U.S. President Barack Obama will lay out a strategy for getting around a divided Congress and boosting middle-class prosperity on Tuesday in a State of the Union speech that reflects some scaled-back legislative ambitions after a difficult year.
Obama will make clear in his 9 p.m. address on Tuesday that he is willing to bypass U.S. lawmakers and go it alone in some areas by announcing a series of executive actions that do not require congressional approval.
The White House said Obama would announce he is issuing an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers with new contracts. Read Steve Holland's full story: www.reuters.com
by Margarita Noriega (Reuters)via Reuters1/28/2014 3:33:48 PM
by Margarita Noriega (Reuters)via Reuters1/28/2014 4:16:39 PM
President Obama in 2013. REUTERS
by Margarita Noriega (Reuters)via Reuters1/28/2014 7:33:42 PM
Jeff Mason and Steve Holland report: President Barack Obama will announce on Tuesday he is issuing an executive order to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for federal contract workers with new contracts, the White House said. In his State of the Union address, Obama will also call on Congress to pass a bill that would increase the federal minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 an hour from $7.25 and index that to inflation going forward.
by Margarita Noriega (Reuters)via Reuters1/28/2014 8:03:49 PM
10 little-known facts about the State of the Union
Did you know George Washington’s first State of the Union was only 7 minutes long? Or that two presidents never gave one? Here are 10 of the coolest facts from the State of the Union’s 224-year-old history, via Digital First Media’s Amber Phillips.
by Amber Phillipsvia Digital First Media1/28/2014 8:09:06 PM
What is the real State of the Union? These 13 graphs show it
(Real Clear Politics) How is our country really doing in terms of consumer spending, the housing and job markets and Americans’ overall feeling about the direction of the country? Read this story by Digital First Media’s Ryan Teague Beckwith and Amber Phillips to find out.
by Amber Phillipsvia Digital First Media1/28/2014 8:10:59 PM
From Susan Cornwell on Capitol Hill, on an issue bound to come up in the SOTU tonight: U.S.House Republican leaders will outline their principles for immigration reform at a party meeting this week, House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday. Immigration reform advocates, who saw their hopes dashed in 2013 for major legislation, have been waiting for the House Republican leadership to take such a step. Read full story here:www.reuters.com
Here are some select results from the latest Reuters/Ipsos U.S. political approval poll, which you can review in this PDF.
Source: Reuters/Ipsos poll (January 18-22, 2014)
The results are from 1,499 Americans, including 563 Democrats, 557 Republicans, and 223 Independents over the age of 18 who were interviewed online. The poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for all adults, 4.7 percentage points for Democrats, 4.7 percentage points for Republicans, and 7.5 percentage points for Independents.
by Alina Selyukhvia Reuters1/28/2014 10:04:33 PM
For a touch of SOTU-related celebrity news,Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles reportsthat "Duck Dynasty" reality television star Willie "Boss Hog" Robertson is on the invitation list to attend the State of the Union speech tonight, compliments of a congressman from his home state of Louisiana.
President Barack Obama is set to pledge a set of "concrete, practical proposals" in his State of the Union speech to address the gap between rich and poor in America, according to excerptsreleased by the White House.
Roberta Rampton is reporting from the White House. Follow her on Twitter here.
by emily.stephensonvia Reuters1/28/2014 11:40:11 PM
AT&T had an earnings call today and CEO Randall Stephenson weighed in on what he hopes to hear from Obama:
I hope to hear the President speak on several of these issues tonight -- first and foremost, business tax reform. I just can't think of anything that would move this needle faster and to a greater extent than business tax reform. And I do believe the administration and Congress are all supportive. It's an area where everybody has coalesced, and it seems like it's ripe for getting done.
Trade is obviously huge and immigration reform. Everybody is talking about these. Everybody in Congress and the administration is expressing a desire and a need to get this done. If you could just get a couple of these done, I think it takes this 2% to a 3% plus growth profile, and that does change our view of this as well.
The most common complaint about the annual State of the Union Speech, Jeff Shesol writes, ”is that it is a laundry list, which is an insult to laundry lists”. President Obama will deliver his sixth tonight.
by Brian Traceyvia Reuters1/29/2014 12:36:29 AM
Here are some released excerpts of Obama's remarks tonight:
by Alina Selyukhvia Reuters1/29/2014 12:37:48 AM
In the lead up to the State of the Union Address, the White House is continuing to connect with the American public through social media interaction. Today, the White House launched a new bilingual Facebook page to highlight the Obama administration's efforts to ensure that "the ladder of opportunity remains strong for Latinos and all Americans," according to officials.
Other engagement platforms the White House has highlighted to engage with Hispanic Americans include:
o The official Spanish-language website at whitehouse.gov/espanol and Hispanic sections atwhitehouse.gov/Hispanic and immigration section at whitehouse.gov/immigration
o Bilingual Twitter account @LaCasaBlanca and bilingual updates from Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz @Cecilia44 and Director of Hispanic Media Katherine Vargas@Vargas44
o Bi-weekly Latino newsletter by the White House Office of Public Engagement on key events and policies of importance for the Latino community. To subscribe to the Latino newsletter, you can sign up here.
o Weekly Spanish-language video message called “Mensaje de la Casa Blanca” (White House Video Message) echoing the themes from the President's Weekly Address featuring senior level officials.
by margaret.chadbournvia Reuters1/29/2014 12:38:03 AM
Excerpts from the post-SOTU Republican address from House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers:
“The most important moments right now aren’t happening here. They’re not in the Oval Office or in the House Chamber. They’re in your homes. Kissing your kids goodnight. Figuring out how to pay the bills. Getting ready for tomorrow’s doctor’s visit. Waiting to hear from those you love serving in Afghanistan, or searching for that big job interview.”
