Mere hours before President Barack Obama addresses Congress and the American public in his fifth State Of The Union address, an excerpt of his planned remarks has been released by the White House. In the address, the President asks for lawmakers' help in finding a solution to income inequality, and highlights executive orders that he can (and very possibly will) issue without the approval of House Republicans.
According to the excerpt, Obama plans to return to some of his key goals set out in the same speech last year — goals that found themselves stalled in 2013. These include: helping the long-term unemployed find work; expanding job-training programs; expanding the minimum wage increase to all workers; passing a sweeping immigration overhaul; and increasing access to childhood education programs.
The passage of many of those goals has been stalled by House Republicans, and to that end, Obama plans to highlight executive orders that he can issue without the approval of the Republican base. He'll also ask lawmakers to work with him to combat the issue of income inequality, which analysts have warned could develop into the defining economic crisis of our time unless the issue is seriously tackled by the federal government.
According to the excerpts, Obama plans to say: "Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.”
Meanwhile, according to an excerpt pre-released from Rand Paul's response, Paul will criticize the president's job record and call for lower taxes. Paul's speech will be one of several offered by the splintered (albeit denying that at all costs) Republican Party.
Watch the State of the Union address live below:
Here's the full excerpt from the President's address.
In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.
Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.
Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.
Our job is to reverse these tides. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything. 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.”
Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.