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
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

TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid