Obama: Nation stronger, GOP should back his plans - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Obama: Nation stronger, GOP should back his plans

Posted: Updated:
  • More Political NewsMore>>

  • Got $1M to run for Congress? Barrow rival is close

    Got $1M to run for Congress? Barrow rival is close

    Regardless of whether he wins election to Congress this fall, Augusta businessman and Republican Rick W. Allen is on the brink of joining an exclusive club in Georgia politics - candidates willing to spend $1...
    Regardless of whether he wins election to Congress this fall, Augusta businessman and Republican Rick W. Allen is on the brink of joining an exclusive club in Georgia politics - candidates willing to spend $1 million of...
  • New Insider Advantage polls show Republicans with narrow leads

    New Insider Advantage polls show Republicans with narrow leads

    Thursday, August 14 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-08-14 22:58:09 GMT
    An InsiderAdvantage/Opinion Savvy survey of 719 likely voters shows both the contests for U.S. Senate and for governor of Georgia to be competitive races. The poll of ‘landline' and mobile device respondents was conducted August 12 and 13. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7%. For the full crosstabs and more on the poll itself visit www.insideradvantage.com and www.opinionsavvy.com.
    An InsiderAdvantage/Opinion Savvy survey of 719 likely voters shows both the contests for U.S. Senate and for governor of Georgia to be competitive races. The poll of ‘landline' and mobile device respondents was conducted August 12 and 13. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7%. For the full crosstabs and more on the poll itself visit www.insideradvantage.com and www.opinionsavvy.com.

By JULIE PACE
AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - Uncompromising and politically emboldened, President Barack Obama urged a deeply divided Congress Tuesday night to embrace his plans to use government money to create jobs and strengthen the nation's middle class. He declared Republican ideas for reducing the deficit "even worse" than the unpalatable deals Washington had to stomach during his first term.

In his first State of the Union address since winning re-election, Obama conceded economic revival is an "unfinished task," but he claimed clear progress and said he prepared to build on it as he embarks on four more years in office.

"We have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is strong," Obama said in an hour-long address to a joint session of Congress and a television audience of millions.

With unemployment persistently high and consumer confidence falling, the economy remains a vulnerability for Obama and could disrupt his plans for pursuing a broader agenda, including immigration overhaul, stricter gun laws and climate change legislation.

CLICK HERE FOR TEXT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA'S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

Still, fresh off a convincing re-election win, Obama made clear in his remarks that he was determined to press his political advantage against a divided, defensive and worried Republican Party. Numerous times he urged Congress to act quickly on his priorities - but vowed to act on some issues on his own if they do not.

Obama also announced new steps to reduce the U.S. military footprint abroad, with 34,000 American troops withdrawing from Afghanistan within a year. And he had a sharp rebuke for North Korea, which launched a nuclear test just hours before his remarks, saying, "Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further."

In specific proposals for shoring up the economy in his second term, an assertive Obama called for increased federal spending to fix the nation's roads and bridges, the first increase in the minimum wage in six years and expansion of early education to every American 4-year-old. Seeking to appeal for support from Republicans, he promised that none of his proposals would increase the deficit "by a single dime" although he didn't explain how he would pay for his programs or how much they would cost.

In the Republican response to Obama's address, rising GOP star Marco Rubio of Florida came right back at the president, saying his solution "to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more."

Sen. Rubio said presidents of both parties have recognized that the free enterprise system brings middle-class prosperity.

"But President Obama?" Rubio said. "He believes it's the cause of our problems."

Still, throughout the House chamber there were symbolic displays of bipartisanship. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., arrived early and sat with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., just returned in January nearly a year after suffering a debilitating stroke. As a captain in the National Guard, Duckworth lost both her legs while serving in Iraq in 2004.

A few aisles away, the top two tax writers in Congress, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., sat together.

But as a sign that divisions still remain, three of the most conservative Supreme Court justices skipped Obama's speech. Six of the nine attended. Missing were Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito.

Jobs and growth dominated Obama's address. Many elements of his economic blueprint were repacked proposals from his first term that failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill.

Standing in Obama's way now is a Congress that remains nearly as divided as it was during the final years of his first term, when Washington lurched from one crisis to another.

The president implored lawmakers to break through partisan logjams, asserting that "the greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next."

"Americans don't expect government to solve every problem," he said. "They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can."

Yet Obama offered few signs of being willing to compromise himself, instead doubling down on his calls to create jobs by spending more government money and insisting that lawmakers pay down the deficit through a combination of targeted spending cuts and tax increases. But he offered few specifics on what he wanted to see cut, focusing instead on the need to protect programs that help the middle class, elderly and poor.

He did reiterate his willingness to tackle entitlement changes, particularly on Medicare, though he has ruled out increasing the eligibility age for the popular benefit program for seniors.