“So tonight I’d like to share a more hopeful, Republican vision – one that empowers you, not the government. It’s one that champions free markets – and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you. It helps working families rise above the limits of poverty and protects our most vulnerable. And it’s one where Washington plays by the same rules that you do. It’s a vision that is fair and offers the promise of a better future for every American.”
“Because our mission – not only as Republicans, but as Americans, is to once again to ensure that we are not bound by where we come from, but empowered by what we can become. That is the gap Republicans are working to close. It’s the gap we all face: between where you are and where you want to be.”
by Alina Selyukhvia Reuters1/29/2014 12:45:53 AM
"I've got a pen, and I've got a phone. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions ... and I've got a phone that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life," President Obama has said.
by emily.stephensonvia Reuters1/29/2014 12:55:28 AM
A central theme of Obama's State of the Union is addressing income inequality, as the gap between the nation's wealthy and poor grows.
Americans are deeply divided along political party lines over how to bridge income inequality, a survey released last week by the Pew Research Center shows.
There is a stark dissonance over the federal government's role in addressing the gap, which highlights the president's challenge in enacting new policies in Washington amid steep divisions between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.
A clear majority of Americans recognize the growing income gap, according to the Pew survey. Nearly two-thirds of the 1,504 adults polled believe income inequality has grown during the past decade. More than 350 respondents said they were Republicans, nearly 500 were Democrats, and close to 600 politically independent. The rest gave no preference.
Economic inequality is set to be a major theme in tonight's speech. The New Yorker's John Cassidy offers ten ways to address the issue. The problem as Cassidy sees it isn't just that Republicans are likely to block proposals made by the President, but that the President's own policies are too incremental. Here's a sample of what Cassidy would do "if we are serious about putting a dent in inequality":
1. Establish a guaranteed minimum income for all American households. This is an old idea: back in the nineteen-sixties, it had the support of everybody from John Kenneth Galbraith to Milton Friedman. Raising the minimum wage would go some way towards achieving it, but only some way: many low-wage workers, particularly young ones, come from reasonably well off households. In addition, we could expand the earned-income tax credit, which acts like a negative income tax.
by walsh.benjaminvia Reuters1/29/2014 1:17:14 AM
More excerpts from the post-SOTU Republican address from House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers:
“Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the President’s policies are making people’s lives harder. Republicans have plans to close the gap…Plans that focus on jobs first without more spending, government bailouts, and red tape…Every day, we’re working to expand our economy, one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time. We have plans to improve our education and training systems so you have the choice to determine where your kids go to school…to help you take home more of your paycheck...with lower taxes, cheaper energy costs, and affordable health care.”
“We’ve all talked to too many people who have received cancellation notices they didn’t expect or who can no longer see the doctors they always have. No, we shouldn’t go back to the way things were, but the President’s health care law is not working. Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government’s. And that whether you’re a boy with Down syndrome or a woman with breast cancer, you can find coverage and a doctor who will treat you.”
“As Republicans, we advance these plans every day because we believe in a government that trusts people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for – for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional…Our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one.”
by margaret.chadbournvia Reuters1/29/2014 1:19:01 AM
Reuters' Counterparties blog previewed the various expected economic elements of the speech tonight:
"The most common complaint about the annual State of the Union speech, Jeff Shesol writes, 'is that it is a laundry list, which is an insult to laundry lists.' President Obama will deliver his sixth tonight. Inequality will reportedly be a major portion of the speech.Mark Thoma writes that Obama will talk about 'ladders of opportunity' instead of focusing directly on inequality 'to avoid being accused of waging class warfare.'Jason Linkins points out that Obama has begun focusing on inequality only recently, but that could work to his advantage if he plays it the right way: 'the fact that Obama is a Johnny-come-lately to the topic has an upside — he won’t have to be the one desperately trying to point out the problem."
An interesting historical footnote that we know already: Tonight's "designated survivor" is Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. This is the person the White House designates to not attend the State of the Union in the event of a terrorist attack. The Energy Secretary is normally the 14th in the line of succession to the presidency, so this part of the job does not normally come up much.
by Ryan Teague Beckwithvia Digital First Media1/29/2014 1:31:56 AM
!!Pres better set us on fire tonite. It's freezing here on the fLoor!!
The biggest flaw with Obama’s State of the Union game plan
Obama speaking in 2013
President Obama will hint in his State of the Union tonight that he plans to forsake Congress and craft as many policies as he can by executive action. Digital First Media’s Ryan Teague Beckwith shares why that won’t work.
by Amber Phillipsvia Digital First Media1/29/2014 1:33:04 AM
We also know some of what President Obama will say, thanks to advance excerpts provided by the White House:
But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. 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.”
The shorter version of what the president is saying: If Congress doesn't act, I will, through things like executive orders.