Best moments from Obama’s State of the Union addresses

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Obama to Stake Out Ambitious Plan to Help Poor and Middle Class.

OBAMA TO PROPOSE TAX INCREASES ON INVESTMENTS: President Barack Obama will call on the new Republican-led Congress to raise taxes on investments and inherited property and to create or expand a range of tax breaks for middle-income families, laying out an opening position in a debate over taxation that both parties see as a potential area of compromise. Congressional Republicans on Sunday pummeled President Obama’s plan to increase taxes on America’s highest wage earners, dismissing the proposal as not serious and a “non-starter.” The plan was released late Saturday by the White House and attempts to increase taxes on the top earners and others to pay for cuts for the middle class. “The notion … that in order for some people to do better, someone has to do worse is just not true,” Florida GOP Sen.Day after day from morning to night, a small cadre of wordsmiths searches for the right message, tone and cadence for the US president to speak to the American people.President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday enjoying rising approval ratings that have been strengthened by rapidly improving perceptions of the economy and increased optimism about the overall direction of the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Others are people the president met over the past few weeks as he has traveled the country, playing spoiler to his speech, announcing initiatives such as a free community college plan, faster Internet service and paid sick leave. Marco Rubio told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “Raising taxes on people that are successful is not going to make people that are struggling more successful. … It would also be counter-productive.” Among the other Obama proposals are increasing the investment tax rate, eliminating a tax break on inheritances, giving a tax credit to working families and expanding the child care tax credit — in total roughly $320 billion in tax hikes over the next 10 years. Obama will propose using revenue generated from the tax increases—which would fall mainly on high-income households—to pay for a raft of new breaks aimed at boosting stagnant incomes for low- and middle-income households.

Presidential aides “should be possessed of high competence, great physical vigor, and a passion for anonymity,” according to the 1937 Bronlow Committee report that recommended sweeping changes to the executive branch when president Franklin Roosevelt was in power. Along party lines, the public is sharply at odds about whether the country should go in the direction Obama wants to lead or where Republicans prefer to go. However, the centerpiece of the proposal is to increase to 28 percent the capital gains and dividends rate on couples making more than $500,000 a year. Despite the partisan divisions on most issues, a substantial majority of Americans continue to see political dysfunction in Washington as a big problem.

The top capital gains rate has already been raised from 15 percent to 23.8 percent during Obama’s presidency. “I’m all for reforming our higher education system,” said Rubio, a potential 2016 presidential candidate. “In the 21st century, to have the skills you need for a middle-class job, you need higher education of some form or fashion. He is very involved in the writing process from the very beginning.” “You get a paper assignment, you might pull an all-nighter or come in really early to finish, and you hand it in and then you get his marks back and find out whether he likes it or not,” said Keenan, 33. “The good thing is he’ll make detailed edits when he gets the speech, and he’s generous with his time — he’ll walk us through the edits and explain why he made them,” he added in an interview with Harvard University’s John F. The difference, Shesol noted, “is that you just don’t get a grade and move on to the next assignment, you are going to rewrite this one again and again.” In their small and exclusive world, some figures stand out, including Ted Sorensen, one of the few writers who got to pen words for president John F. His standing is nine points higher than in December and seven points higher than in October, just before Republicans captured control of the Senate, increased their House majority to its highest level in eight decades and recorded advances in the states. Pfeiffer: do you in any way shape or form believe that a new Republican Congress is going to do what a Congress that had Democrats and Republicans in control would not do?

Ryan said last week that he was focused on broader tax code reform and that his committee would not pass a tax increase to fund transportation infrastructure projects, amid talk Congress will pursue such an increase. “It’s not surprising to see the president call for tax hikes, but now he’s asking Congress to reverse bipartisan tax relief that he signed into law,” a top staffer for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The Hill newspaper. But most have shown improvement since the November elections as the president has moved aggressively and unilaterally on issues such as immigration and climate change. A Washington Post analysis estimates that those plummeting prices put an extra $7.50 into the wallets of average Americans during the first week of this year, compared with the same week last year. The safety net stabilized income in the 2007-2009 recession and its aftermath, said Richard Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Paradoxically, these moments of supposed great policy import where the country’s president unveils priorities for the coming year have rarely yielded historic discourse. Obama invited a few of those people, including Rebekah Erler of Minneapolis, an accountant and mother of two young children who wrote to the president after her husband’s construction business failed.

