Questions and answers about the State of the Union address

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

8 who wrote Obama letters to attend State of Union.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anyone who has closely followed President Barack Obama since 2015 opened might wonder what he has left to say Tuesday night when he delivers the annual State of the Union address. In a bid to generate excitement for the agenda-setting speech, Obama broke with tradition this month and began unveiling proposals from the address before he formally announces them to a joint session of Congress and a nationally televised audience. But now some are questioning whether to use the congressional budget process to derail the 2010 law or save the special step for more traditional purposes like cutting spending or overhauling the tax code. This year he has stronger evidence to produce: 2014 was the best year for job creation since 1999 and unemployment is down to 5.6 per cent from a peak of 10 per cent during his first year in office.

The newly-elected president made his first outing before Congress intent on reassuring a nation wracked by economic crisis but also to harness the optimism that had swept him to the White House. Consumer confidence is at its highest since 2004 according to the University of Michigan survey, with plunging oil prices giving a boost to household budgets. Viewers may already have heard about his proposals to boost homeownership, pay for two years of community college and increase taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The group this year includes Alan Gross, the Maryland man who returned home last month after spending five years imprisoned in Cuba, astronaut Scott Kelly and CVS Health top executive Larry Merlo.

He made no effort to talk down the scale of the challenge – “the impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere,” he warned – but insisted that the US could fight its way back. It’s the only filibuster-proof option available to Republicans, who control the Senate with 54 seats but must still muster 60 votes to pass other legislation.

Thomas Jefferson changed the custom with his first annual message on Dec. 8, 1801, by sending written copies to both houses of Congress to be read by clerks of each chamber. Senate precedents limit the number of reconciliation bills — one for taxes, one for spending and one to raise the government’s borrowing cap — and so a major debate has begun among Republicans over what to put in it. Risks from overseas are administration officials’ number one economic concern, with the deflationary malaise gripping the euro area a central threat.

Jefferson wanted to simplify what he believed to be an aristocratic imitation of the British monarch’s speech from the throne, which he thought was unsuitable to a republic. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Crucially, while households declare themselves more optimistic, wage growth remains paltry, with average hourly earnings up just 1.7 per cent in the year to December. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told a Heritage Foundation gathering of conservatives last week that Republicans should “use every procedural tool available, including reconciliation, to repeal Obamacare with 51 votes in the Senate.” That’s a view shared by conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action, and prominent voices on the right like Erick Erickson, publisher of the Redstate.com conservative blog. “It’s time to stop pussy-footing around with excuses and half-assed attempts at partial repeal, and get serious,” Erickson wrote last week. “Make Obama veto the repeal of his signature legislation.” Pragmatic voices in the GOP, however, say the certainty of an Obama veto effectively means that Republicans would be wasting the opportunity given them under special budget rules that limit debate and can guarantee delivery of legislation to Obama. “I’d like to get tax reform done.

Wilson also is widely credited with transforming the speech from a report on the activities of the executive branch into a blueprint for the president’s legislative program for the coming congressional session and year. From healthcare, to the deficit, to climate change, Mr Obama said “short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity” and that his administration would take the hard choices put off for too long. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Senate Commerce committee. “I mean we’re going to have a lot of Obamacare votes one way or the other.” A reconciliation measure can only advance after the House and Senate have agreed upon a measure called a budget resolution, which sets broad parameters for spending, revenues and curbs to benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. One year into his presidency, Mr Obama returned to Congress with his sky-high approval ratings ground into the dirt and a bitter fight over healthcare on his hands. The president used a press conference with the UK’s prime minister David Cameron last week to give a long defence of his nuclear diplomacy and to warn that new sanctions at this stage would give Iran an excuse to walk away while blaming the US for the failure.

Speaking weeks after his party lost a special senate election in Massachusetts, the President acknowledged that “change has not come fast enough” but touted the effect of his $787 billion stimulus package in slowing the rate of job loss. He will probably highlight the end of combat operations in Afghanistan after 13 years of fighting, a recent climate change deal with China, and US efforts to help contain the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. 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.

