President Obama pledged to charge forward in 2014 with an agenda focused on economic opportunity, with or without the help of Congress, in his State of the Union address tonight.“America does not stand still – and neither will I,” Obama told lawmakers in a joint session at the Capitol. “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American Families, that’s what I’m going to do.” "Let’s make this a year of action," he added. Though he touted the economy’s progress -- a low unemployment rate, rebounding housing market and lower deficits -- Obama said that the partisan debates over the size and scope of government have stymied progress on proposals to put more Americans back to work. He said the upcoming year can be a “breakthrough year” for the country.President Barack Obama called Tuesday in his State of the Union address for Republicans to stop trying to undermine his 2010 health care reform law passed with no GOP support, saying “the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles.”He continued by saying, “Let’s not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans
“The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by, let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all,” Obama said. “Our job is to reverse these trends. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything.”
Obama is looking to make a forceful start to the sixth year of his presidency after much of his agenda remained unfinished in the halls of Congress in 2013.Tonight, Obama announced an increase in the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour, and he will call on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage for all workers. Obama pledged to pursue proposals with or without Congress in order to address income inequality and economic mobility. “Opportunity is who we are,” Obama said. “And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”
Among the proposals are priorities Obama has put forward before: slashing bureaucracy to fast-track
construction jobs, comprehensive reform of the tax code and boosting manufacturing. Obama called on Congress to support the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has so far gone nowhere in Congress. And he slammed workplace policies that he said belong in a bygone era.“She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job,” Obama said. “A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too.
“It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode,” he said.One proposal that was met with bipartisan support and applause from House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, was a proposal to reform job training programs to focus on filling the unemployed with jobs that need to be filled immediately.And Obama pushed lawmakers again to follow through on comprehensive immigration reform, which passed in the Senate but was never taken up in the Republican-dominated House, which he said could shrink the deficit by almost $1 trillion in the next 20 years.
“And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams -- to study, invent and contribute to our culture -- they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone,” Obama said.Obama also announced new initiatives, including a partnership with private tech and telecom companies Apple, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon, to provide high-speed broadband in 15,000 American schools.He proposed a new
retirement savings plan, called a MyRA, that “guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.” And he seemingly endorsed a proposal by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio to boost the Earned Income Tax Credit to provide more aid to single Americans without children.