Transfer payments don’t have the same quality-of-life value as earning money from work, said Mark Calabria, director of financial-regulation studies at the Cato Institute in Washington and a former Republican Senate aide. Bush during which he branded Iraq, Iran and North Korea as members of an “axis of evil.” The phrase would become emblematic of his polarizing presidency. Amid low wage growth, he said, “the bottom fifth has not done well.” “Our job now is to make sure that every American feels that they’re a part of our country’s comeback,” he said in his Jan. 17 weekly radio address. Income inequality has assumed a central place in the evolving 2016 presidential campaign, with would-be candidates of both parties tripping over themselves to champion the interests of a struggling middle class–the rich be damned. For more on why and how the prospective candidates are addressing the concentration of wealth in the U.S., read Peter Nicholas’s full post in Washington Wire.

Greater optimism also is reflected in Obama’s economic approval ratings, which now stand even, with 48 percent approving and 48 percent disapproving. This administration isn’t new to ambitious plans to benefit the poor: The president’s health law is intended to offer low-income Americans stability through insurance. Top lawmakers on congressional intelligence committees say the U.S. and other nations must intensify their focus on potential “sleeper” terrorist cells in Western countries following the recent attacks in Paris and the arrest of terror suspects across Europe. Obamacare was projected to increase incomes for the bottom fifth of earners by almost 6 percent in 2016, using the most generous estimates, based on a Brookings Institution study from last January. Congressional Republicans favor legislation that would change the new health-care law to say that companies with 50 or more employees must provide health insurance to anyone who works 40 hours or more, rather than the 30-hour threshold that currently exists.

Plus: Belgian authorities are seeking the extradition of one of four people detained in Athens in connection with a foiled plot to attack police in Belgium, as officials across Europe sought to tighten security … Clashes erupted across the capital of Yemen, a cornerstone of the U.S. counterterrorism program in the region, as Houthi militants demanded a greater say in the crafting of the country’s constitution … Protests in Niger left 10 people dead as rioters torched churches, wrecked bars and blocked major roads during two days of demonstrations against the cover of French magazine Charlie Hebdo depicting the Prophet Muhammad … The European Union will challenge a ruling by the bloc’s second highest court striking Hamas off the region’s terror list … Seven Israeli Arabs were indicted in an Israeli court for establishing a local cell of the Islamic State militant group. That would fund a $500 tax credit for married couples when both spouses work, and triple the maximum tax credit for child care to up to $3,000 for children under 5. Obama would also consolidate several education tax breaks into a single tax credit worth up to $2,500, and is proposing to end taxation of some student loan debt forgiven under income-based repayment plans. Earlier this month, he announced that the Federal Housing Administration would cut its mortgage-insurance premiums by about 37 percent, enough to save most borrowers $900 a year on their loan payments. Americans are almost evenly divided over who is taking a stronger leadership role in Washington, with 42 percent saying Obama and 40 percent citing congressional Republicans.

Those closely divided results, however, are starkly different from those recorded eight years ago after Democrats took full control of Congress heading into the final two years of President George W. But if the president takes some confidence from that, another set of findings signal the depth of the divisions that have led to gridlock in recent years. She has gotten both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree since being laid off from her full-time position in 2009 yet only landed a part-time, $20,000 job as a community organizer in Charlotte, North Carolina. By narrow margins, Americans say both that the president is justified in taking executive action to achieve his goals if Congress doesn’t act and that congressional Republicans are justified in trying to block those actions in court or through legislation. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) said their bill would impose the sanctions only if Iran and U.S. diplomats miss a July deadline for a deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Under the plan, about 7.7 million workers would qualify for a larger credit and 5.8 million more would become newly eligible, according to an administration analysis. ALSO IN THE NEWS: BP PLC’s lawyers plan to argue that the drop in oil prices should weigh into the U.S. fines it faces from the 2010 Gulf oil spill … New York Gov. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hasn’t formally declared a run for presidency, although several pieces of a future campaign are coming together. Almost half say things will stay about the same in the next year, with about 3 in 10 saying things will get worse and 1 in 4 saying they will get better.

At 8 a.m., Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson delivers remarks and participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall. Since December, his numbers have increased by 10 points among Democrats and moderates, by 22 points among Hispanics and by 19 points among those ages 18 to 29.

Condon Jr. for National Journal. “That is a theme oft-repeated by presidents who have lost their way in Congress.” In a sign of the times, for the first time in five years as many Americans say defending the U.S. against terrorism (76%) should be a top policy priority as cite the need to strengthen the economy (75%), the Pew Research Center reports. Tobin for Commentary. “While they cannot fight every battle to the last ditch with Obama, this is one on which they can count on significant Democratic support.” Rep. The Post-ABC poll was conducted Jan. 12 to 15 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults interviewed by telephone, including 311 cellphone-only respondents.

Tune in Tuesday at 9pm ET → #SOTU FEEDBACK: Welcome to the Capital Journal Daybreak newsletter, the Journal’s morning rundown of the biggest news stories and exclusive features from Washington on politics, policy, financial regulation, defense and more.

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