For State of Union, Obama faces GOP Congress for first time

17 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

For State of Union, Obama faces GOP Congress for first time.

WASHINGTON — For the first time in his presidency, Barack Obama will stand before a Republican-led Congress to deliver his State of the Union address and try to convince lawmakers newly empowered to block his agenda that they should instead join with him on education, cyberprotection and national security proposals. With Obama firmly in the legacy-building phase, his address is expected to be as much about selling a story of U.S. economic revival as it is about outlining initiatives.

Obama says Carolyn Reed of Colorado recently expanded her sandwich shop chain thanks to a Small Business Administration loan, and raised wages for her hourly employees. The president is well known for his delivery of lengthy speeches and detailed explanations, and his aides have tried – unsuccessfully – to rein him in at times. The approach reflects the White House’s belief that it has been too cautious in promoting economic gains out of fear of looking tone deaf to the continued struggles of many Americans.

This year’s themes look set to include administration successes on the economy, withdrawing from Afghanistan and the president’s executive actions on immigration reform. “Every day, we get thousands of letters and emails at the White House from Americans across the country, and every night, I read 10 of them,” Obama said, in his weekly address to the nation on Saturday. “They tell me about their hopes and their worries, their hardships and successes. His ability to break down complex social and political issues so his audience of more than 2.5 million subscribers can understand them, has apparently earned him a spot in front of the President. Johnson in 1965 and then assigned a percentage to how many of those ideas were achieved – fully or partially – through legislation in that same year. (Unfortunately, they took a break during George W.

Tuesday is the second-to-last time Obama will take part in the pageantry of the annual presidential address to Congress and a televised audience of millions. Munoz says Dallas resident Ana Zamora was brought to the U.S. illegally as a child, but benefited from Obama’s program to defer deportations for eligible immigrants. Bush’s second term, so they don’t have data from 2005-2008, but they tell us they plan to go back and crunch the numbers this year.) As would be expected, Obama’s policy success rate dropped significantly after the Republicans took over the House in 2011. Among them: making community college free for many students; ensuring paid sick leave for many workers; cutting the cost of mortgage insurance premiums for some home buyers; pressing for cybersecurity legislation in the wake of the hacking on Sony Pictures Entertainment, which the U.S. has blamed on North Korea.

Buoyed by their new majority, Republicans are moving forward on bills to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, change Obama’s health care law and dismantle his executive orders on immigration. But the biggest drop came the next year, after he’d won reelection to a second term and all sides claimed they’d find a way to work together. (House Speaker John Boehner said then, “If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground …”) Of all the things Obama said he wanted in the afterglow of his landslide re-election, he only got 4.9 percent of them – the lowest of any years Hoffman and Howard tracked. Republicans say that’s a sign of a president who didn’t get the message from voters trying to relegate his party to minority status in the November election. New Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the president still has a chance to change his tone. “Tuesday can be a new day,” McConnell said. “This can be the moment the president pivots to a positive posture, this can be a day when he promotes serious realistic reforms that focus on economic growth and don’t just spend more money we don’t have. In 2013, the year Congress did basically nothing Obama wanted, the passage of a Violence Against Women Act expansion was one of the few things he asked for that actually got done. “Without compromise, not much really happens in Washington,” Howard said. “Obama has been a lot more active if you count executive action, but legislation is a more lasting legacy.” But beyond an unwillingness to compromise, the results also have a lot to do with what you ask for and how, Hoffman said.

He is likely to urge lawmakers to stop the pursuit of new penalties against Iran while the U.S. and others are in the midst of nuclear negotiations with Tehran. In a news conference Friday, Obama said legislation threatening additional penalties could upend the delicate diplomacy. “Congress should be aware that if this diplomatic solution fails, then the risks and likelihood that this ends up being at some point a military confrontation is heightened — and Congress will have to own that as well,” he said.

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