In one of the speech’s most intriguing moments he railed against the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which cleared individuals and corporations to donate unlimited amounts of election money through superPACs. With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections. But, especially after the recent attacks in Paris, he will also have to talk about Islamist extremism — a threat Republicans have accused him of downplaying in the past.

The view of some pragmatists is that reconciliation should be used to get a result that might get signed into law or as leverage to make Obama more uncomfortable than he would be in vetoing an Obamacare repeal measure. With US troops having returned to Iraq last year and conducting bombing raids in Syria, Mr Obama will try to convince a wary American public that he has a realistic strategy for taking on Isis.

And some lawmakers think that an upcoming Supreme Court ruling could unravel much of the law, making them wary of wasting reconciliation on the health care law. “It should be things like that that actually improve the long-term fiscal stability of the country and maybe provide us some revenues for things where we can agree, like infrastructure,” said Rep. Geoff Dixon The president will speak as Republicans step up their pressure on him over a decision that is still pending: whether to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. It would steal the show if Mr Obama announced a definitive opinion on the pipeline, a symbol of the rival imperatives of economic growth and climate protection.

In his speech, Mr Obama called for a muscular vision of government that invested in education and infrastructure in an effort to keep America’s economy from slipping behind more agile international competitors. People can also watch an “enhanced” broadcast of the speech on the website, complete with data, graphs and charts explaining the policies Obama will talk about.

He began and ended his speech with references to the death of Osama bin Laden, comparing the Congress’s gridlocked work unfavourably to the professionalism of the Navy SEALS. Despite opposition from many Democrats and powerful labour unions Mr Obama is likely to ask Congress to give him so-called “fast-track” authority to conclude separate trade deals with Japan and 10 other Pacific Rim countries and the European Union.

Under what is formally known as Trade Promotion Authority, Congress instructs US presidents on its trade priorities and delegates its constitutional authority over international commerce for a limited period of time. It also importantly commits to holding simple up-or-down votes on trade agreements within 90 days of them being presented by the president, offering an important assurance to US trading partners that they won’t have to renegotiate deals with Congress all over again. Mr Obama needs TPA as it expired in 2007 and his administration is pushing to close the deal on the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership within months.

The healthy Republican majorities in both the Senate and the House of Representatives mean Mr Obama should have the votes in Congress and people involved in the negotiations say a vote could be held by March. As Eisenhower recovered from a heart attack in 1956, he prepared a seven-minute, filmed summary of the message from his retreat in Key West, Florida, that was broadcast nationwide.

The election year speech had little chance of ever becoming reality and a combative Mr Obama laid out the argument that would eventually become his campaign stump speech: that the American economy was marching back from the brink and an era of war was being successfully brought to a close. Shawn Donnan The crux of the legislation focuses on increasing information sharing between the private sector and the government by encouraging companies to report threats to the Department of Homeland Security, which will then relay the data to other federal agencies.

But that kind of information sharing has sparked outcries over privacy, which Mr Obama tries to address by requiring companies to remove certain personal information and protect data. His proposal also modernises law enforcement authorities by allowing for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, which are programs used to send spam, and criminalising the overseas sale of stolen financial information, such as credit card and bank account numbers. Congress has been grappling with cyber security legislation for several years, but privacy concerns, civil liabilities and other challenges have bogged down the bills. It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love.

After a year marked by legislative gridlock and partisan bickering, an increasingly unpopular Mr Obama abandoned the spirit of bonhomie from his 2013 address and instead emphasised the actions he could take without having to go through Congress. In the week leading up to the address he said he’d be using a “phone and pen” strategy in 2014- the pen for issuing executive actions, and the phone for garnering support for his agenda. Mr Obama’s new-found independent streak was evident in his 2014 address, which his political opponents decried as “arrogant” and even “threatening.” Let’s make this a year of action. A student at Northwood University, Zamora was brought to the United States illegally as a child and has benefited under Obama’s program to defer deportations for eligible immigrants. Zamora wrote Obama about her experience and says her parents will also be eligible for protection under Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration.

While Mr Obama did ultimately act on his own to implement changes to environmental standards and immigration policy, it was not enough to prevent a landslide victory for Republicans in the midterm elections. 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 to families like hers. 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. After prison, Walker 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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