Republicans are ardently opposed to Obama's calls for legislating more tax revenue to reduce the deficit and offset broad the automatic spending cuts - known as the sequester - that are to take effect March 1. The president accused GOP lawmakers of shifting the cuts from defense to programs that would help the middle class and elderly, as well as those supporting education and job training.

"That idea is even worse," he said.

Obama broke little new ground on two agenda items he has pushed vigorously since winning re-election: overhauling the nation's fractured immigration laws and enacting tougher gun control measures in the wake of the horrific massacre of school children in Newtown, Conn. Yet he pressed for urgency on both, calling on Congress to send him an immigration bill "in the next few months" and insisting lawmakers hold votes on his gun proposals.

"Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress," he said. "If you want to vote no, that's your choice."

Numerous lawmakers wore green lapel ribbons in memory of those killed in the December shootings in Connecticut. Among those watching in the House gallery: the parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, shot and killed recently in a park just a mile from the president's home in Chicago, as well as other victims of gun violence.

On the economy, Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 by 2015. The minimum wage has been stagnant since 2007, and administration officials said the increase would strengthen purchasing power. The president also wants Congress to approve automatic increases in the wage to keep pace with inflation.

Looking for common ground anywhere he could find it, Obama framed his proposal to boost the minimum wage by pointing out that even his GOP presidential rival liked the idea. He said, "Here's an idea that Gov. Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on."

Obama also renewed his calls for infrastructure spending, investments he sought repeatedly during his first term with little support from Republicans. He pressed lawmakers to approve a $50 billion "fix it first" program that would address the most urgent infrastructure needs.

Education also figures in Obama's plans to boost American competitiveness in the global economy. Under his proposal, the federal government would help states provide pre-school for all 4-year-olds. Officials did not provide a cost for the pre-school programs but said the government would provide financial incentives to help states.

Among the other initiatives Obama is proposing:

- A $1 billion plan to create 15 "manufacturing institutes" that would bring together businesses, universities and the government. If Congress opposes the initiative, Obama plans to use his presidential powers to create three institutes on his own.

- Creation of an "energy security trust" that would use revenue from federal oil and gas leases to support development of clean energy technologies such as biofuels and natural gas

- Doubling of renewable energy in the U.S. from wind, solar and geothermal sources by 2020.

- Launching negotiations on a free trade agreement between the U.S. and European Union

Obama also called on Congress to tackle the threat of climate change, another issue that eluded him in his first term. The president pledged to work with lawmakers to seek bipartisan solutions but said if Capitol Hill doesn't act, he'll order his Cabinet to seek steps he can take using his presidential powers.

Taking a swipe at those who question the threat of global warming, Obama said, "We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it's too late."

Tackling voters' rights issues, Obama announced the creation of a commission that will seek to make it easier and faster for people to cast ballots on Election Day. He used as an example the story of 102-year-old Desiline Victor, a Florida woman who waited in line to vote for several hours during the November election. Victor attended Tuesday's speech as a guest of the first lady and was applauded heartily by the lawmakers.

Obama also called on Congress to pass legislation giving the government more power to combat the rapidly growing threat of cyberattacks. And, as a down payment on that, the president announced that he has signed an executive order to fight electronic espionage through the development of voluntary standards to protect networks and computer systems that run critical infrastructure.

___

Associated Press writer Nancy Benac contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • More National NewsMore>>

  • 3 people dead in District Heights in apparent murder-suicide

    3 people dead in District Heights in apparent murder-suicide

    Saturday, August 16 2014 9:28 AM EDT2014-08-16 13:28:53 GMT
    Prince George's County police say one man and two women are dead in an apparent domestic-related murder-suicide at a townhouse in District Heights.
    Prince George's County police say one man and two women are dead in an apparent domestic-related murder-suicide at a townhouse in District Heights.
  • Iraqi PM to file complaint against new president

    Iraqi PM to file complaint against new president

    Sunday, August 10 2014 10:47 PM EDT2014-08-11 02:47:06 GMT
    President Barack Obama justified the U.S. military's return to fighting in Iraq Saturday by saying America must act now to prevent genocide, protect its diplomats and provide humanitarian aid to refugees...
    Iraq's embattled Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, in a surprise speech late Sunday, resisted calls for his resignation and accused the country's new president of violating the constitution, plunging the government...
  • St. Louis police shoot, kill knife-wielding suspect

    St. Louis police shoot, kill knife-wielding suspect

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:48 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:48:37 GMT
    A large crowd, some chanting "Hands up, don't shoot," gathered Tuesday at the site where St. Louis police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man after a reported convenience store robbery.
    A large crowd, some chanting "Hands up, don't shoot," gathered Tuesday at the site where St. Louis police officers shot and killed a knife-wielding man after a reported convenience store robbery.
Powered by WorldNow
Untitled

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices