Obama pushes tax plan, wields veto pen in defiant State of the Union address

21 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

8 who wrote Obama letters to attend State of Union.

PRESIDENT Barack Obama will be delivering his 6th state of the union speech tonight. Though the address comes just as many new Republican Senators and Congressman decorate their offices on Capitol Hill, having taken control of the Senate and held on to the House in the recent midterm elections, the president appears reluctant to play the lame duck. Having announced economic initiatives that Republicans have vowed to block, Mr Obama must have been aiming to start the clock on “better” after his own speech. He has used his executive powers to shield millions of migrants from deportation, has started to dismantle the (remarkably ineffective) embargo against Cuba, and has made a deal with China to reduce carbon emissions.

The Pacific deal has been crafted without China, the world’s most powerful exporter which has countered with its own proposal for a common trade region in east and southeast Asia. This was a calculated effort to accentuate the domestic and foreign policy divides between the two parties as Mr Obama steers the Democrats to the left in response to the shellacking the party suffered in November’s midterm elections. “The biggest problem is the president made a speech that made it look like he’s going to run for office again,” said Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. The eight are among 22 people the White House invited to attend the speech, including Alan Gross, the Maryland man recently released from five years of imprisonment in Cuba, astronaut Scott Kelly and CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo. The Atlantic deal is being negotiated with the European Union, and progress has slowed due to resistance on both sides to measures seen as weakening consumer protections and exposing local businesses to too much competition.

Few of the proposals Mr Obama outlined in his speech stand a chance of becoming reality, as appealing as free community college tuition and paid sick leave may sound in the abstract to struggling families. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who won one of last fall’s tossup races, had the unenviable task of formalizing those sentiments in her official GOP response to Obama’s speech. “These days” she said, “many families feel like they’re working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it.” She continued: We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs.

Tonight Mr Obama will sketch out policies he hopes will help define his legacy, such as making college more affordable, and a new tax on the very rich to pay for tax breaks for the middle class. But with one eye on his own liberal legacy and the other on his party’s future, Mr Obama’s effort to galvanise support for a deeply progressive agenda marks a turning point. After his speech, Republican Senator Joni Ernst applauded Obama’s proposal for the trade deals, though without directly endorsing fast-track authority. “Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. The president’s “middle class economics” may not be the most elegant turn of phrase but it captures the central conundrum with which both parties are grappling: how to ensure that more Americans reap the benefits of a resurgent economy.

We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children. [Ernst] Ernst’s gloomy tone was everywhere in the Republican post-game analysis. Among their guests are several Cuban activists, former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who is afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s disease, and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio. Earlier Tuesday a group of Democratic legislators gathered to demonstrate that they would vote against granting the president any special powers to negotiate the treaties. “I will oppose the administration because of the devastating impact that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will have on jobs and wages in this country.

Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in his own response, blaming Obama for America’s income inequality. “While the sluggish recovery has been good for some,” added former Florida Gov. Gross, a former federal subcontractor, was freed from Cuba last month as part of Obama’s historic announcement that the United States would restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Energy executives say that while America’s shale gas boom may be one of the brightest spots in the economy, the fact it has coincided with the Obama presidency appears more fortuitous than anything else. Jeb Bush (R), “far too many people have been left behind.” Obama wants to turn the page, but “there are a lot of Americans who don’t feel like it’s time to turn the page,” GOP pollster Kristen Anderson told NPR News, adding that Obama’s speech was perhaps “too rosy.”* Weirder still is the GOP’s solution for what ails America: The federal government. “The sting of the economy and the frustration with Washington’s dysfunction” have been felt across America over the past six years, Ernst said in her rebuttal, but “the new Republican majority you elected started by reforming Congress to make it function again.” She repeated the phrase “the new Republican Congress you just elected” a few times, as if she was selling something. Citing a litany of unpopular regulations he has either put in place or failed to remove, they say oil and gas output has soared in spite the president and not because of him.

On the other side of the bizarro night in politics, you had Obama cheering cheap gas prices and America’s record oil production — hardly the hallmarks of an environmentalist. Before the address, many expected the president to speak at length on income inequality after he outlined a $320bn plan over the weekend to raise taxes on the wealthy and large financial institutions to fund initiatives such as a tax credit for households where both adults work. Instead, Mr Obama deftly sidestepped accusations of class warfare by glossing over his tax plan and focusing on broader concepts of fairness and helping middle-class workers to gain a leg up. CVS Health pulled cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products from its store shelves last year, a move that was applauded by Obama, a former smoker.

She obtained coverage under the law last year and had surgery to remove a potentially fatal brain tumor that was diagnosed when she had no health insurance. The University of Hartford freshman once had to rise at 4:30 a.m. to get to school after his family was evicted and living in a homeless shelter hours away. Pham is a government computer scientist who works to improve health information technology, expand access to benefits for veterans and improve how government provides services. A husband and father of six, the veteran Los Angeles police officer heads the Community Safety Partnership program in the neighborhood of Watts, once scarred by race riots and subsequent gang violence.

Shetty is the global emergency health coordinator for International Medical Corps, a partner in the U.S.-backed effort to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. After prison, he became a construction engineer and has worked to improve relations among law enforcement, community activists, parents and the children of local housing projects. Woodward started a second job working on Chrysler’s assembly line in 2010 to help support herself and three children, including one with special needs.

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