written tradition continued until Woodrow Wilson in 1913.
  • Calvin Coolidge's 1923 address was the first one broadcast on radio.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt first called the speech a "State of the Union" address in 1934.
  • Harry S. Truman delivered the first televised address in 1947.
At a White House event with students earlier this month, the president previewed the theme of this year's address.

"I will mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers every American who works hard a fair shot at success," Obama promised.

A majority of Americans share concerns about inequality.  But Obama remains a politically polarizing figure, with approval ratings the lowest of his presidency.

Congressional Republicans who forced a government shutdown last year to protest his health care law still pose substantial resistance.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan budget deal averted another shutdown.  

But analyst Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution agrees Obama's second term may be one of limited expectations.

"For the most part I think the president understands that he is not going to get much out of the Congress unless a miracle happened in the [2014] midterm election and Democrats regain control of the House and increase the size of their majority in the Senate. That is highly unlikely," Mann said.

In 2014, immigration reform stands the best chance of making progress.  Obama's effort to strenghten gun control laws and raise the minimum wage remain blocked.

Mann says the president should not deliver a long list of goals but instead focus on rebutting Republican criticisms on health care and the economy.

"This is not the time for the laundry list.  This is time to think strategically about the limits of State of the Union speeches and about what opportunities he might have," Mann said.

Obama is expected to highlight the end of the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan.  Also, diplomatic efforts to end bloodshed in Syria, and the removal of chemical weapons without U.S. military action.

James Goldgeier, Dean of The American University School of International Service, says the president is certain to highlight another achievement, the interim nuclear deal with Iran.

"He is going to want to talk about the fact that he got it done," noted Goldgeier. "And I think it is also important for him to put on the defense those people who are questioning the diplomacy, those people who think that since sanctions got us to this point, more sanctions would help us do even better."

The White House has mounted a major Internet and social media campaign for the speech, which President Obama suggests will be a bit shorter this year.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ae em from: Seattle
January 27, 2014 1:20 PM
The government shutdown was very beneficial - gas prices went down at the pump and stayed low. We need a government that moderates it's expenditures. Does more with less.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid