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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.